McIvor left a legacy of community building

Former Penticton librarian, city councillor and school trustee dies at home.

Rory McIvor, a dedicated community builder, died Saturday at his Penticton home. (File photo)

Rory McIvor, a dedicated community builder, died Saturday at his Penticton home. (File photo)

There are those who live their life without making much of a mark, and there are those whose lives touched so many others, you couldn’t begin to count them.

Rory McIvor was one of those people. A dedicated community supporter, McIvor passed away at home sometime Saturday night. He’s survived by his wife Anna, their two daughters and grandchildren.

As news of his death spread Monday morning, people began sharing their memories of a man who was an ardent community supporter in many ways.

Head librarian at the Penticton library from 1972 to 2002, McIvor was also a Rotarian for 45 years, served two terms on city council and was a school board trustee for a decade, including eight years as chair.

“One of the strongest, if not the strongest, community advocate I’ve ever known,” said MLA Dan Ashton, who served with McIvor on Penticton city council. “Penticton was important to him and he showed it by getting involved.“

Ashton described McIvor as an “absolute gentleman” with an incredible wealth of knowledge.

“He would come to you and explain things, maybe help you see it in a different light,” said Ashton, adding that even after leaving local politics he would often bump into McIvor and chat about the community.

Like Ashton, John Vassilaki served with McIvor on council and also beside him as a member of the Rotary Club of Penticton

“There was nothing on his mind other than to serve the community and the citizens of Penticton. His whole life was giving back to the community,” said Vassilaki.

Though the two might have had political differences across the city council table, Vassilaki said the one thing that always came through about McIvor was how much cared about people.

“He was a good man who wanted nothing but the best for the community and for people,” said Vassilaki. “He was a man you could look up to. He was always there to help.”

A Rotarian for 45 years, McIvor served in many positions, from the president of the club to heading various committees.

Fellow Rotarian Ken Davis said one of McIvor’s favourite things was to be involved with the annual wheelbarrow fundraiser at Christmas.

“He enjoyed being out and about. There, he could go out and talk to people,” said Davis. “He loved to chat with everyone.”

Davis also recalls how instrumental McIvor was in helping create two major projects with Rotary: the development of the running track and sports complex at Penticton Secondary, and the Soupateria at St. Saviour’s Anglican Church.

It only took McIvor a couple of weeks on the phone and computer, Davis said, to raise the money needed to complete the project, along with Rotary’s contribution.

“It was always a pleasure to work with someone who did what needs to be done,” said Davis. “He believed strongly in Rotary values.”

Those values include the four-way test: is it the truth?; is it fair to all concerned?; will it build goodwill and better friendships?; will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Brian Hughes, a former president of the Rotary Club, worked with McIvor as his club secretary in about 2012.

“He lived the life of a Rotarian,” said Hughes. “I would phone him every day, sometimes twice a day. He had a lot of wisdom and knew how to find the middle ground.”

McIvor was also instrumental in developing Community Futures and the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan, and participated with many other community organizations over the years, including the SS Sicamous Society.

There is no word at present on memorial services for McIvor.