Darrell Hubbell, the fourth of six children, was born in Invermere and grew up in the old asbestos mining town of Cassiar where his father worked as an oiler and heavy-duty mechanic in the mine.
His father discovered jade in the area and staked a claim on a rock slide with visions of getting rich cutting jade. This never came to pass; however, it was the start of Darrell’s passion of making jewelry.
Darrell graduated from high school in Ft. St John in 1974 just before the family moved to Woodpecker (near Hixon) and opened a very interesting rock shop of their own. He worked alongside his father and developed his craft over the next two years.
He first worked as a lumber piler, a labourer on highway construction and when he moved to Grande Prairie he logged and did sawmill work for the Proctor and Gamble sawmill, which is now part of Weyerhaeuser.
He got married in 1980 and had two children Edward and Andrew before separating in 1993.
In 1981, he moved to Prince Rupert and managed a jewelry store for three years; all the while maintaining his interest in making and repairing jewelry.
In 1984, he moved back to Prince George and opened his own jewelry store; 36 years later he is still owner and manager of his store Hubbell Designer Goldsmiths Inc. He is still successfully designing unique jewelry.
Darrell said, “In 1993, I was lucky and I met Diane. We went to see the movie Mrs. Doubtfire and we both laughed at the same time and at the same things. By the end of the movie I was totally in love so we got married in 1996.”
Diane Parent, one of the seven children of Romeo and Lillian Parent, was born in the old army hospital here in Prince George. She grew up at Fyfe Lake – near West Lake – and went to school in Prince George. After high school, she got married and had three children - Michael, Nicole and Yvonne – before separating after 20 years.
Her first job as a teenager was part time at the Super Way Cleaners. She worked at the old McLeod’s store and then as shipper/receiver for Shoppers Drug Mart until she moved to Fort St. James. She moved back to Prince George 10 years later.
Diane worked as a substitute teacher for nine years. She continued her education at CNC earning her honours certificate in developmental disability studies. She worked at AiMHi for six years in the care giving department until Darrell persuaded her to partner with him in their jewelry store.
Diane is a prolific and masterful gardener, winning the coveted David Douglas Botanical Garden Society garden contest in 2007.
Darrell and Diane have a blended family of five children and eight grandchildren.
They have both been willing to give back to their community - Diane quietly and Darrell through his extensive community volunteerism.
Darrell’s volunteerism includes serving on the boards of the Two Rivers Gallery, the Prince George Symphony Orchestra, the Downtown Rotary Club, the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, the Prince George Community Foundation and the Town Centre Business Association.
He is known for supporting local fundraising causes that include the Prince George Public Library, the Baldy Hughes Addiction Treatment Centre and Therapeutic Community, the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, Rotary International, the Prince George Symphony Orchestra, Ducks Unlimited, United Way, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, the B.C. Cancer Foundation, RCMP Victim Services, the Hixon Community Association, the Mackenzie Chamber of Commerce, the Prince George Chamber of Commerce and the Prince George Community Foundation.
He was named the Prince George Citizen of the Year in 2011.
The Prince George Chamber of Commerce recognized Darrell as their Corporate Citizen of the Year in 2004, 2005 and 2009.
Darrell summed it all up by saying, “We are totally aware that everything we have comes from our community. We have long ago adopted the idea of giving back to our community. In Prince George, if you put in you get way more back out.
“Our business is now 36 years old and some of my clients are the children of people that I made wedding rings for back in my earlier years.
“We are entering into the stage where owning a store is not how we want to spend our semi-retirement. When we eventually close the brick and mortar store I will still work in my shop at home. I love my work and my clients. In fact, my clients are the best people on the planet.”