Sunday, September 14, 2008

Flags lowered to half mast in Port Edward upon passing of former Mayor Ed Wampler

Another icon of the North Coast has passed away with the sad news that Ed Wampler, former Mayor of the District of Port Edward passed on at Prince Rupert regional Hospital on Thursday night

The tributes had been made about his lengthy community involvement on Tuesday at Port Edward council, as Mr. Wampler was named a Freeman of the city.

By Friday, the sad news of the passing of the former Mayor had been announced.

The long time Mayor of the District of Port Edward and fixture on the north coast political, business, community and social scene had been in ailing health for a number of years, but still had been quite active in the Districts and regions concerns in recent years.

The funeral arrangements were being made by the family over the weekend, with a public announcement expected early next week as to the details for his funeral.

The Daily News had printed a number of tributes in the Thursday paper and provided a notice of his passing in Friday's paper.

Former mayor passes away
The Daily News
Friday, September 12, 2008
Page one

Former Port Edward mayor and councillor Ed Wampler passed away peacefully overnight in the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital with his family at his bedside. Ron Bedard, Chief Administrative Officer for the District of Port Edward said everyone is saddened.

"The family will be making arrangements and will let the public know soon," said Bedard.
Out of respect for Wampler and his family, the district office lowered its flag and the Port Edward Lion's flag first thing this morning and closed up the office for the afternoon. See Monday's Daily News for more.

Colleagues hail ailing former mayor Ed Wampler
By Patrick Witwicki
The Daily News
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Pages one and two

Over the years, Ed Wampler has become synonymous with Port Edward.
So it's only fitting that now, Wampler's legacy will also be remembered not only by the district, but the entire North Coast after he became a "freeman" of the city.

Mayor Dave MacDonald made the announcement at council Tuesday night.

"This is something we're going to do for Ed," said MacDonald. "It's basically the keys to the city."
Wampler originally lived on the North Coast back during the Second World War, after he was stationed in Alaska. Wampler was born an American, originally from Pitcairn, Pennsylvania.
But he moved back to Port Edward just in time for the district to celebrate its official status in 1966, and has been an intricate member of the community ever since.

Making Wampler a "freeman" of the city ensures that no one will ever forget what Wampler has done for the area, said MacDonald.

"At a later date, when we get a new subdivision, we will name a road in his honour," said MacDonald.

"He taught me a lot, and I owe him a lot."

Wampler, unfortunately, was unable to attend the meeting due to health reasons.

Wampler has been involved with Port Edward politics for more than 20 years. He originally started as councilor, and then moved into the mayor's chair in 1993, a seat he held until he decided to step down in 2005.

At the time, Wampler had wanted to retire from politics, but the people of Port Edward convinced him to stay on as councillor for one more term, which would come to an end this November.

But Wampler has also had his struggles with health during the past few years, including in 2003 when he had to have his legs amputated. Since then, Wampler has been chugging around the North Coast with his new prosthetic legs, and has still been able to make his voice heard at various council meetings.

Council was quick to announce their approval of MacDonald's announcement, all agreeing how much Wampler had done, not just for Port Edward, but the North Coast in general.

"He does a lot of service in the community, and really deserves this honour," said Coun. Murray Kristoff.

Coun. James Brown added: "he took me under his wing, and put me in my place when I deserved it. I learned a lot from him."

Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond was in attendance for the council meeting as a spectator and requested the opportunity to speak as well. Pond, of course, has worked closely with Wampler during the past few years on various endeavours, including attempting to revitalize the North Coast economy. And Pond said Wampler is not only well known locally.

"I want to recognize Mayor Ed - he'll always be Mayor Ed to me - and congratulations to the district of Port Edward for doing this.

"For example, to give you an idea (of how respected Ed Wampler is), some of us were down in Vancouver, and I remember us pushing Wampler down the street (in a wheelchair), and this big black car pulls up beside us, and out jumps Gordon Campbell, and he says, 'How's it going Ed?'"

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