Crash claims Penticton veterinarian’s life

This is the second fatal mountain biking crash on Naramata trail in the past two months

Dog handler Steve Ritchey (right) and Charlie wait with other members of Penticton Search and Rescue near the scene of a mountain biking accident Sunday which claimed the life of a Penticton veterinarian.

Dog handler Steve Ritchey (right) and Charlie wait with other members of Penticton Search and Rescue near the scene of a mountain biking accident Sunday which claimed the life of a Penticton veterinarian.

A lover of life, Dr. Robert Allan Mason was remembered this week as a gentle, caring man whose compassion touched all who knew him.

Tragically, Sunday morning the 53-year-old veterinary specialist died as a result of injuries suffered in a mountain-biking accident in the spider-web maze of trails called The Three Blind Mice on the hillsides above Naramata Bench.

“He was just somebody who was always thinking about other people first,” said Dr. Grant Nixon, a friend and colleague of 16 years. “He really had an attitude of gratitude in his life and was never in a bad mood.

“A good example is when you called his phone and got his answering machine, at the end of it he said, ‘I hope you have an awesome day and make someone else’s day awesome too.’”

The pair often worked together at the Lindsey Veterinary Hospital where Mason based himself after moving to the city a number of years ago, simply because he loved the Okanagan lifestyle so much.

According to Nixon, another example of his friend’s caring nature was his commitment to participating each year in the annual Ride2Survive event.

Raising money for cancer research, in a single day cyclists pedal the 400-kilometre, 12,000-foot climb between Kelowna and Delta.

“That really was what Rob was all about,” said Nixon.

Along with his work in Penticton, the internationally recognized internal medicine specialist also spent several days a month at a Victoria clinic and another in Winfield.

Previously he had worked at practices in Seattle, Wash. and Vancouver.

This week Mason’s family released a brief statement about the accident:

“On Sunday, Oct. 21, Rob Mason set out on a mountain bike ride with four of his close friends and training partners.

“It was a prime day for a mountain bike ride on Three Blind Mice with perfect biking conditions.

“During the ride, Rob, an avid triathlete, and his friends set out on the trail they had ridden many times before. During the ride, the group stopped a few times for nutrition and water breaks and shared stories and laughs as they always did. Rob was his normal humorous self, telling stories like no one else could. Shortly after the last stop, an accident occurred on his bike.

“Emergency crews and his wife Mary-Ellen were notified and Rob’s close friends stayed by his side. Mary-Ellen was by Rob’s side until paramedics arrived. Shortly after paramedics arrived, they pronounced Rob had succumbed to his injuries and passed away. At this time, out of respect to Mary-Ellen and her family’s privacy, we ask that all well wishes go to:”

This was the second fatal accident on the same trail in less than two months. In late August, Guy Joseph Du Vent of Twin Lakes died of injuries after a fall from his bike.

While Mason did not compete in mountain biking, he instead used it as a cross-training exercise for his real passion, the Ironman Canada race which he took part in again this year.

Nixon, also an avid cyclist,  added that on the trails Mason was not a risk taker and always wore his helmet, which emergency personnel and the Coroner’s Service confirmed after the accident.

Immediately following the incident a B.C. Air Ambulance helicopter was called to the scene and a short time later members of Penticton Search and Rescue were dispatched.

Search manager Cindy Smith said the mishap took place on a “moderate” section of trail.

“This was not an extreme area by any means but accidents do happen fairly often up there, but they’re not usually as serious,” said Smith afterwards. “People are often able to self rescue or have friends help them out.

“It’s the nature of the sport but it is just tragic that it’s been such extreme accidents for two people this year.”

Friends and family are invited to a celebration of Mason’s life Saturday at Bench 1775 Winery located at 1775 Naramata Rd. starting at 1:30 p.m.

Those attending are advised to dress for outside conditions. People are also asked, in lieu of flowers, to make a donation to the Ride2Survive program which can be done at:

“Rob was a wonderful friend and a brilliant veterinarian and will be greatly missed,” said Nixon.


Just Posted

Geordie Fife exits the dunk tank during 2017’s Discovery House Father’s Day festivities at Skaha Lake Park. The fundraiser helps raise awareness of the work done at the house and break down the stigma associated with addiction. (Western News File)
Discovery House Father’s Day fundraiser goes digital

The addiction recovery program will be rolling out videos ahead of the fundraiser

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
Five-storey building proposed for Penticton’s Front Street

It will be the second time the proposal will head to council

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from St. Eugene’s residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Most Read