John Dormer was fond of saying, “If you want something done, give the job to a busy man.”
He knew what he was talking about — throughout his years in Kamloops, he was always busy, involved in many facets of community life, including business, politics and volunteerism.
Dormer died Friday (April 14, 2017) in Royal Inland Hospital, surrounded by his family including his wife Marjorie. He was 72.
He is perhaps best known as the mayor of Kamloops from 1986 to 1988. His mayoralty was cut short after one term by former B.C. Highways Minister Phil Gaglardi who led a fledgling political party called Action Team 88 to a resounding victory.
But while Dormer was mayor, a referendum was approved for the $23-million Riverside Coliseum (now the Sandman Centre).
“It’s meant a tremendous amount to Kamloops,” Dormer said later. “It’s created a whole new energy and thought process.”
As mayor, he was a director of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and served on the executives of the Union of B.C. Municipalities and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
He considered running for mayor again several years later but decided against it.
However, he was active for many years in provincial politics with the BC Liberals, serving as the Kamloops director for the party and as the campaign manager for Kevin Krueger in 2009.
Dormer’s early working life in Kamloops included B.C. Tel as a public relations representative, then B.C. Lotteries Corporation, and also did economic development for the City of Kamloops for a time. He went into business for himself with Dormer Consulting — a business development company — and Pacific Bentonite Ltd., a company that marketed industrial materials.
He was also vice president of the Kamloops Exploration Group.
Dormer was a past president of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, was on the community advisory committee for the RCMP, the board of the B.C. Wildlife Park and a member of the K-40 (Kinsmen) service club.
When the Olympic Torch came through Kamloops for the 2010 Winter Games, Dormer carried it during the relay.
In a 2010 story in The Kamloops Daily News about the impact of cancer on his family, Dormer said, “I don’t know if you’d call it predominant or not, but it certainly has had an effect on our family.”
Premier Christy Clark issued a statement today saying she was “deeply saddened” by Dormer’s passing.
“John served the people of Kamloops with distinction as their mayor, and was a widely respected advocate for the B.C. mining and mineral exploration community,” she said. “But he was above all a devoted husband to Marjorie, the loving father of Julie, Dave, and John, and the immensely proud grandfather of Emily.
“As a stalwart member of our BC Liberal family, he was always the first to step up, to help and advise — wise, cheerful, and kind to everyone he met.
“As we hold John’s family in our thoughts, we join the Kamloops community in mourning this great loss.”
Liberal party worker Emile Scheffel called Dormer “warm, sharp, funny, and always stood up for what he believed in.”
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod said Dormer was “a passionate supporter of our community, knowledgeable advocate for the mining industry, dauntless political opinions and most importantly a proud husband, father and grandfather.”