Bear Hamilton will be missed by many within the community. (Submitted)

Bear Hamilton will be missed by many within the community. (Submitted)

Cowichan Lake’s King of Facebook signs off

Bear Hamilton has died

A well-known and well-loved Laker has died. Lake Cowichan’s Bear Hamilton died recently at the age of 76.

Hamilton was well known around the community both in person and online.

“There’s people that knew him a lot longer than me but in the few years I did know him we became good friends,” said his friend Bonnie Jones. “He was awesome for advice and said it like it was. He was a kind man and helped when he could. One thing I do know is he loved and adored [his wife] Luz.”

The news came as a shock to the online community he worked so hard to create.

Jones said Hamilton was a very private man and kept his circle small in his real world, though he was an integral part in community initiatives like the sharps pick-up program. Where he shined, however, was online.

“He was bigger than life so to speak on his Facebook group,” Jones noted. Hamilton was the administrator of the Lake Cowichan Happenings Facebook group of 4.5K members since 2019 and was its well-respected moderator. “He wanted dialogue and to interact with the people — they were his friends,” she said.

Loved by many, though “some didn’t like his stubbornness and weren’t on the page long,” Hamilton created a wonderful community within the Facebook page — one that may never be the same again.

Joy McLennan remembers how well he orchestrated the group.

“As a moderator, Bear kept the keel in line, anchoring the ship if it tilted off course. Bear was a great captain, and no one can replace him,” she said. “He truly was a ‘Care Bear’.”

McLennan said his comments and responses always modelled respect and encouraged others to follow suit. He’d say things like “…you are one of the smartest people on here. BUT, I disagree on this one”.

“Bear not only provided excellent ‘everyday’ news clips; but also provided education to the viewers,” McLennan noted. “As an old retired primary teacher, education is key, and fake news needs to be nipped in the bud,” she said. “Bear did that. I know I speak for many in this regard. He will be terribly missed online and in person. I felt like he was a personal friend, even though I have never met him in person; only in like minded spirit. A village is held up by contributors such as him.”

Consensus is that all were better off for having known Hamilton.

“His wonderful life was cut too short, and I’ll dearly miss our conversations that really knew no bounds,” said local author Teresa Schapansky, who credits Hamilton with her wildly successful book event at the Lake Cowichan library four years ago. “We agreed on every single political, local, global and even personal topic. I know that my experience with Bear is not unique; and I’m grateful for the friendship we shared.”

Mayor Bob Day agreed.

“Mr. Hamilton was a very active member on social media and was often known for ‘stirring the pot’ on groups that he was the administrator of. His favourite target was usually local government,” Day said. “It was through that platform that caused me to meet him in person and we eventually became good friends. We started off as adversaries, but I soon found out he was always willing to listen to sound reasoning.

“Mostly, I will remember Bear for his generosity towards others and the love and respect he had for his wonderful patient wife Luz.”

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