Community booster. College professor. College builder. Friend.
Whitney Buggey was a lot of things to family and friends, and the former Okanagan College prof and director is being fondly remembered. Buggey died surrounded by family at age 79 on Aug. 27, nine days after his 56th wedding anniversary with wife, Patricia (Pat).
Buggey taught economics for 12 years at the Vernon campus before taking on the role of director of the campus in 1980 — a role he held for 18 years. He retired from Okanagan University College in 1998 after a career spanning 30 years
“Whitney was a big part of building Okanagan College and OUC,” said Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton, who taught alongside Buggey in the army barracks in Vernon, prior to the move to the current campus location. “As a professor, and as an administrator, he was a friend to staff and students, a mentor, someone who truly cared for the community he lived in, and — above all — a leader. We’ve lost a colleague, a friend, and a superb teacher.
“He inspired countless people over the years, including me, and I know there will be many people sharing stories and anecdotes of Whitney’s adventures and accomplishments in the weeks and months ahead.”
In 1991, Buggey and Pat founded the Whitney Buggey Scholarship, which in 2004 was re-named the Whitney Buggey Prize in Economics. Nine Vernon students have received a total of $5,250 from the award to date.
In recognition of his extensive contribution to Okanagan College, he was named one of the 50 people who made a difference during the college’s 50-year anniversary celebration in 2013.
The flags have been lowered to half-mast at the Kelowna campus in Buggey’s memory.
A husband, father of two, grandfather of eight and great-grandfather of one, Buggey was known for his dedication to the college and the community.
He volunteered his time and expertise to a host of community organizations, including the Vernon Rotary Club, Community Futures North Okanagan board, Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation of the North Okanagan and BC College of Dental Hygienists. He was also a founding member of the local Sage Investment Club and an original founding member of Predator Ridge Golf Resort.
“He was a very intelligent individual with a vision for the community and Community Futures,” said Don Main, who remains a Community Futures board member, and who served with Buggey. “He was dedicated, ethical and very amiable.”
Buggey loved writing and published two novels. He and Pat eventually became “snowbirds” enjoying an active lifestyle in Mesa, AZ. every winter.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, a donation in memory of Whitney can be made to Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation (www.vjhfoundation.org).
His full obituary can be found at https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/obituaries/whitney-buggey/.