Vancouver Island’s aviation community is mourning BGen (Ret’d) Fred Bigelow.

The Comox Valley Airport CEO passed away on Tuesday.

He was 59. 

“Following a dynamic 34-year career with the Canadian Forces, including a term as Wing Commander of CFB Comox, Fred was very happy to return to the Comox Valley in 2012 to lead the team at the Comox Valley Airport,” the Comox Valley Airport Commission said in a notice. 

“As airport chief, he presided over an unprecedented period of growth. His conscientious efforts to provide a world class facility, with measured fiscal restraint, has left the airport well positioned to weather this challenging period. This was typical of his commitment to his community, and greatly appreciated by the board.”

The commission said Bigelow was “popular, loved, and respected,” and remembered for his incredible leadership, his sense of humour, and “his ability to connect with and support others.” 

“He will be greatly missed by the staff and his many friends at the airport, as well as those he worked with and knew throughout the community.”

Given current restrictions on gathering, a live-stream celebration of life will be held online between 1:00pm and 3:00pm tomorrow (Sept. 4) here.

Bigelow is survived by his wife, Sarah, children Alan, and Stephanie (Scott), and his sisters Margaret (Gene), Jean (John), and Susan (Doug). 

He was predeceased by his parents, and son, Eric.

Memorial donations can be made to the United Riders of Cumberland and the Cumberland Community Forest Society.