Colourful former Cumberland mayor rehabbing in Nanaimo

Bronco Moncrief, a former mayor of Cumberland who suffered a stroke earlier in the year, is recovering at a rehab centre in Nanaimo.

Bronco Moncrief, a longtime former mayor and councillor of Cumberland who suffered a stroke earlier in the year, is recovering at a rehabilitation centre in Nanaimo.

The 85-year-old hopes to return home before May, in time for the annual Empire Days celebrations.

“He’s pretty focused, he’s determined he’s getting home,” his daughter Julie Smith said.

Moncrief had suffered paralysis down his right side, but has been regaining strength with time and physiotherapy. His family is now getting the home prepared.

“He’s still having a bit of trouble with his speech,” said Smith, noting her father is still at a high risk for another stroke.

“He’s amazing; he’s doing so great. He really appreciates all the visitors he gets.

“We’re learning how to do as much as we can for him,” Smith added. “He’s pretty independent, though.”

The Japanese government recognized Moncrief in 2011 for helping to elevate the status of Japanese Canadians and for promoting friendly relations between Japan and Canada.

Moncrief was awarded Japan’s second-highest honour, the Order of the Rising Sun, gold and silver rays, at a conferment ceremony July 23 that year at the Cumberland Cultural Centre.

Known as colourful and outspoken, he was born William Moncrief, but is known far and wide as Bronco.

A popular bike trail running alongside Perseverance Creek in Cumberland was named for him.

Besides many years as an alderman and councillor, he served as mayor from 1969 to 1993 and from 1997 to 2002.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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