The loss of longtime Fruitvale contributor Allan Grieve has shocked the community.
The retired Teck machinist was a councillor for over 10 years and lived in the village for more than 50. Among his many community involvements, Grieve spent over 30 years as a paid on-call firefighter.
A trip to Maui, Hawaii, to witness his niece’s wedding ended tragically on Aug. 31, when a wave swept him under and he broke his neck.
“You hear of tragedies happening to families and you wonder how they deal with it, when it’s your turn it’s pretty tough,” said his sister Judy Dumpit of Concord, California.
He will forever be remembered as a good father to his children, a wonderful boyfriend to Janet Thompson of Trail and a brave and outspoken man to the rest of his family and friends.
Nearly 250 people gathered Wednesday at the Fruitvale Memorial Hall to celebrate Grieve’s 65 years of life, which speaks volumes of the kind of man he was.
“He was a lion on the outside, but a lamb on the inside,” said Dumpit. “He was very loving and kind and he would have given the shirt off his back for anyone.”
Grieve was born in Trail Sept. 20, 1945. When his father was killed in the Silver Refinery at Teck, his mother remarried an American and Grieve and his two siblings moved with them to California.
Though he wasn’t forced to, Grieve enlisted in the Vietnam War straight out of high school and fought for his country in 1967 and ‘68.
“He didn’t have to serve but he did,” said Dumpit. “He felt like he lived there and our step-dad was an American and felt that it was his duty to serve.”
After returning home, Grieve was married to Theresa Mitchell, they had two boys – Greg and Matt – but their marriage didn’t last.
Searching for work in his trade led Grieve back to his hometown, where he raised his children as a single father.
“He took care of his family first,” said Greg, 39. “He sacrificed a lot for us.”
His stint in politics didn’t start until later in his life, when he decided he needed to become a councillor to make a difference in his community.
“Politics was more of a dare, he had a problem with things and someone said if you don’t like it, then you should run and so he did,” recalled 36-year-old Matt. “He was always one to let you know, whether you liked it or not, he was going to tell the truth.”
Grieve last ran for council in 2008, strictly to convince residents to vote for new blood.
Though they didn’t always see eye-to-eye, Fruitvale Mayor Libby Nelson said she always cared for Grieve.
“I just feel so shocked and sad,” said Nelson. “Allan was always giving to the community, he worked as a firefighter for many years and then we had 12 years on council together and I think we worked really well together most of the time. Even the time that we had our difficulties, I just respected Allan for his contribution to the community.”