When I asked Graeme if he was going to run for council when we became a municipality, he said, "if you're going to pay me a quarter of a million dollars." When he was chair of the Islands Trust, he was criticized for having the CAO sit beside him - he was always asking the CAO questions quietly. [Others felt] that staff should sit on one side and if there was a question, it should be addressed for everyone to hear. Now, we've have done the same thing in council meetings. The mayor often sits beside the CAO. It seems that this hasn't compromised the democracy. Another thing that I remember was that when he deliberated, his logic always was a bit obscure. And I learned to be inscrutable like him.
Graeme is one of those people who has always given back to the community on so many levels. His involvement in the heritage of Bowen has been very beneficial. It's people like him who are the treasures, keeping alive the history of the island. We need to remember where we've been as a community so that we can make good decisions about where we want to go.
I met Graeme in 1971 when we were both teachers in Toronto. By January or February of that year, I got invited to his cottage for the weekend. I didn't know Graeme very well at that time. On Saturday morning, this guy says, "Let's go for a walk." We start off for the walk and crash through thigh-deep snow. And this guy is five steps ahead of me and never stops. And I think, "Who is this jerk?" I'm relatively competitive and I hated having him in front and not being able to catch up. I've known him for all those years, and if I let him, he is still five steps ahead of me. We've been through marriages, deaths, weddings (he was my best man) and births. His nickname is Trevor and I named my son Trevor. There was this comedian from down under, Fred Dagg, and Graeme had this recording of a hilarious bit of repartee around a guy called Trev. And we started calling one another Trev. I've been close enough to him to know that he has put thousands and thousands of hours into this community. I stayed with him when he was chair of the Islands Trust. He would be in Victoria all week and come back on Saturday absolutely exhausted. Not everybody agreed with his opinions and his decisions. But he is a decision-maker which is what our local politicians are elected for, to listen and to make decisions. When Graeme came out west, I followed. And when he moved to Bowen Island, I moved here too. Five steps behind.
Graeme was very involved in the heritage preservation group. He was instrumental in restoring the orchard cottages. He also had a career as a carpenter. A lot of my bookshelves were built by Graeme, in fact, my best book shelves were built by him. He is a very talented, gregarious man. I also know him as a tenant of one of the People, Plants and Places tour's houses and he had a key part in greeting visitors. Graeme and Bill have been a team and have always helped with the Friends of the Library book sales. They've set up the big yellow tents and taken them down. They moved the boxes in and took the old boxes away. I always knew that we could rely on those two. This coming weekend will be my last time working with Graeme.