Huron East Council marks passing of Hawley, Steffler
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
After losing two prominent members of the Huron East municipal government family since council’s last meeting, Mayor Bernie MacLellan offered his thoughts as council reconvened for in-person meetings on March 23.
Lin Steffler, a long-time councillor and the Reeve of Seaforth prior to amalgamation and then Huron East’s first-ever Mayor, passed away on March 11. She was in her 75th year.
Jan Hawley, who had served as the municipality’s Economic Development Officer since 2008, passed away suddenly on March 16 at the age of 68. An outdoor funeral procession and small service honouring Hawley was held on Seaforth’s main street on March 22.
MacLellan said Steffler’s record as a municipal councillor and community volunteer was unrivalled. He also said she was charged with a tremendous job as the first mayor of Huron East, ensuring that amalgamation went smoothly, which was very complicated and nuanced.
He said Steffler was a champion for her community and, once she stepped away from politics, her involvement continued, working with the Seaforth Community Development Trust and other organizations. She was one of the driving forces behind the Gateway Community Health Centre, which started in Seaforth.
Regarding Hawley, MacLellan said he had a very supportive friendship with her during her time with Huron East. Often serving as a sounding board for new ideas, MacLellan said he and Hawley would talk often and it was always about how she could do something to better the Huron East community.
While MacLellan said he served as a colleague of Hawley’s over the years, he also knew they supported one another wholly. He said he supported her 100 per cent in her work and that she supported him 100 per cent as the mayor.
At public functions, he said, Hawley always insisted that he spoke before federal or provincial representatives, which isn’t normally done. However, a move like that is indicative of Hawley’s motivation, he said, which was to always put Huron East first.
MacLellan then called on Councillor Gloria Wilbee, who is also a lay worship leader, to lead council in prayer, after which there was a moment of silence for the two women.