A well-known, well-respected and well-loved Comox Valley community member passed away last weekend.
Joseph Sylvio (Skip) Blain lost his short battle with cancer at the age of 89 on Saturday.
Mass of Christian Burial will happen today (Friday, Nov. 16) at 11 a.m. from the Christ The King Roman Catholic Church and a celebration of life will happen at 1 p.m. at the Florence Filberg Centre.
Blain contributed to numerous community initiatives during his time in the Valley. He served on Courtenay council for 16 years, volunteered with various community groups and helped better the Comox Valley in whatever way he could — besides working a full-time job and raising a family.
“We talked in the last week we were together,” recalled daughter Karla Blain, “and he said, ‘I had a very good life. I did everything I wanted to do and I’ve accomplished everything that I wanted to do,’ he says, you know, ‘I can leave now.’
“He was just always there for us. He was there for everybody.”
Skip was born in Prud’homme, Sask., in 1923. He worked at CP Rail until he met his wife Hermie, who he was married to for 62 years. After he married, he worked as a life insurance salesman, and they had four kids in Saskatchewan before moving the family out to the Comox Valley in 1970.
Karla noted he didn’t like to “stand idle,” and as soon as he came to the Valley he became a big a part of the community.
A few of the ways he contributed to the Comox Valley include:
• Fundraised for the Comox Valley Child Development Association’s Children’s Telethon;
• Served on the RCMP committee and helped found Comox Valley Citizens On Patrol Society;
• Chair on Courtenay’s Board of Variance;
• Parade marshal for the Courtenay Canada Day parade, helped with Comox Nautical Days parade and co-ordinated Snow to Surf parade;
• St. Joseph’s Hospital board;
• Director for Summer and Senior BC Games and security for Winter Games;
• Elks Lodge and Kinsmen K-40 Club;
• Many community initiatives, like the creation of Tunner Park, as a Fourth-Degree Knight with the Knights of Columbus.
At Tuesday’s Courtenay council meeting, Mayor Larry Jangula said he’s never known another person who has done as much for his community, and council had a moment of silence for Skip.
Coun. Starr Winchester’s father Bill Moore was close friends with Skip and she will speak at the celebration of his life.
“He’ll always hold a special place in my heart,” said Winchester. “Skip Blain worked tirelessly to make our community the best it could be. He always said to me, ‘You get out of life what you put into it’ and he always demonstrated absolute integrity and earned the respect of all who knew him.”
Winchester and Karla both described Skip as a caring man, noting when he saw a need for something he would make sure it was done; when he had heart trouble years ago he saw a need for a pickup service for heart patients in Victoria so he got one going.
Once Karla grew up, she was blown away by how Skip could have fit everything in while working and ensuring he was there for his family.
“We just never thought anything of it because he was always there at home at meal times and he was always there at night, and he was always there in the morning, you know, typical parent thing right, and he just fit everything in,” she said.
“It is kind of mind-boggling when you think of everything he did, and he was — he was everywhere, absolutely everywhere.”
Donations can be made in Skip’s name to a charity of your choice.