Former Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce President dies from cancer

Rex Oliver was 71-years-old and served as chamber president since 2012

Former Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rex Oliver recently passed from cancer at the age of 71.

Oliver served as the head of the chamber since 2012 and was formerly the President and CEO of the Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce in California, a position he held for 10 years. According to the chamber’s Director of Marketing & Tourism Mickey Molnaire, Oliver was diagnosed with cancer last November and was undergoing chemotherapy for most of the spring until his passing. Molnaire declined to specify what kind of cancer Oliver had.

According to Molnaire, Oliver was from Winnipeg and loved the Northwest. She cited his great working relationship with the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association as well as the formation of Visit Bainbridge Island, a tour guide for what’s available on the island, as a couple of highlights during his tenure. Oliver was also very involved with the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island where he served as the lead organizer for the music at the annual Auction & Rummage Sale.

“He was very intelligent and very shrewd and he knew he was going to get people together and move stuff forward,” Molnaire said. “He was very diplomatic and he kind of raised some of the levels here. He ran the meetings a little more formally than most people would around here, but it was that element of professionalism he really wanted to make sure of.”

“He brought people together and was very generous with his time in terms of mentoring people. He made an impact for sure.”

In May, the chamber announced that it was looking for a part-time interim president and CEO, citing “the uncertainty in the economy and the reduced level of chamber operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We anticipate the position will return to full time in the future, at which time we will consider conducting an additional candidate search,” the newsletter from May states.