01/31/2016 18:34 EST | Updated 01/31/2017 00:12 EST

Former B.C. premier Bill Bennett's accomplishments celebrated at memorial

KELOWNA, B.C. — A former British Columbia premier is being remembered as a warm, witty man who helped guide the province out of a recession.

A celebration of Bill Bennett's life was held in his hometown of Kelowna, B.C., on Sunday, where friends and colleagues shared their memories of the man who helmed the province from 1975 to 1986.

Bennett died Dec. 3 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for several years.

Businessman Jimmy Pattison told the crowd that the former premier was a strong leader in a strong province who always treated the province's money with the same frugality as his own.

Politicians at the service included former prime minister Kim Campbell and Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon.

They spoke about Bennett's contributions to the province, including building the Coquihalla Highway and hosting Expo 86.

Current Premier Christy Clark called Bennett one of Kelowna's greatest sons and said he was a courageous, loyal man who refused to waiver from his core principles and had a undeniable love for B.C.

The Canadian Press