Bob Kellington named Brussels Citizen of the Year posthumously
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
The late Bob Kellington has been posthumously named this year’s Citizen of the Year Award winner for Brussels and the surrounding community.
Kellington had been a dedicated and active member of the Brussels community since returning in 2012 until his untimely death in May in his 70th year.
“Bob was always community-minded and ready to help. Through his leadership with the Lions Club, we conquered many projects and supported many worthwhile causes,” read a nomination submitted on behalf of the Brussels Lions Club by President Zoellyn Onn. “Bob was well known in town as a guy who would do whatever you needed. He was incredibly active with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, raising tens of thousands of dollars to support their programs and people in need.”
Kellington had also been a member of the Lions Club for several years and was an active member of his church community and the church’s choir, even organizing the annual Nativity event with great success.
Much of the work Kellington completed in the community was done with the help of his wife Marguerite Thomas, including their well-attended annual Canadian Foodgrains Bank lunches.
“The multitude of ways that Bob was present and dedicated in our town are well known. The familiar sound of his lawn tractor, his heartwarming wave and smile and his ability to find the good in any situation will be missed,” the nomination read. “As one Lions Club member said, ‘I didn’t know him well, but he was the kind of guy that made me want to know him.’”
After Kellington moved from Brussels to Stratford, he was very active in the community. He also took on missionary work in Haiti with his late first wife Nadine.
“When he moved back to Brussels to care for his elderly parents in 2012, his generosity continued, doing many kindnesses for others, including sharing his special toaster tongs and jar openers,” Kellington’s obituary read. “Bob had a beautiful singing voice, serenading Marguerite on their wedding day and singing for funerals and special occasions. He was an active member of the United Church and [its] choir, the Royal Canadian Legion, president of the Brussels Lions Club, caretaker of the Brussels Medical Centre and Brussels United Church, huge supporter of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, involved in the Brussels Leo Club fundraising, and more.”
Kellington was one of the Huron and Bruce County residents honoured in 2016 by Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson during her annual Remarkable Citizens of Huron-Bruce celebrations. Thompson would speak at Kellington’s funeral earlier this year.
In his later years, Kellington, along with Thomas, enjoyed gardening in their backyard, sharing their fruits, vegetables and herbs with neighbours and friends.
In fact, when Kellington and Thomas were married in 2016, they encouraged their wedding guests not to give gifts, but to donate to one of a handful of local charities. As a result, over $2,000 was donated to the Brussels United Church, the Brussels Legion and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s Fields of Faith project.
Kellington passed away as the result of a heart attack on May 22 in Kitchener. He was in his 70th year.
When The Citizen contacted Thomas to notify her of Kellington’s posthumous win, she said he would be very honoured.
Kellington had done so much for so long, Thomas said, so it was thrilling for him to receive recognition when he won Thompson’s award in 2016. This award, she said, would mean a lot to him.
“Winning that award just made him keep on giving more. He was one of the world’s givers,” Thomas said.
Thomas said just recently Kellington’s former church in Stratford made a donation to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank in his name. Kellington’s family, she said, is still pondering an appropriate way to honour his legacy. Thomas, however, did say that even posthumously, Kellington is a person who just keeps giving.
The Citizen of the Year Award winners are nominated by members of the community over the course of the year, with one award handed out in Blyth and one in Brussels every year. After the nomination period comes to an end, those names are then considered by the past five winners of the award, who then choose the winner. North Huron Publishing has proudly presented the award every year since it was founded in 1985, 35 years ago.
Past winners of the award in the Brussels area are: Cal Krauter, 1985; Wayne Lowe, 1986; Jack Bryans, 1987; Ida Evans, 1989; Bessie Johnston, 1990; Betty Graber, 1991; George Langlois, 1992; Howard Bernard, 1993; Joanne King, 1994; Frank Thompson, 1995; Audrey Cardiff, 1996; Leona Armstrong, 1997; Neil McGavin, 1998; Beth Earl, 1999; Lyle and Alice Brothers, 2000; Nelva and Spence Scott, 2001; Jo-Ann McDonald, 2002; Kathy Bridge, 2003; Jeff and Cathy Cardiff, 2004; Clara Blake, 2005; Phyllis Mitchell, 2006; Doug McArter, 2007; Nora Stephenson and Fran Bremner, 2008; Rene Richmond, 2009; Jim Prior, 2010; Cathrine Campbell, 2011; Jim and Lois Lee, 2012; Yvonne Knight, 2013; Dave Stephenson, 2014; Sandra Cable, 2015; Jean Davidson, 2016; Elaine Armstrong, 2017, Doug Sholdice, 2018 and Mary Douma in 2019.