Nelson school paid tribute to longtime trustee

Gordon Sargent, namesake of the closed Uphill school and now-defunct primary program, was a longtime school trustee for the West Arm.

Gordon Sargent

Gordon Sargent, namesake of the closed Uphill school and now-defunct primary program, was a longtime school trustee for the West Arm.

He was also one of the founders of Selkirk College, having served on the college council during its formative years, and his name appears on a plaque there and at L.V. Rogers Secondary.

According to his obituary, “his greatest interest was young people and their education.”

Born in England, Sargent came to the Crawford Bay area in 1931. He worked on fruit ranches, then bought property at Longbeach and started raising chickens and driving a school bus.

During World War II, he served five and a half years overseas. Upon his return, he married Lillian Dickinson and worked as an inspector for the BC Fruit Growers Co-op.

Later he was a city bus driver, a parts man at McElroy Motors, and a toll collector on the Nelson bridge. He served 21 years on the Nelson school board, including one year as chair.

“As long as I can remember, he was always trundling off to school board meetings and conventions at the coast,” says his son Eric, who lives on the North Shore.

After Sargent’s death in 1969 at age 59, two scholarships were established in his name, along with trophies for top social studies students. His wife was also presented with a scroll from the Nelson District Teachers Association, honouring his “devoted service to education.”

But his greatest posthumous honour was the open-concept primary school built in 1971 and named after him following what the Nelson Daily News called a “mild debate.”

While trustees agreed he deserved such an honour, some wondered if it should be saved for a school in the area he represented.

“Gordon Sargent was expressly interested in a school on the West Arm,” said Shirley Bonney, “and I believe he said he would not mind having his name used for a school there.”

However, Dr. D.F. Larder, chair of the committee that presented the motion, replied: “We felt that with a new school at this time, we should honour him now. If a school is built out there in the future, we could change the name.”

That never happened, although Sargent’s son agrees it would have been more appropriate. In fact, Redfish Elementary was built on land Sargent and his wife lived on when they first married. “If they were going to name anything after him, that would be the one,” Eric says.

But the family did ultimately have a direct connection with the Sargent school: in 2007-08, the year before the program moved to South Nelson, Gordon Sargent’s great grandson Oscar attended Kindergarten there. “He was very proud to be there,” Eric says. “Dad would have been proud too.”

Regardless of its location, he says a school named after his father “was certainly an honour … Our family is very sad to see it go and wishes there was some way the name could be continued.”

Just Posted

West Kootenay highways a mess as heavy snowfall continues

‘Roads are very icy, people have to be patient and have to slow down’

Nelson to allow marijuana dispensaries to operate into new year

Medical cannabis dispensaries won’t be penalized for operating until their recreational applications are heard

Nelson Curling Club still suffering financially

The club posted a nearly $20,000 loss last year, announced at its AGM on Sunday

Over $25,000 raised for Columbia Basin literacy

Success for 2018 Books for Kids campaign

Nelson Leafs, regional district plan full-time hazardous waste recycling depot

City requires flood-mitigation plan before one-year trial can begin

VIDEO: Monday Roundup

#hotscoops #hotscoops #hotscoops

Famous giant tortoise DNA may hold fountain of youth: UCBO

After Lonesome George’s death he still provides clues to longer life

Oogie Boogie, Sandy Claws and coffin sleigh part of B.C. couple’s holiday display

Chilliwack couple decorates their house for the holidays using Nightmare Before Christmas theme

First Nation sues Alberta, says oilsands project threatens sacred site

Prosper Petroleum’s $440-million, 10,000-barrel-a-day plans have been vigorously opposed by Fort McKay

North Okanagan site of first RCMP naloxone test project

Free kits, training to be provided to high-risk individuals who spend time in cell blocks

1 arrested after bizarre incident at U.S.-B.C. border involving bags of meth, car crash

Man arrested after ruckus in Sumas and Abbotsford on Thursday night

More B.C. Indigenous students graduating high school: report

70% of Indigenous students graduated, compared to 86% across all B.C. students

2 facing animal cruelty charges after emaciated dog found in B.C.

Amy Hui-Yu Lin and Glenn Mislang have been charged with causing an animal to continue to be in distress

Out of the doghouse: B.C. city lifts ban on pup who barked too much at dog park

Cameron the Shetland sheepdog is allowed back into Uplands off-leash dog park under some conditions.

Most Read