Bob Mitchell, farmer, politician and pillar of the community in Metchosin, died on Feb. 13 at the age of 83.
Mitchell owned and operated Sea Bluff Farms for a number of years, spent three terms as a councillor with the District of Metchosin and was a member of a number of organizations that promoted farming on the Island.
Robin Tunnicliffe, who is taking over the farm now that Mitchell has passed away, and worked with him for a number of years, said he was always excited to farm no matter the time of day, right until the end.
During November’s heavy rains and flooding, a culvert on the farm was blocked and water started to overflow.
“Bob went out in his bathing suit and jumped right in,” said Tunnicliffe, who described Mitchell as an icon. “I was worried we were going to lose him in the water, but he jumped in and kicked out the clog with his crocs.”
As well as working hard in the fields, Mitchell toiled in council chambers and meeting rooms to promote farming in Metchosin and throughout the Island.
“A culture needs its agriculture and he fought for it fiercely,” Tunnicliffe said.
Not only was he often found working on the farm, Frank Mitchell said his brother loved getting out on his sailboat – Bob once sailed solo around Vancouver Island. Tunnicliffe added he made frequent trips to the Clo’oose region near Nitinat Lake on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
“He had lots of energy and he had a very active imagination,” Frank said.
Ensuring the legacy of farming was also important to Mitchell, Tunnicliffe said, noting that he helped set up a loan fund to help new farmers get their start. Farmhands hired and trained at Sea Bluff were made eligible for a loan to help them buy equipment or land, which is hugely important when starting out, Tunnicliffe said.
“Farming is never going to be as fun as it was with Bob,” she said.