George Waldo, a feisty former mayor of Peachland in the 1980s and 1990s has passed away.
“It is with heavy hearts that we share news of the passing of George Waldo,” said a news release issued by the District of Peachland Friday.
It said Waldo passed peacefully earlier in the day, surrounded by those who loved him.
A resident of Peachland for 34 years, Waldo, distinctive by his bright red hair and red beard, served for three years as district councillor (1976-1979) before running for, and winning the mayor’s chair. He served as mayor for a total of for 19 years, from 1980 to 1994 and then again from 1997 to 2002.
“George was a colourful character,” said current Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin. “He did a lot for Peachland including securing the waterfront from public use.”
After he retied from politics, the district named a road after him, Waldo Way.
Fortin, as well as former Capital News reporter Judie Steeves, who knew Waldo and covered him during his years in office, said he was fiercely proud of his town and took special pride in wearing the ceremonial chain of office.
“I’m sure he wore it to bed,” joked Steeves, who described Waldo as a man who was very good for Peachland.
He played an integral role in the establishment of the Peachland Wellness Centre, as well as the building purchase. He was also mayor when the first phase of the sanitary sewer project was completed.
In honour of his time and dedication to Peachland, the district plans to fly its flag at half-mast in his honour.
A former school teacher, one of his former students, Lenetta Parry took to Facebook Friday to say a public goodbye to the man she said was more than a Grade 7 teacher to her.
“You inspired me and motivated me to always do better,” said Parry, now executive director of the Kelowna and West Kelowna Food Banks. “I worked so hard in your class cuz (sic) I wanted to rise to your standards. (You would have hated that I just said cuz. Lol)”
Parry said she remembers Waldo’s passion, his laugh, his love of his students, family, community and the school where he taught, Westbank Elementary.
“You were a leader and a mentor. You leave behind a legacy and you will be forever missed.”
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