More than a hundred people from Vancouver Island and beyond poured into the Tsowtunlelum gym for the funeral of David Bob, former chief of Snaw-Naw-As.
Bob died suddenly on Jan. 21 at the age of 62. He had been the chief of the Snaw-Naw-As from 2006-16.
During the funeral, Gord Edwards, Bob’s cousin, recalled early childhood memories of the two playing on the beach and climbing trees.
“I think that bonding prepared us as cousins … to work together as we got older,” he said.
He described Bob as a hard working, passionate, dependable leader.
“He wanted to see things happen for the young people,” he said. “I think the one of the things he enjoyed the most was getting together with the elders.”
Speaking to the News Bulletin afterwards, Brent Edwards, current Snaw-Naw-As chief, said the community lost a great leader who stood up for his beliefs and took care of his people.
“He didn’t like to talk too much, but I think he was pretty good at getting his point across when it came to advocating for Snaw-Naw-As,” he said. “He tried to provide solutions instead of problems.”
During his time as chief, Bob oversaw the construction of a $1.9-million health care facility, the installation of a sewer and water systems and was involved in the B.C. Treaty negotiation process.
Edwards said he distinctly remembers when Bob brought him along to a Regional District of Nanaimo meeting to discuss a potential housing development near Notch Hill in Nanoose Bay.
“One of the reasons why we don’t have development on the notch right now is … because of him,” he said. “He had his impact on a lot of different things.”
Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said Bob’s strong stance on certain issues were a reflection of his passion and commitment to the Snaw-Naw-As.
“When he spoke you paid attention,” he said. “He had an undying passion for his people. That’s what great leaders are all about.”
Bob is survived by his wife, four children and his father.