Tributes have poured in for long-time local politician Mary Glassford, who is being remembered for her many years of service as a community leader, strong advocate and friend.
Glassford, who served on Quesnel city council before being elected as the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) director for Electoral Area I (West Fraser-Nazko), passed away last week.
Glassford was awarded the City of Quesnel’s first Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
“Glassford is an exceptional community representative, both in her life as an elected official and as an advocate for many community projects,” the city said at the time of the announcement.
Glassford, who also wrote a column for the Observer, was a long-time chair of the North Cariboo Post Secondary Education Council and one of Quesnel’s leading proponents for post-secondary education. She was a big push behind the construction of the North Cariboo Community Campus in Quesnel. Among her many accomplishments, she also led the charge for a multi-centre in Quesnel, which ultimately led to the construction of the West Fraser Centre, and she worked tirelessly to improve health care in the region while serving on the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District.
At the Dec. 1 council meeting, Coun. Ron Paull expressed condolences to the Glassford family.
“As most of us know, Mary was a long-time regional district director, and she also served time at the council table,” he said. “Mary was a big part in the development of our recreation centre.”
Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes spoke about the mentorship role Glassford has played in her life, describing Glassford as “a titan and a compassionate leader.”
”She was someone I count as a mentor and a friend,” Oakes said in a Facebook post. “Strong-willed and dedicated to our community, Mary was a champion for advanced education who worked tirelessly on the North Cariboo Community Campus.”
Oakes was recently named the Opposition critic for advanced education in the B.C. Liberal Caucus, and she says she will think of Glassford and of her legacy and her commitment often in this role.
Steve Forseth, current CRD director for Area D, also posted a tribute to Glassford on his Cariboo-Chilcotin Politics blog. He got to know Glassford at CRD meetings from 2004 to 2008, and he says they stayed in touch through Facebook after he was elected tot he board in November 2014, and she often shared her wisdom in elected life with him.
“She was always very passionate about responsible resource development, like current Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb, as she felt strongly that responsible resource development projects would help to pay for things like hospitals, social programs, road projects, etc., and I was always inspired by her fortitude when it came to speaking for Electoral Area I, even when I knew only she could get away with being blunt with her fellow locally elected officials,” he wrote.
?Esdilagh First Nation Chief Roy Stump and councillors Chad Stump, Howard Johnny and William Baptiste also expressed their condolences to Glassford’s family.
“To say Mary was a big part of our community would be an understatement,” they wrote in a Facebook post on behalf of the nation. “She will always be remembered as a great speaker and advocate.”