Blaine Hardie, an icon in the local and provincial beekeeping world, died on Aug. 15.
Hardie owned and operated the Cowichan Valley’s Hardie Honey for more than 23 years before he and his wife Jan retired last year, leaving the operation to be run by his son Duaine.
Hardie first started honeybee farming almost 40 years ago as a hobby after his father and grandfather introduced him to the business, but decided to go at it full time in 1996 when he opened Hardie Honey, which produces up to 24,000 pounds of honey a year.
Over the years, he served as president of the Cowichan Beekeepers Society and the B.C. Honey Producers Association and stayed very involved in the organizations and the industry throughout his career.
John Magdanz, the current president of the Cowichan Beekeepers Society, said Hardie’s death from cancer came as a surprise to him.
“Blaine was a real nice guy and I liked and respected him a lot,” he said.
“He could be gruff at times, but he always said what was on his mind and was always willing to help anyone who asked for it.”
Magdanz said, even though Hardie was kept busy tending to his honey business, he always found time to host field trips for others in the business, and was a willing speaker when asked to attend meetings to share his knowledge.
“Blaine will certainly be missed,” he said.