Remembering Alec Bunbury

I recently attended the memorial for Alec Bunbury at the Whistler Fire Hall.

Alec was clearly a well-respected man in our community as the place was absolutely crammed to the rafters with people coming to raise a glass to his name.

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I never had the pleasure of meeting Alec, but he served on the museum's board of directors for 10 years from 1995 - 2005 and I, therefore, felt it appropriate that I should pay my respects.

I learned about a man with a tremendous work ethic and huge appetite for helping others. A surveyor by trade, Alec and his son Paul were the founders of Bunbury Associates. Through his long career he undertook many large projects including the layout of Whistler Village, Blacktusk Village and new lift lines and runs on both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.

By his son Ian's account, he was a formidable boss who expected his employees to share his hardworking nature and sported a loud, "bellowing" voice for a man of relatively small stature. Ian joked that he had many friends who were still emotionally scarred after working under his father!

It was his volunteer work, however, that was mentioned again and again. He was a very committed ski patroller and life-member of Whistler Mountain Volunteer Ski Patrol. He was also one of the early members of the North Shore Rescue team, serving for 15 years from 1965 - 1980 where he specialized in tracking and avalanche dogs.

Ian had fond memories of joining his father to search for lost souls on bitterly cold nights. Later, from 1980 - 1998, he served on the Resort Municipality of Whistler's volunteer fire department. It's clear that when you were in trouble, Alec was the man that you would hope to have by your side.

Between business and volunteer work, it seems unlikely that Alec would have much time for leisurely activities, however he found time, enjoying an abundance of outdoor recreation. Alec took part in everything from sailing to tennis, from golf to canoeing, from climbing to skiing. He was an especially proficient skier and a natural adventurer. He would ski anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes he would ski locations for the sole reason that nobody had done it before. In fact, he pioneered the run on Blackcomb Mountain called the Couloir, originally known as the Bunbury Chute.

Alec passed away in October 2013 at the age of 80. The turn out at the fire hall was testimony to the fact that his impact on this community was a powerful one. He will be highly respected and forever missed by his family, friends and our community, which he so deeply influenced.

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