Bhagwan Mayer was well-known throughout the Cowichan Valley for his many years in industrial businesses, but will always be remembered most for the important role he played in helping to bring the World’s Largest Hockey Stick and Puck to its final resting place on the side of the Cowichan Community Centre.
Mayer overcame some significant health issues over the years, including quadruple bypass surgery in 2005, but died suddenly on Nov. 12. He was 81 and had just celebrated his 41st anniversary with wife Gail two days earlier.
“He was an optimist, he enjoyed life,” said Gail. “He had so much energy and he loved people.
“He was really well-liked with a huge circle of friends.”
Dick Drew was part of the committee with Mayer, Len Goodman, Karl Schutz and Ron Austen who worked tirelessly first to secure the World’s Largest Hockey Stick and Puck for the Cowichan Valley after Expo ‘86 and then to move it to Duncan in August of 1987. It was dedicated on May 21, 1988, two years to the day after Expo ‘86 opened.
“He was an anchor on the hockey stick committee,” said Drew. “That hockey stick wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for Bhagwan Mayer. He organized the towing company that brought it over on a barge.”
It was quite an undertaking to move the stick by barge from Vancouver and then load it and transport it on three flatbed trucks. Mayer was just the man to orchestrate the job.
“Everybody on the committee worked hard, but he was the super organizer,” praised Drew. “It was an amazing show of community support. Everybody was in favour of it, everybody wanted it.”
“I remember Bhagwan as a kind-hearted, super friendly, smart, hard-working fellow who cared about his community,” added Austen. “Not a bad epitaph, would you not agree?”
“He was the ideal person to be on that hockey stick committee,” said Gail. “He arranged for that hauling with Mariner Towing and the Doman trucks.”
Bhagwan was born on April 19, 1939 at the former King’s Daughters Hospital in Duncan and lived in Paldi at a young age before moving into Duncan and was valedictorian of the 1956 Cowichan Secondary School graduating class. He was a committed Boy Scout and Scout Leader, obtaining his Queen Scout designation in 1957.
Bhagwan also served six years on the Malaspina College board and on the Cowichan region’s Social Credit Party board that were among his other community endeavours. He was active in the business community throughout most of his life and was a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow.
His business ventures encompassed many companies over the years.
Bhagwan and Gail moved to Ladysmith in 1994 and have lived there ever since. Gail formerly worked for the Chemainus Festival of Murals in the late 1980s and for 20 years with Community Travel Services in Chemainus.
Bhagwan and Gail loved travelling and in recent years developed close friendships with fellow members of vintage car clubs on Vancouver Island and in Washington and Oregon states.
Bhagwan is survived by five children, eight grandchildren, one sister and three brothers. His son, John, died in 2018 from complications from diabetes.
No memorial service is planned in accordance with Bhagwan’s wishes. For anyone who’d like to make a donation in his name, contributions to the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation would be appreciated.