Friends and family mourn the loss of Dave Cathers 

Search and Rescue pioneer volunteered with many Whistler groups

click to enlarge DAVE CATHERS The founding member of Whistler Search and Rescue passed away at 3 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1.
  • DAVE CATHERS The founding member of Whistler Search and Rescue passed away at 3 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1.

Dave Cathers was someone who always had your back.

A founder of Whistler Search and Rescue (WSAR) the long-time local could be counted on stay calm and get the job done, whether it was working to save a life or working on community projects.

Cathers, 66, passed away last weekend in Lions Gate Hospital following a long battle with cancer.

"All of us will miss the great strength that he brought to each of our lives," said Brad Sills who saw Cathers as a great mentor and friend.

The WSAR team called him "Citizen Cathers" and Sills said his kids called him "Coach Cathers."

A memorial is being planned for October.

"Life is short," said Sills. "Dave's was much too short."

Rick Crofton, a friend of Cathers dating back to 1976, said his friend marked 35 years of marriage this year adding that he and Cathers both had kids that were the same age.

Crofton and Cathers were Cub leaders together. Cathers had four sons and often volunteered in many of the community activities his sons took on.

"If they were in Cubs he was a Cub leader, if they were in hockey he was a hockey coach," said Crofton.

Said friend Drew Meredith: "My best memories were family related when our two families would do ski vacations together.

"...(We) went for years together to Silver Star with little kids. We would rent a cabin on the hill and our two families would go and we'd ski our brains out for a week. We had a great time."

According to Meredith, Cathers had a heart of gold and would help anybody.

"He's the type of guy that if you were ever shipwrecked or lost on a mountain top, you'd want him with you because he's unflappable," said Meredith. "He would just get to work solving the problem."

In November of 2007, Pique reporter Alison Taylor asked Cathers why he dedicated 250 or more hours a year to the WSAR program both in training and in calls.

"Anybody can put themselves in a position like that, where you go out and hurt yourself," Cathers said. "And it's always nice to know that there's some sort of resources that might come out and get you."

In addition to playing a key role in setting up Whistler Search and Rescue and volunteering with the Boy Scouts and minor hockey Cathers was also involved with baseball. He was a volunteer firefighter, a member of the Whistler Health Care Centre planning committee and a former Citizen of the Year. As part of the 1999 Whistler WinterStart Festival Cathers and three others were recognized for their commitment to Whistler by the WinterStart board members.

WSAR is marking its 40th anniversary with a fundraising dinner on Oct. 13, the annual Wine'd Up. Cathers will be missed, by those attending the winemaker's gourmet dinner and auction to be held at Dusty's.

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