Hodge: Our community has lost a loyal, long-time friend

Long-time Kelowna residents will remember Larry Chalmers as a sound family and community minded man.

Kelowna, and the province of British Columbia, lost a loyal friend and fine fellow earlier this month with the death of Larry Chalmers.

Few people have given so much for their community and did so in a humble and focused manner.

Long-time Kelowna residents will remember Chalmers as a sound family and community minded man who chased visions, listened well to others, and worked hard and passionately for causes he supported.

He was a huge supporter of the downtown core and actively involved in various community and business events over the years.

I am not sure how I missed the news that  Chalmers had passed away on May 2, at the age of 68. Thankfully his long-time associate and buddy Vern Boehlke informed me about it last week.

To suggest Chalmers will be dearly missed by his family and the community of friends that surrounded him seems trivial, however it is very true.

Chalmers truly was a ‘warm and generous man’ with a very quick wit and an infectious sense of humour.

He never really stopped working to make the Okanagan a better place to live.

Among his many years of community service, Chalmers was an Okanagan MLA (named minister of agriculture, fisheries and food), served as president of the Okanagan Mainland Real Estate Board, president of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, and chair of the Economic Development Commission.

He was a well known and respected real estate agent for almost 50 years specializing in commercial real estate and land.

However, despite his love for work and community, there was no question that his first and greatest passion was family—holding a deep love for his daughters Jennifer and Nicole whom he bragged to everyone were the most treasured part of his life.

Despite his dedication to family and work, Chalmers was also free spirit in many ways and loved to travel the country on his motorcycles.

In later years, he practically lived on his Gold Wing, and served as chapter director of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association.

Chalmers is survived by his loving daughters Jennifer (Tim) and Nicole.

A celebration of his life is set for the Laurel Packing House on Saturday, June 8, 2 p.m.

Friends are encouraged to send their thoughts and stories about Larry to larrychalmersmemories@gmail.com.

•••

Looking for something enjoyable to do this weekend?

I highly recommend taking in the annual Angel Awards to be held Sunday, June 2, in the Mary Irwin Theatre at the Rotary Centre for the Arts.

The Angel Awards will see 10 talented solo or group entertainers compete for the top prize in the afternoon event.

Proceeds from the excellent event will be donated to the Walk to Fight Arthritis particularly Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Judges chose the top finalists in various categories from online submissions.

The various talented finalists will be accompanied Sunday in their performances by a variety of local professional musicians.

The eventual winner will receive the Angel Award as well as a $2,500 prize.

Candidates on stage will include vocalists, pianists, tap dancers,

For more information go to www.angelaward.ca

•••

A tip of the hat to long-time friend Michael Haines, who has once again refused to allow his life challenges to slow him down.

Mike has decided to start sharing his life story with anyone who will take the time to listen to him.

He has lived with the not so nice challenges of cerebral palsy for decades and is no stranger to most Kelowna residents.

Recently, however, Mike has taken up public speaking for an income, telling his stories to groups and organizations as a lunchtime speaker or talking to business and corporations.

“During our initial meeting you will be uncomfortable with my challenge. I will arrive in my electric wheelchair, and my speech is slurred. I want you to be prepared.

“I will do my part in making you comfortable. Within 10 minutes I will have you laughing at yourself,” Mike tells people in his recent information brochure.

I recommend you call him up and see what he is willing to offer your group or company in the way of motivation and insight.

You can reach mike at 250-861-5169 or by email at michaeldhaines1@michaeldhaines.com.

•••

Hockey widows can begin to count down the days to the end of the NHL playoffs as the semi-finals begin this weekend.

As predicted by many the final two matchups include L.A. versus Chicago while Pittsburgh takes on the Boston Bruins.

I am predicting a Chicago-Pittsburgh final, a prediction shared by most hockey fans.

Chicago will take out L.A. in six games while Boston will force Pittsburgh to game seven with Sid the Kid scoring the winner in overtime.