Be it driving his beloved motor home to opening three landmark bars in Kamloops, Roy Baron was remembered Friday as someone who lived his passions.
A former RCMP officer, Baron, 70, could also be gruff and intimidating, sharing his thoughts without saying a word, said family friend Kathy Ross.
“He was very big man. He had quite a presence when he walked into the room,” said Ross.
“However, once you got to know Roy, he was a man of very few words, but he would speak with his eyes . . . You knew, by looking at Roy Baron, what he was saying or going to say.”
Baron died Wednesday in his Kamloops home after an 18-month battle with leukemia. A celebration of life is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at Cactus Jack’s Saloon.
Cactus Jack’s was the last entrepreneurial venture for Baron, who quit the RCMP after 13 years and started the Inlander Pub in Valleyview in 1975. He then opened Duffy’s Pub in Aberdeen in 1984 and Cactus Jack’s in 1986.
Son-in-law Duncan White knew Baron for more than 20 years and, during that time, his father-in-law never held “a regular job.”
“He’s such an entrepreneurial fellow that he’s always been able to do what he likes to do and have the businesses that he’s had,” said White. “He’s always had a great lifestyle from that perspective.”
That spirit even led to a short stint as a pilot with his own commercial air service, B.C. Central Air, and an unsuccessful MP bid with the Canadian Alliance in 2000.
“Whatever caught his fancy he would pursue,” White continued. “He had this ability to turn hobbies into businesses he had fun doing.”
Ross said Baron’s passions extended beyond business and onto the open road, where he and his wife, Joyce, would vacation via their motor home. These trips often including fishing.
She said he enjoyed driving so much that his friends and family joked he should drive for Greyhound.
Bryce Herman, chair of the Kamloops chapter of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association, was 18 when he met Baron. Herman ran a deli and provided sandwiches for the Inlander.
The two remained friends through the years, and would strike up a conversation whenever they met, said Herman.
“He’s a great guy. A straight shooter,” he said.
Baron was born in Edmonton in 1942. He is survived by his wife, Joyce, daughter Deneen, son, Murray, and grandchildren Justin, Sydney, Markus and Ryker.