April 10, 1945 – January 17, 2021
Colin passed away at home on his farm in Nanoose Bay, BC, at the age of 75. He will be deeply missed by his wife, Diane (née Doney); daughter Clarice Springford (Peter van Dongen) and son Ross Springford (Erin), both of Nanoose Bay, BC; grandchildren Janel and Troy van Dongen and Parker and Landon Springford; sister Sylvia Clark of Ajax, ON; nephews Rob Clark (Connie) and Randy Clark (Roslyn); and great nephews and nieces Cory, Christopher, Jonathan, Katie and Faith. Colin was predeceased by his parents Bond and Allyne Springford of Sooke, BC.
Colin began his life on a small hand-milk dairy in Sidney, BC. The family later ran a corner grocery store in Brentwood Bay. This gave Colin his first taste of customer service, which served him well through his life in business. At age eight, he talked his father into plowing some land for his own vegetable garden, beginning his lifelong passion for gardening and farming.
When Colin was just 15, Diane spotted him riding his horse at the Saanich Fair and declared, “That’s my cowboy.” They went on their first date January 16, 1970 and married July 12, 1975 in Saanichton. This began an incredible partnership that would last 45 years and yield two children: daughter Clarice in 1977 and son Ross in 1981.
Colin worked for Chew Excavating in Victoria. He and Diane moved to Parksville in 1975 and a few years later started Town & Country Construction Parksville Ltd., which they operated together for more than 30 years, along with other businesses. Colin earned a reputation for being a fair and honest businessman who could be trusted to get the job done and get it done right.
With the move up island, Colin began actively pursuing his dream of farming. He started on a nine-acre hobby farm in Parksville, then a 30- acre farm in the Dawson Valley, and finally their current 225-acre farm in Nanoose Bay. While running his businesses full time, he poured his heart and soul into the farm on evenings and weekends.
Colin was committed to leave everything in life better than he found it and took great pride in being a good steward of his land and livestock.
After retiring from construction, and being joined on the farm by son Ross, the family worked together to grow the farm, adding commercial egg production and a thriving retail market. Many loyal customers referred to Colin as “their” farmer.
Never one to hold back on speaking his mind, Colin was a respected and passionate advocate for agriculture. He served as president of the Coombs Farmers’ Institute for 10 years and was active in the Arrowsmith Agricultural Association and many other farm organizations. Colin was always eager to lend a hand or offer advice to other farmers.
Colin held a special place in his heart for children and youth. At Town & Country, he offered free sand to anyone building a sandbox. He donated his time as a 4-H Leader. He made it his mission to build up the Farmers’ Institute student scholarship program. And he was a long-time supporter of the Nanoose Community Services food bank and Christmas Elf Program.
In his later years, much of Colin’s attention was directed to his grandchildren. He loved to spend time with them, listen to their stories, and share his knowledge and life experience.
The day before Colin passed away, he and Diane enjoyed a wonderful day together, driving to Duncan to visit with her mother and sister. It was January 16, 2021, exactly 51 years since their first date. Colin passed away exactly how he wished he would go, home on his farm with his dog Rex by his side.
A small family service was held on Sunday, January 24, with a celebration of Colin’s life to be scheduled at a later date. In his memory, donations may be made to a children’s charity of your choice.
To send a condolence to the family please visit www.yatesmemorial.ca
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