Universally remembered as a strong community leader with a big heart, former Comox mayor Jim Brass was honourred Saturday by friends, family and community members.
Brass, 64, who passed away last week, served as mayor for the Town from 2002 to 2008. He also practiced dentistry, was the president of Comox Valley Marine Search and Rescue and was involved with the College of Dental Surgeons.
“His style of being a people person … was what really served him well in his political career,” said Mayor Paul Ives to the more than 350 people in attendance Saturday at the Comox Recreation Centre gym.
He recalled Brass’ accomplishments as mayor, his sense of humour, guidance and direction.
Orthodontist and work colleague Paul Helpard said he will most remember his friend by his big voice, his big hands and his big heart.
“He had the voice of a great leader. Whenever he joined an organization, he inevitably became the president,” he explained. “He put his heart into everything that he did; he put his heart on his sleeve.”
Helpard joked Brass contributed significantly to dental research, and was particularly interested in how Coca-Cola contributed to tooth decay.
The third-generation dentist, Freemason and Rotarian, Brass was remembered by those in the community including former Courtenay mayor Starr Winchester and current 19 Wing commander Col. Jim Benninger, who credited his ability to “be a great neighbour.”
Winchester recalled how Brass played a role in mending fences between the various municipalities.
“He loved the town of Comox. He always said Comox is a great place to live and it’s worth working for.”
Comox Valley MP John Duncan echoed Winchester’s statements, and recognized his leadership and his big heart.
Former 19 Wing Comox wing commander and current Courtenay councillor Jon Ambler said Brass and his family were the first people who made his family feel at home in the Comox Valley when he first moved to the area.
“He invited me out on his boat, and as an aviator, I didn’t know that much about boats. He gave me some great marine advice — watch out for the otter (excrement); it’s really slippery.”
Reflecting on his many accomplishments, Comox Valley MLA Don McRae explained Brass “made the Comox Valley a far better place.”