Larry Rumsby

Larry Rumsby

OBITUARY: A tribute to Larry Rumsby

Former electrician contributed generously to community life – and always with a smile

Elida Peers | Contributed

Larry Rumsby was born at Jordan River in 1926, and he always had a soft spot for the frame house at the bottom of the hill on the waterside, as you approached Jordan River, a structure now gone.

It was the life of a thriving pioneer community that brought together Frank Rumsby, an electrician who arrived by boat in 1911, before there was a road to Jordan River, to work at the hydroelectric plant, and Nettie Maloney, a teacher who began ministering to her flock at the Jordan River School in 1919. They were married in 1922.

In 1929, the village of Sooke was first able to access electricity, with the establishment of a substation that diverted power into the village from the hydro lines that carried power from Jordan River to supply Victoria. It wasn’t long before Frank Rumsby brought his family to the new subdivision of Saseenos, where Larry, his sister Joan and brother Bill were raised in a waterfront home.

Rumsby Electric, begun in 1932 by his dad, became the primary electrical firm in town, and as Larry mused when he was 80 and still working at his trade, it was probably Sooke’s oldest business. Not only did Larry and brother Bill carry on the firm, but Larry’s son Stephen became an electrician as well.

After attending Sooke Superior School and barely old enough to join, Larry served briefly during the Second World War, went to work, and married a Prairie girl, Betty Lence, nursing at Saint Joseph’s Hospital.

The couple made their home alongside the Sooke River and raised a lively household of seven children, while both Larry and Betty contributed generously to community life.

Sooke was his town, and in Larry’s relaxed way, he was always an interested participant with a great smile.

It would be impossible to note the many ways that he contributed his electrical skills to the Sooke community over the years, but among the many endeavours that he helped would be the Sooke Community Association, the Sooke Centennial Committee, the Sooke Region Museum, the Sooke Lions Club, the Royal Canadian Legion, and pretty well all major community celebrations.

A man of the Roman Catholic faith, he carried a significant role in encouraging inter-church activities.

Larry’s sociable nature meant he enjoyed carrying on another tradition begun by his dad, barbecuing the beef in pits at the Flats in the Leechtown style, the night before All Sooke Day so that the succulent meat would be ready for the eager crowds next day. It wasn’t only the beef, though, as while the Flats were being readied each year, whenever an electrical problem arose, there was always a call to Larry, which brought a quick response.

Most outstanding, when the first Sooke Fine Arts Show was being set up in 1986, Larry spent weeks working gratis at the arena, organizing and setting up the lighting.

Larry did take time for fun and was a member of the Sooke Badminton Club, attended a memorable car rally in 1957 with his boyhood friend Gerald Roberson, and particularly enjoyed annual boating trips around the Island with Glen Holland and visiting Bill Hewlett. Best of all were the many summer camping trips taken with his family, where the kids would all gather around while Betty prepared lunch on the tailgate.

Daughter Lorna recalls his boundless energy and enthusiasm – that on his 80th birthday, he called her and suggested a bike ride – she said after riding to Sidney and back, he was not even tired, while she collapsed to the bed.

More recently, though, Larry’s age had caught up with him, and his final days were at Ayre Manor, where he died March 12. Predeceased by his sister Joan Zipp and his brother Bill (Kathryn), Larry leaves his wife of 69 years, Betty, his sons Stephen (Michelle), Peter (Deborah), Christopher (Susan), Brian (Laura) and daughters Lorna, Maureen (Boh) and Karen (Reece). His grandchildren are: Robin (Dan), Zachary, Rebekah, Scott, Travis, Lance, Sean (Meagan), Chelsea (Reece), Leland, Jennifer (Chris), Kaitlyn and great-grandchildren are: Vienna, Hope, Ledger, Kylee and Knox.

•••

Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CommunitySooke

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Supporter Gordy Dodd cheers on HeroWork Victoria executive director Trevor Botkin, who will be in a lift for 36 hours beside Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress on April 16 and 17 to raise funds for the organization’s next project, a makeover of the Salvation Army’s Addiction and Rehabilitation Centre on Johnson Street. (Courtesy HeroWork Victoria)
HeroWork Victoria tackles makeover of Salvation Army rehab centre

Executive director to spend 36 hours living in a lift as fundraiser

Grandmothers to Grandmothers is a campaign that connects Canadian grandmothers with grandmothers in Africa who are caring for children orphaned by AIDS. Here, they are in Kakuto, Uganda in 2018. (Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar photo)
Greater Victoria and African grandmothers celebrate solidarity with virtual concert

Grandmothers to Grandmothers supports women in Africa caring for children orphaned by AIDS

Naloxone is used to treat opioid overdoses. (Black Press Media files)
Island Health issues overdose advisory for Greater Victoria

The advisory directs bystanders to an overdose to call 911 and administer naloxone

A portion of West Coast Road in Sooke was closed for several hours as emergency services responded to a “serious incident” on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.
West Coast Road reopens after ‘serious incident’ propted Tuesday afternoon closure

The road was closed between Grant Road West and Otter Point Road as emergency services were on scene

West Shore RCMP is seeking information about a collision involving a car and a bicycle on Six Mile Road, near the Island Highway, at 11:30 a.m. on April 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP seeks information about collision between bike, car

Collision occured on Six Mile Road on April 7 and a bystander got the blue car’s plate number

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

Most Read