Colin Springford doing what he loved best, tending to his garden. (Linda Matteson photo)

Colin Springford doing what he loved best, tending to his garden. (Linda Matteson photo)

Longtime farmer Colin Springford dies at age 75

‘He will be deeply missed, always loved and never forgotten’

The Island has lost one of its most devoted and staunch supporters of farming, Colin Springford.

Springford, who with wife Diane turned a hobby into a 225-acre ethical farm business, Springford Farm, died on Jan. 17 at the age of 75.

“Always a farmer at heart, he passed away this afternoon exactly where he wanted to be, at home on the farm with his dog by his side,” read a statement released by Springford Farm on its Facebook page, which was filled with hundreds of messages of condolence.

“He will be deeply missed, always loved and never forgotten.”

Springford was born in 1945 in Sidney, where his parents operated a small hand-milk dairy farm and where he developed his passion for farming and gardening. At age eight, he talked his father into plowing up some land so he could have his own vegetable garden. He nurtured his love of flowers when he worked at Butchart Gardens for six summers as a student.

READ MORE: Beloved Parksville volunteer and friend Joan Lemoine dies

From 1948 to 1961, the family ran The Maples, a small country grocery store in Brentwood where Springford also learned about customer service. After completing school, he worked in a bank and then in construction before starting farming with his wife as a hobby on their 10-acre property on Blower Road in Parksville in 1979.

The hobby got “out of hand” and eventually it grew into the beautiful, thriving family farm now operating on Northwest Bay Road in Nanoose Bay. It is well-known as a mixed farm operation with dairy and beef cattle, broiler chickens, turkeys and free-range egg production.

Springford built a reputation as a big supporter of food production and agriculture in the region. He was involved with the Coombs Farmers Institute as its past president and was also a member of the Arrowsmith Agricultural Association.

Janet Thony took over Springford’s position as president eight years ago and described him as a very determined and driven person you could always count on.

“One of the hardest-working people,” said Thony. “Always ready to help out. Very dependable when it came to some of the events that we hold every year. You could always count on Colin to be at the planning meetings and actual work days. You don’t have to worry about it if the job gets done right.”

Thony said Springford also supported people entering agriculture and was a strong advocate of local food production.

“The Springford family is probably one of the well-known examples here in our region of well-done local agriculture,” said Thony.

Leon Cake credited Springford for helping him build his business, Four Star Waterworks. He rented a property from Springford, who Cake said went out of his way to open the land for them to start their business. They were friends for more than 35 years.

“I have known him since I was 20. I am 65 years old now. He was my landlord,” said Cake. “He always treated me like a son in some ways. We had that relationship. He was a strong businessman, he was fair and precise. He was one of those people when you meet him, you know right away he is a gentleman. When he put out his hand and shook it, that was the deal.”

Louise Tyler, who owns the Parksville Bottle Depot, said Springford played a key role 25 years ago in helping her develop her current business.

“I was just a single mother with four children,” said Tyler. “I started my bottle depot in a small trailer. He liked my idea and he helped me out. He built this building and leased it to me. He was a wonderful friend, gentleman with a kind heart. I will surely miss him.”

Kim Burden, executive director of the Parksville and District and Qualicum Beach Chambers of Commerce, knew Springford not only through the chamber but also other business and community endeavours.

“He is another great community person who has now left us,” said Burden. “He was real. You know exactly where you stood with Colin all the time. If he had a problem he’d come and talk to you about it. No politics. He was straight up. What you see is what you get. And I really love that.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

CoombsFarmingNanaimo Regional DistrictParksvilleSidney

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Colin Springford expressed his thanks following a birthday truck parade that was held for him on his 75th birthday on April 10, 2020. (Submitted photo)

Colin Springford expressed his thanks following a birthday truck parade that was held for him on his 75th birthday on April 10, 2020. (Submitted photo)

Just Posted

Friends have identified the man killed in Friday’s shooting in Metchosin as Shane Wilson. (Shane Wilson/Facebook)
West Shore RCMP continue to investigate shooting death in Metchosin

Man killed on Sooke Road Friday night identified by friends

Fire Chief Darren Hughes, right, pulls the old Firemans Park sign off ahead of the parks name change. The new sign for Firefighters Park is coming. (Oak Bay Fire Department Twitter)
Oak Bay changes the name of Fireman’s Park

New sign for Firefighter’s Park on the way

The WHL’s Victoria Royals will compete in a 24-game season starting March 26, <strong></strong>based out of a Kamloops and Kelowna B.C. division bubble (Kevin Light/Courtesy Victoria Royals)
‘Important to cherish every moment’: Victoria Royals not taking bubble season for granted

The Victoria WHL team’s coach and GM calls the season a ‘privilege,’ expects fierce rivalries

The Victoria Fire Department was able to contain a fire to one room after a bed placed directly against a heater ignited. (Black Press Media file photo)
Early morning Victoria balcony fire causes $20,000 in damages

Victoria Fire Department said nobody was injured in the fire on View Street

Postmark Group, an Edmonton-based development firm, bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year, and is reaching out to the community and local groups for feedback before they begin planning the designs for the development. (Photo contributed/Postmark Group)
Waterfront village development eyed for Sooke

Postmark Group development firm bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year

Const. Nancy Saggar, who has 11 years in policing, offers advice for other women who may pursue both policing and family. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pregnancy prompts sage advice from RCMP officer for women thinking about policing

West Shore constable with 11 years experience heads off on maternity leave

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.
21-year-old motorbike rider dies after crash with ATV on Nanaimo back road

Incident happened Sunday afternoon near Boomerang Lake

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Most Read