Former Comox mayor Russ Arnott loses battle with cancer

Comox Mayor Russ Arnott (right) cashed in his Mayor’s Cup bet at Monday’s Courtenay Council meeting, presenting the “trophy” to Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells while wearing a Don Cherry jersey from Wells. The fundraising hockey game was held on January 18, 2019, and raised more than $16,000 for the Comox Valley branch of KidSport.Photo by Scott Stanfield
On August 5, 2019, Comox Mayor Russ Arnott wore his best pirate gear for the annual Comox Sailing Day Parade. Photography: Terry FarrellComox Mayor Russ Arnott wears his best pirate gear during the annual Comox Nautical Days Parade on August 5, 2019. Photo by Terry Farrell
Lars Arnottlas arnott
Comox Mayor Russ Arnott attended the Canada Day Parade.Photo by Terry FarrellComox Mayor Russ Arnott attended the Canada Day Parade.Photo by Terry Farrell
The current town council has granted autonomy to Mayor Russ Arnott. Stand behind (to his right) Couns.  Ken Grant, Alex Bissinger, Maureen Swift and (to his left) Couns.  Stephanie McGowan, Nicole Minions and Dr. Jonathan Kerr.The current town council grants Mayor Russ Arnott borough freedoms. Stand (on his right) behind Couns. Ken Grant, Alex Bisinger, Maureen Swift and (to his left) Cowens. Stephanie McGowan, Nicole Minions and Dr. Jonathan Kerr.

Former Comox mayor Russ Arnott has lost his battle with cancer.

Arnott died on November 11.

Arnott has lived in Comox for 26 years, where he supported his family and served on the town council again in 2008 and 2014. He was elected mayor in 2018 and spent 11 years in council volunteering to improve the liveability of Comox town.

He also served 35 years in the federal public service, 26 of which supported the safety of seafarers in Canadian waters and the protection of the marine environment with the Canadian Coast Guard. For the past nine years, he has been with the Comox Housing Agency at a Canadian Forces Base (CFB), where he manages housing solutions for military personnel and their families.

Arnott had announced his intention to run for re-election in the spring, but health concerns forced him to withdraw from his re-election bid a day before nominations closed.

“Over the past four years (11 as an MP) I’ve done a great job and cherished every moment of my service to you, but recently life has thrown me a curveball that I didn’t expect,” he posted on his Facebook page Say, September 8th. “So now Yolonda and my family take care of me… I hate goodbye but there’s nothing more to say…”

Arnott is survived by his partner Yoronda, five children (including three stepchildren) and seven grandchildren.

“It’s heartbreaking that Russ was such an influential person not only to us and his family, but to the entire community,” said his stepdaughter Hope Lewis.

Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard conveyed her condolences.

“For decades, Russ has been ready to serve the community he loves,” she said. “He did not hesitate to advocate for the priorities of his town, and Comox has benefited from his leadership. His vision for enduring quality of life is the magic of Comox today and tomorrow, and it is his legacy. To Yolonda and his entire family Condolences and thanks for sharing him with the entire community.”

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