A day after his death, people were still coming to Jack Gareb’s office at the Schubert Centre looking for him.
They hadn’t heard the longtime, beloved, respected manager had died in Vernon Jubilee Hospital Tuesday at age 76, nearly two weeks after suffering a heart attack.
“We would sit them down in another office, tell them what happened then watch them wipe away the tears,” said Schubert Centre Society president Ed Howard Wednesday, himself choking back tears.
“Jack treated everybody the same, it didn’t matter if they were from the high road or if life was treating them rough. He treated you with respect. He was a great person and he’s really going to be missed by a lot of people in the community.”
Shirley Higgins is interim manager of the Schubert Centre.
Gareb was born in August 1943 in Golden. He attended high school at Vancouver College and received a baseball scholarship at Olympia College in Washington state.
He started in the hotel business in 1969 with Canadian Pacific, finding a great passion for his profession and working his way up the organization’s ranks. He becmae the general manager of the Chateau Lacombe in Edmonton in 1975. While working for CP, Gareb attended Cornell University, one of the best hotel management schools in the world.
In the 1980s, Gareb lived in Calgary and also moved back to Golden to become owner/operator of a busy service station/convenience store his father had owned when Gareb was a boy.
He arrived in Vernon in 1993 and became manager of the Schubert Centre in 1994, and he left a lasting mark.
“Jack’s generosity and compassion was well known by many individuals and organizations throughout Vernon and area,” wrote the family in a note to The Morning Star. “Jack’s legacy will live on with the fantastic standard he has set with the Schubert Centre, and all the hard work and persistence that put into getting Catherine Gardens (located beside the centre) built, and up to the first-rate standards that embodied everything he was associated with.”
In Vernon, Gareb met the love of his life, his wife Cheryl, and befriended so many other amazing people that touched his life as he did theirs.
And that was evident by the tributes that rolled in on social media as word of Gareb’s passing became known.
“Jack was a gregarious, hardworking and delightful guy. He leaves a hole in our hearts and in our community.” –Liza Judd
“He was a wonderful man and a true advocate for seniors in our community.” –Sarah Hanson
“He was my Schubert neighbour for 25 years in his time there and was a wonderful man who was dedicated to the community, a hole is left by his passing. Thank you for your service to us all Jack.” –Dawn Tucker
“Thanks for all you did Jack. He was a man who operated with integrity and purpose each time I interacted with him.” –Rick Windsor.
Gareb was an active member of the Roman Catholic faith. He served his parish in a number of capacities during his life; he was a fourth-degree member of the Knights of Columbus, and a longtime member of the St. James Parish finance committee.
As an expression of sympathy, memorial donations may be made in Jack’s name to the Schubert Centre.
The funeral service is Oct. 11 at the Pleasant Valley Funeral Home, at 4303 Pleasant Valley Road. Visitation and viewing is at 4 p.m. and vigil prayers are at 5 p.m. A funeral mass will be hled at 1 p..m. on Oct. 12 at St. James Catholic Church, 2607 27th St., Vernon and the burial service is at 2:30 p.m. at Pleasant Valley Cemetery, 4311 Pleasant Valley Rd. A celebration of life follows at 3 p.m. in the Schubert Centre.