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  • Jun 21, 2016

    Richard McMorran Obituary

    Cordova Bay loses a great Champion in the passing of Richard McMorran

    Jun 21, 2016
    by Roger Stonebanks, citizen journalist, and friend.  Courtesy of Saanich Voice Online
    Photo courtesy Dan Ebenal – Saanich News

    Outstanding Cordova Bay community activist, Richard McMorran, died on June 18 in Royal Jubilee Hospital after a brief illness. He was 85. He had received an award for his community service less than two weeks previously.

    McMorran, a member of the pioneering McMorran family in Cordova Bay, was a civil engineer in his working life and then spent his retirement volunteering for others. He was one of the “Fab Five” who were the principal organizers of the Cordova Bay 55+ Association which operates from Cordova Bay Community Place at the south side of Cordova Bay Elementary School. The other “Fab Five” activists were Gwen MacPherson and Jack Willoughby and the late Inez Cole and Daphne Chazottes.

    Rich, as everyone knew him, said he was just one of the people who got 55+ started and continued. He stressed that he accepted his community award only on the understanding that it was really on behalf of the volunteers, past and present. He was president of 55+ and was immediate past president when he died. He headed a major fundraising effort that raised $175,000 as its contribution towards the $1.2 million renovation that added the now community centre onto Cordova Bay Elementary School. Earlier he served for two years as second vice-president of the Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs (CBA).

    He was always willing to help in any way he could, cared deeply about our community, and was a joy to be around. He will be dearly missed.

    At a ceremony on June 7, at the Beach House Restaurant – where the former McMorran’s Beach House had stood  –Rich received his award as Volunteer of the Year, a well-attended event organized by the Saanich News and supported by community groups and businesses. The always self-effacing Rich said: “It’s recognition I’m not sure I deserve. I feel that I’ve been awarded that recognition on behalf of all the volunteers at Cordova Bay 55+ Association but especially the five founding members.” And in that spirit, he accepted the award.

    Larry Gontovnick, current president of the CBA, paid tribute to Rich: “The Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs is saddened by the passing of Rich McMorran, a tremendous leader and contributor in the Cordova Bay community over many years. Rich was a member of the CBA executive from 2003 to 2005 and was instrumental in the creation of the Cordova Bay 55+ Association in 2005. He was always willing to help in any way he could, cared deeply about our community, and was a joy to be around. He will be dearly missed.”

    Rich was born and raised in Cordova Bay. He is survived by his wife, Beverly, sons Scott (Linda) and Michael (Evie), brothers Bruce and David, and grandchildren Chelsea, Brayden and Andrew. A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Monday June 27 at the Beach House in Cordova Bay.

    by David Docherty, president Cordova Bay 55+ Association

    L to R – Richard McMorran, Gwen MacPherson, Daphne Chazottes, Jack Willoughby. photo by: Diane Cowden, member of the 55+ Assoc.
    L to R – Richard McMorran, Gwen MacPherson, Daphne Chazottes, Jack Willoughby.
    photo by: Diane Cowden, member of the 55+ Assoc.

    Rich McMorran was one of the founding members of the Cordova Bay 55+ Association, now a thriving seniors group. He was mainly responsible for raising the money needed for the extension onto the rooms of Cordova Bay Elementary School that initially accommodated CB 55+. He continued to remain an active member of the Association having served on the Board for many years including two years as President. He continued on as the Past President offering his wise counsel to the Board and ensuring the initial values of the Association were not lost. His perspective and input was always well-considered and offered great insight.

    In the words of his wife, Bev, “he was wonderful man”. Amen to that and RIP, Rich.

    Rich has been a great supporter of many parts of the programs that are offered and, in particular, the On-the-Go-Again (OTGA) group that meets every Friday afternoon and provides programs and outings for the more elderly members of the Association. He also enjoyed having tea on Wednesday afternoons with the Studio group who appreciated his caring and interest in them and what they were doing. He wanted CB 55+ to be warm and welcoming place and this was reflected in everything he did and said.

    Over the years Rich could be seen doing many things at the Centre from sweeping floors and gardening, to carting tables and chairs back and forth for various off-site functions. If anything needed to be done Rich was always stepping up to help. He was the consummate member from taking on leadership roles to doing the most menial of tasks.

    Rich will also be remembered for his sense of humor, either in sketches he did with his partner in crime, Barb Waldner, or dressing up in grass skirts or wearing crazy hats. He brought much laughter and warmth to CB55+. Of course Rich could be counted to act as Santa, with his mischievous Elf, at every Christmas luncheon, a role he relished so much.

    It is hard to think of CB 55+ without associating it with Rich McMorran. Things will not be the same without his presence but the legacy of Rich McMorran will live on in the Association he helped create and build. He was a very special person and loved by all who knew him and will be missed so much by so many.

    In the words of his wife, Bev, “he was wonderful man”. Amen to that and RIP, Rich.

    McCall’s Funeral Home obituary.