People speaking at Patrick Nicol's memorial service spoke about his commitment to the community, but also about the caring personal touch he showed to all of them.
"If Vernon had royalty, Patrick would be a member of our royal family," said Sawatzky. "And he would have achieved that status not by heredity â€¦ but by merit, by dint of the decades of hard work and dedication for the betterment of his community that was the cornerstone of his life here."
Services for Nicol, a longtime Vernon councillor, radio personality and executive, were held Monday at Trinity United Church, with satellite services at Kal Tire Place and The Schubert Centre. The City of Vernon estimated attendance at the three locations at about 1,000.
Nicol passed away on Jan. 15 after a long battle with cancer.
Sawatzky was one of many who spoke at the service and fondly remembered Nicol as an impeccably dressed man whose commitment to sports trivia was only rivalled by his commitment to the city in which he lived.
Prior to becoming mayor, Sawatzky was Nicol's physician, and he spoke about the day he realized Nicol was ill.
"I advised him that I wanted to admit him to hospital that day to get some diagnostic testing," said Sawatzky. "He refused because, and I quote, 'I'm too busy with organizing Canada Day celebrations and I have a number of meetings and too many people are counting on me. We'll have to arrange something in a couple of weeks.' That story epitomizes, I think, how Patrick thought his life should be lived and his priorities in life."
"He also had a phenomenal memory for sports, especially baseball, music and trivia."
Annette Sharkey praised Nicol as a man dedicated to service.
Sharkey first met Nicol when she was working at the women's shelter, her first job in Vernon. "He stayed behind and asked me about my background. I felt that he believed in me, and that was a gift."
She added that he seemed to know every person connected with every project in Vernon.
Broadcaster Cory Kim, who worked with Nicol for many years, shared some personal snapshots. Referring to a photograph of Nicol on the alter, he said "I wish you knew how much he loved that picture, and he never took another."
"He loved telling me 'you can't give up,'" said Kim.
As to his radio philosophy, Kim said Nicol "wanted to make you feel welcome every time you turned the radio on."
Fighting back tears, Kim said Nicol's philosophy was, "Wherever I go and whatever I touch should be better when I leave it."
Friend Judy Barnard spoke of her personal connection with Nicol. "When he learned he wasn't going to make it, he told me to get a pen, paper and start writing, and he set down his wishes for this service."
He also asked Barnard to, "speak for me, tell people I had a great, great life."
Barnard also worked for the radio station. "I saw how he worked day in and day out to make the world a better place."
Nicol would often send her on shopping trips to buy flowers, or food, or linens for someone who needed them. They were always delivered anonymously.
Barnard helped Nicol redecorate his house. "And we got it finished on Jan. 14. We were hanging the last few pictures and he said the home's the way I want it. I just love it."
Rudy Sharma, a friend and golfing partner, said Nicol gave the gift of his time. "We had a dinner during the holidays and it was a trip down memory lane."
Nicol's brother John spoke last, saying the response of the community was, "a bit overwhelming."
Nicol's parents were dubious as to his choice of broadcasting as a career, but they funded his training at the Columbia School of Broadcasting in Vancouver.
"He sent out tapes and no one responded until one day he got a call from Trail and he was offered the graveyard shift if he could get there the next day," said John.
"We many not see his like again. I know I will not," he added.
Many of Nicol's favourite songs, from Van Morrison's Bright Side of the Road to a version of Let it Be by Vernon musician Rob Dinwoodie were played. The service ended with his favourite Christmas song, Angels Among Us.