The Alberni Valley has lost a fixture in its local entertainment scene.
Former Valley resident Rob Mooney died after a head-on collision in Alberta on Sunday, Jan. 6. He was 53.
The accident happened on Highway 63 approximately 30 kilometres north of Wandering River, RCMP Const. Dan Fenton said.
Mooney was travelling south in a red pickup truck when he lost control of the vehicle and slid sideways into an oncoming northbound car. Mooney was pronounced dead at the scene while the driver of the car remains in hospital in critical condition, Fenton said.
The accident remains under investigation by both the RCMP and the Alberta Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Road conditions were a major contributing factor, Fenton said.
Mooney maintained a B.C. Driver’s License and seemed to split his time between B.C and Alberta where he worked, Fenton said.
Longtime friend Peter Wienold said he was stunned after getting the news about Mooney’s death on Monday. “We just chatted on Facebook a few days before. I still see his page but now he’s not there anymore,” Wienold said.
Mooney and Wienold were part of Portal Players Dramatic Society. Wienold first met Mooney when he did some work for his first business, a gas fitting company. Mooney also owned Pro Pacific Heating in Port Alberni.
Wienold remembers the first play the two acted together— Home at Six, in which Mooney played Wienold’s best friend and his wife’s suitor. “We only used one-syllable words throughout the play, it was really a silly piece,” Wienold said. “Rob was really nervous I remember, but he did a great job and we had a lot of laughs.”
Mooney was an industrious man who was there to help whoever needed help when they needed it, Wienold said. “He acted, built sets and was a really popular bartender,” Wienold said, adding that Mooney also played bass. “He’s really going to be missed as a club member and as a friend.”
Mooney left Alberni to work in Alberta approximately one year ago. He came back to Port Alberni periodically, and made it a point to make the rounds when he was here.
“He stopped in the shop last Christmas and we just shot the breeze. He always stopped in when he was around. He was a thankful and thoughtful man,” Wienold said. “His death is a loss to our community but especially a loss to anyone who called him a friend. I know I’ll miss him.”
Mooney is survived by his wife and daughter. A memorial service is being held on Saturday, 1 p.m., at the Chapel of Memories.