This is the first opportunity I have had to write the Heart of Our City since returning from a three-week vacation and since the passing of Odd Eidsvik.
As outlined in my column of June 24, while in Heidleberg, Germany on June 26, I paused for a moment of silence to recognize the celebration of life being held half-a-world away. The column I wrote was simply the tip of the iceberg of what I wanted to write about Odd Eidsvik and now, if you will indulge me good readers, I would like to finish my thoughts on a man who had a big impact on me here on the North Coast.
This isn’t the first time Odd’s smiling face has filled the space below the Heart of Our City banner. Last April, when this was a fairly new feature in the Northern View, there was one name I knew I wanted profiled here and that was Odd Eidsvik.
When I first met Odd back in 2007, I had no idea who he was or everything he had accomplished. All I knew was that he was a friendly face with a winning, and completely unique, personality who was always up for a good joke and always trying to make people laugh. I knew he was a renowned accountant in town, but that was about it.
Over the next eight years, the more I learned about Odd the more I came to respect him. Here is a man who gave his time to serve the people of the city as a councillor and helped bolster tourism through the creation and maintenance of a lift to the top of Mount Hays.
On the global stage, Odd was a dedicated Rotarian who put the organization’s motto of “Service Above Self” to practice in every way he could. Aside from volunteering at community events and being a founding member of the Hecate Strait Rotary Club, Odd was a major contributor to the Rotary Foundation and its efforts to seek an end to Polio.
The other thing I found great about Odd was that despite owning a successful accounting firm in the Lower Mainland, there was never a chance he would be leaving Prince Rupert for the big city life. Prince Rupert and the North Coast was his home and he would tell anybody who would listen about the many benefits of living in the community.
In fact, one of the most clear recollections was when Odd would talk about people wondering why he chose to live in Prince Rupert when Vancouver was the business and entertainment centre of the province. Odd said that whenever the topic came up, he always had a retort to those suggesting the move:
“My house is five minutes from my office, my office is three minutes from the golf course and my green fees are less than $1,000 for the year. How long is your commute?”
If that doesn’t scream proud Rupertite, I don’t know what does.
As a young person in town, there weren’t many better role models than Odd. Anyone who says people from a small town can’t find great success need look no further than a man who grew up in Dodge Cove and became a chartered accountant with two successful branches in the province. Anyone who isn’t sure about taking risks and staying with what is comfortable can take solace in the fact that Odd went from being a fisherman to the business and community leader he became.
And amongst all his service to the community and running a successful accounting business, Odd was still very much a family man who always made time for friends and loved ones.
There are many people who make Prince Rupert the amazing place it is and we here at the Northern View take great pride in profiling those residents week in and week out.
For me, as someone who arrived on the North Coast in 2006 with no idea of what kind of community Prince Rupert was, there may have been nobody who better encapsulated the Heart of Our City than Odd Eidsvik.