Passion for BC Games

Passion for BC Games

Author: BC Games Society/Wednesday, July 28, 2021/Categories: Front Page, 2021 News

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You would be hard pressed to find anyone as connected or as passionate for the BC Games than former Nanaimo Mayor and transportation sector professional, Graeme Roberts.
Roberts first came into our BC Games extended family when the city of Nanaimo hosted the 1985 BC Summer Games, during his tenure as Mayor. In a period of major development, Roberts was influential in the city adopting the slogan “Harbour City”, as dubbed by the Prince and Princess of Wales during Expo ’86. 

This experience ignited a passion that saw Roberts continually tied to the Games for more than 35 years. Interested in seeing the community impact and excitement among British Columbians created by the Games, Roberts’s slight obsession led to him becoming a fixture at the BC Games, attending over 100 BC Games and related events (BC Winter and BC Summer Games, Northern BC Winter Games, BC Disability Games, and 55+ BC Games (formerly BC Seniors Games)) in more than 40 communities.

His involvement truly helped develop the Society. In 1988, as a member on the Air BC Board of Directors, Roberts was instrumental in bringing the airline on as a Partner – helping transport athletes to and from the Games for the many years that would follow.

Since, Roberts represented the airline as the Community Ambassador to the BC Games, including through transitions to Air Canada and Jazz Aviation. 

“Graeme had a wonderful and infections spirit that still echoes today within Jazz Aviation (formally Air BC),” said Reuben Anderson, Manager, National Charter Sales & Programs, Jazz Aviation LP, who has also attended many BC Games. “It was an honour and a privilege to have Graeme represent our airlines at the BC Games for so many years, we couldn’t have asked for anyone more perfect than Graeme.”

Of this role, Roberts said “I cannot think of having been given a more enviable opportunity to represent a corporate partner in such rewarding and heartwarming circumstances. The generous and highly visible contribution to communities and the support for amateur sport is like the traditional ‘motherhood and apple pie’, recognized, loved, and appreciated by one and all.”

It is with great sadness that we acknowlegde Robert's passing on June 12, 2021.

“He was more than a representative of a Games corporate partner. Graeme could relate to people in a way that made them feel connected to him,” said Alison Noble, BC Games Society President and CEO, “His humour and genuine interest in people and communities always came through. He cared and he believed in the impact that individuals had on the Games and their community.” 

Despite primarily residing in Brentwood Bay, Roberts’s presence was felt strongly throughout the Island and beyond. A testament to his influence, he was named the official Ambassador for the Games by the Nanaimo 2014 BC Summer Games Board of Directors. He received the lifetime achievement award from the New Car Dealers Association of BC for his contribution to the automotive industry as a car dealer for nearly two decades and for his time as chairman of the board of directors of the Motor Vehicle Sales Authority of British Columbia. He was also chairman of the British Columbia Public Service Commission and served on the Boards of Air Canada Jazz and its predecessors, the BC Ferry Corporation, and the Victoria Airport Authority.

In 2011, Roberts was named an Honourary Board Member by the BC Games Society for his more than 20 years of volunteer work in amateur sport for youth, seniors, and people with disabilities.

Roberts is survived by his two daughters, Pam Roberts and Wendy Bouma, four grandchildren and his wife, Kathryn Amisson.

Of her husband, Amisson is quoted as saying (in Times Colonists story by Roxanne Egan-Elliott, June 14, 2021) “The society and all the people he’s touched over the years will miss him greatly. He was just a fabulous man.” From our perspective, a statement that could not hold more truth.

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