For nearly 80 years, Stan Deckert was a pillar of the Linwood community and worked tirelessly to make it a better place to live for his friends, his neighbours and his family. On May 15 Deckert was finally recognized for his lifelong service to the Township of Wellesley by being inducted into the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame in the Community Builders category.
Deckert, who passed away in 2002, was inducted into the hall along with seven other individuals and two sports teams in front of more than 350 people at the Waterloo Region Museum.
Born in 1925 and raised on a farm on the edge of Linwood, Deckert was highly respected throughout the community for his dedication to the town and to the region through his community service and volunteerism.
His life included long-time leadership roles with the Linwood Lions Club, the park board and Snofest. He was also a volunteer firefighter with the Linwood fire brigade for 26 years, 15 of which were spent as fire chief. He also served on Wellesley Township council from 1973 to 1998.
Deckert also helped bring a community centre to Linwood in the 1960s, was instrumental in getting two ball diamonds – and lights – to the community, he helped find space for a new fire hall and library in the town, and was the driving force behind a sister-city initiative with Linwood, Michigan.
On the day of his induction his wife, Marion, was present along with their seven daughters, most of their grandchildren and even some of their great-grandchildren.
“That made it so special for mom,” said daughter Debbie Dietrich who accepted the award on his behalf. “Those are the generations that only hear stories, and you can tell them this and tell them that, but this brings dad back to life for that generation and proves to them why we were so proud of dad.”
Dietrich said that with her father’s passing back in 2002, the family had hoped he would have been recognized for his service to the community earlier, but for many years nothing happened. That is until Julie Schnurr, Wellesley Township’s representative in the Community Builders Research Committee, came across his name about two years ago and felt he was worthy of recognition.
“His contribution to the good of Wellesley Township was through his community service and it was exemplary,” said Schnurr, who has lived in Linwood since 1990. “It crossed all paths: as a councillor, as a volunteer, and in all of the fundraising he did for the town and the township. All of those things fit into the community service category for the hall of fame.”
Wellesley Mayor Ross Kelterborn began his career as a councillor the very same year as Deckert and said he respected him highly during their time working together on township matters.
“Stan was a truly township-oriented councillor. He thought township-wide, and was as interested in the south end of the township and the north end of the township as he was the east and the west, and he was a very fine individual to work with,” said Kelterborn.
“He was a gentleman [and] you could depend on what he said. He didn’t flip-flop, and if he did change his mind he would give you the reason why he changed his mind.”
That personal character is evident in one of the many personal stories that Dietrich shared about her father. She can remember back in the 1970s when Linwood was close to getting municipal water and sewers, and while Deckert thought it was going to be a wonderful thing for the town and wanted it to happen, he also knew most of his constituents were against it.
“I remember the night they had the vote and mom asked dad, ‘How are you going to vote?’ and dad said ‘I have to vote against it. The people I represent don’t want it so I have to vote against it,’ and that to me was what a politician should be, they should speak for the people they are representing, and that’s what he always did.”