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Former councillors honoured posthumously, vacant seat filled by appointment

·2 min read

East Ferris council honoured recently deceased former members with respectful silence and words of appreciation on Tuesday.

Council members also unanimously followed through with their commitment to former deputy mayor Michel Voyer to appoint the first runner-up in the 2018 election to replace him. Voyer passed away Dec. 24 after decades of service to the community.

Dan Corbiere, who served on the municipal council for 13 years, passed away Jan. 19 at 86 years old. And Dennis Neethling, councillor for six years beginning in 2000 died Jan. 22 at 88 years old.

See obituary: Dennis Neethling

See obituary: Dan Corbeil

“It was an honour and pleasure to serve with both gentlemen,” said Coun. Terry Kelly. “They were dedicated and thought the world of East Ferris.

“I always knew their hearts were in the right place,” he said, adding they were “volunteers in the purest form of the word” because they served without seeking personal benefit.

Mayor Pauline Rochefort read a passage from Corbeil’s obituary to help describe his character and share his inspiring outlook on life. The last sentence suggests that fulfillment comes when a person works to “find a way to make the world a little bit better.”

Among Corbeil’s many contributions was his instrumental leadership to establish the East Ferris Cenotaph Memorial Park.

Rochefort also noted Corbeil’s foundational roots in the community as he was descended from a long line of East Ferris councillors with three family members serving as township clerks.

The municipal flag flew at half-mast to honour him Jan. 20.

Neethling served in the RCAP with a posting at 22 Wing before a long teaching career in Sturgeon Falls, North Bay, and Mattawa. He served on the East Ferris planning board for three decades as well as several terms on council.

See obituary: Michel Voyer

See: Terminally ill deputy mayor's wish granted

Filling the seat left vacant after Voyer passed away is former council member Rick Champagne, who is scheduled to be sworn in at the next council meeting Feb. 9.

Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca