Tim Hurley is a teacher in Williams Lake and heads up the Columneetza Volleyball Club and has taken students in the club to Hawaii to gain skills and experience. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Tim Hurley is a teacher in Williams Lake and heads up the Columneetza Volleyball Club and has taken students in the club to Hawaii to gain skills and experience. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

OUR HOMETOWN: Williams Lake teacher still a big kid at heart

Tim Hurley loves working with people and found his niche in teaching and coaching

Tim Hurley admits he never really grew up.

“I’m a big kid at heart and I can’t stop that,” confessed Hurley, whose love for collecting vintage toys, collectible cards, and comic books led to his starting the Cariboo Hobby Con back in 2018.

He knew there were other collectors in the area who might appreciate a chance to showcase or sell some of their collections and thought it could help raise funds for the Columneetza volleyball club.

The physical education teacher, a son of two teachers, did not necessarily plan to return to the hometown where he grew up and did not plan to follow in his parents’ footsteps either.

Born in Trail, B.C., Hurley was brought to the Cariboo at about two and a half years old. He spent his formative years in Williams Lake, where both his parents worked in the school system. His dad taught physical education and journalism and his mom was a special education assistant.

“My mom and my dad were my best supporters,” said Hurley, of his indirect path to becoming a teacher.

He had actually dreamt of starting his own business, possibly a restaurant, and went to university to get a B.A., studying business and economics.

He had worked at restaurants and loved the social nature of the work. He had also coached for years, starting out with his sister’s soccer team in 1992, despite preferring baseball, hockey and golf to soccer growing up. “But I love coaching it, I love coaching anything,” asserted Hurley.

He was finishing his studies in the 90s, in what was a tough economic climate to start this type of venture. His parents had also encouraged him to have a “backup” and with his coaching experience and connections to the teaching community, he got on the substitute teacher list to try it out.

From 1996 to about 2000, Hurley substituted at schools across the district and was coaching throughout.

“I found a niche and I fell in love with teaching really quick,” he admits of following his parents’ advice.

Hurley then went to UBC to get a bachelor’s degree in education and returned to Williams Lake, where despite having reservations about coming back to his hometown, he is very happy he did.

After working as a substitute teaching during the day and working until close at the Laughing Loon Pub at night, he eventually landed a position in the school at Alexis Creek, and has been teaching in the Cariboo for almost 25 years.

He had a timber frame house built on South Lakeside in 2016, where he now lives with his partner, Regan Stanchfield, who he has known for 30 years.

The couple were old high school sweethearts, but reunited about three years ago.

Stanchfield was making plans to move away from Williams Lake, and Hurley happened to be going through a rough time. He reached out and the two met up.

“We never stopped hanging out,” said Hurley of the reunion. The couple now share their two daughters, Jenna Hurley and Emma Stanchfield and three dogs.

The couple also share a passion for the place they live, having started a business together they call Robin’s Nest, on South Lakeside.

Hurley said he always loved the outdoors, fishing, boating, gardening and mountain biking, all of which are easily accessible in the Cariboo.

“I’ve never been more grateful to be back,” remarked Hurley.

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