A former White Rock councillor and well-known local businessman and Rotarian is being remembered for his huge heart and extensive community involvement.
Cliff Annable, who was also a former owner of the Surrey Eagles junior hockey team, died on Tuesday (March 5).
Friends and acquaintances began posting condolences and tributes to Facebook and Twitter shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday.
“He was a good man who did a great deal for his community,” Doug Tennant, executive director of Semiahmoo House Society, commented on Facebook.
“A huge loss.”
Chris Thornley wrote that Annable “truly was one of a kind.”
Mark Holick, a South Surrey resident who was the head coach of the Surrey Eagles in the late 1990s when Annable owned the team, called him “one of the best people I’ve ever worked for” in an interview with Peace Arch News last spring.
Annable, who, with his wife Maureen, recently welcomed a new grandchild, served on White Rock council from 2003-2005, and retired from his role as executive director of the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce last summer, after taking it on in January 2012.
He was an active member of the Semiahmoo Rotary Club since 1994, was a director of KidSport, and served on several community organizations, including the Semiahmoo Volunteer Community Policing Society, the Peace Arch Hospital Partners in Caring Campaign and the White Rock/South Surrey Foundation.
Last summer, Annable was honoured by the City of White Rock as one of two ‘Outstanding Canadians on the Peninsula.’
Former White Rock mayor Wayne Baldwin commented Wednesday morning that Annable’s death is “a huge loss.”
Baldwin said other contributions Annable made included helping fundraise for, and ultimately run, the Rotary Fieldhouse.
“He was a wonderful man who I wish had been able to stay with us much longer,” Baldwin writes.
Other online commenters note Annable was “full of smiles and kind words,” “so generous to our community” and “so positive.”
He also “loved to talk hockey.”
In a post announcing Annable’s death, former Surrey councillor Bruce Hayne wrote, “We lost a great friend and a huge community supporter of Surrey and White Rock today.
“Cliff Annable we will miss your incredible enthusiasm for our community. RIP my friend. My heart is heavy tonight.”
A tweet from Bob Bezubiak, manager of TD Bank, notes a meeting had been planned with Annable for Tuesday afternoon to talk about plans for raising funds towards the rebuilding of the White Rock Pier, which suffered extensive damage during a violent December windstorm.
Bezubiak said he was “totally shocked and devastated at the sudden passing of a good friend and a larger than life pillar in the community.”
On Facebook, Matt Todd, also a former White Rock councillor, described Annable as “more of a father to me than my own for many, many years.”
“We had a lot of hearty laughs, tough times, and triumphant successes,” Todd writes.
“That time, those memories, the encouragement and support… the greatest gifts. As much as I am sad, I am grateful. He gave me more than I could ever reciprocate. And I miss him already.”
Thursday, the City of White Rock issued a statement on behalf of Mayor Darryl Walker.
“He was a husband, father, grandfather, and an influential business man. He was a lightening rod for our community as he was consistently giving of himself to White Rock, South Surrey, and beyond,” Walker said in the release.
“It was never about Cliff, but the community and for that, we thank him and will miss him.”