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 Nanoose Bay farmer Colin Springford dies at age 75

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

The Nanoose Bay community 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 nutured 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.”

— NEWS Staff

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

CoombsFarmingNanaimo Regional DistrictParksvilleSidney

Just Posted

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Neighbours have reached out to media on several occasions with complaints about the property

Darcy Rhodes (left) says his grandfather’s bonsai trees are his ‘babies.’ (Courtesy of Tamara Bond)
Construction takes place on Bamfield Main in early February 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY CTV NEWS)
Ongoing Bamfield roadwork unrelated to planned $30M fix

Construction by Mosaic unrelated to $30M upgrade ordered in wake of fatal bus crash

Protestors against old growth logging gather in front of the courthouse in Victoria on Thursday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fairy Creek protesters gather at Victoria courthouse

Logging company seeks injunction to remove blockades near its Port Renfrew operation

One person is dead after a camper van caught fire Thursday morning in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
UPDATED: One person dead after vehicle fire in Beacon Hill Park

Investigation into Victoria death in early stages

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Crews disassemble the iconic red and white KFC bucket from a sign on Goldstream Avenue. (Photo courtesy of Mark Schoor)
Iconic KFC bucket removed from Goldstream Avenue

Popular fast-food chain closes Langford location

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Clockwise from top left: Malahat First Nation Chief George Harry and councillors Steve Henry and Cindy Harry address community members in a video posted to YouTube on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (Screenshot)
Malahat Nation confirms first two cases of COVID-19

Community has been under stay-at-home order since Jan. 7

Most Read