The late founding Aldergrove Rotary president, Brian Thomasson, is hoped to be honoured with a memorial bench in Aldergrove where he enacted many positive changes throughout the years. (Aldergrove Star files)

Brian’s bench in Aldergrove sought as tribute to ‘true friend’

Late Rotary president, Brian Thomasson, served the Aldergrove community for decades

“Aldergrove has got to be one of the best places to live,” founding Aldergrove Rotary president Brian Thomasson said at the club’s 30th anniversary meeting in January.

Thomasson, a long-time teacher, died in July at age 75, after a battle with cancer.

The Good Samaritan expressed his love for the community by devoting himself to making it a better place, said fellow school administrator, Rotarian Charlie Fox.

“He was a community builder, whether through being a Rotarian or as a board member of the Aldergrove Credit Union and the Otter Co-op, or in the role of school administrator at several local schools, his heart was in the community.”

A ‘true friend’

Thomasson – who became “a true friend to many” – moved to Aldergrove from Cloverdale in 1972.

From there, he began his teaching career at former South Otter school, Patricia Elementary.

When Rotarians were asked to describe their fondest memories during the club’s 30th anniversary meeting, many made mention of Thomasson.

Lee Sawatzky said that every year, “without fail,” Thomasson would call him on his birthday. And every year, the Rotarian would be charmed by his friendship.

Thomasson’s obituary detailed that he will be remembered as a “great friend who never forgot a face, or a birthday.”

“We would often joke that a stranger was just a friend that Brian hadn’t met yet,” family detailed in his eulogy.

We are getting closer to our fundraising goal to dedicate a memorial bench in an Aldergrove Park for our dear friend…

Posted by Otter Co-op on Thursday, August 6, 2020

Community chips in

His death inspired Otter Co-op, where Thomasson was a board member, to launch a campaign to raise funds for a memorial bench in his honour.

The funds were raised on GoFundMe, on behalf of Thomasson’s surviving wife and family.

The crowdfunding campaign for the commemoration surpassed its $3,400 goal Tuesday, by more than $2,000.

In total $5,395 was chipped in by the Aldergrove community, which included $2,000 from Aldergrove Credit Union where Thomasson also served on the board.

Memorial bench in works

With approval from the Langley Township, a new and dedicated bench will serve as a place for rest and remembrance – at an Aldergrove park of his family’s choosing.

Familiar to the founding Rotary president was the Aldergrove Athletic Park.

Thomasson spearheaded the sale of Patricia Hall to secure an integral piece of funding for the Rotary Fieldhouse in the south area of the park, Fox explained.

It provided Aldergrove with a multi-purpose facility with washrooms, a meeting room, and storage space for sports teams.

READ MORE: Aldergrove Rotarians surprise ailing friend with convoy of driveway visits

Not only that, several cement picnic tables nearest to Aldergrove Secondary in the park were also donated by the former teacher.

Rotarian Janet Ingram-Johnson said she remembers Thomasson as someone who delighted in life, despite tragedy.

“He was, above all, a kind man I feel honoured to have known.”

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