Sad losses in our community

0
487

by Mayor Nancy Peckford

As Fall descends, our community has been grieving the loss of several individuals who were near and dear to so many in North Grenville. In early September came the news of the tragic and senseless death of Master Corporal Marty Brayman, just 32, who was born and raised in Kemptville, an enthusiastic hockey player and a graduate of St. Mike’s. MCpl. Brayman, who was highly respected for his dedication and skill, was on assignment with the Canadian Armed Forces in Panama City, Florida when he was violently assaulted at a social gathering. His passing came far, far too soon.

Just days later, we learned of another passing, this time of a formidable community leader, Pat Maloney who was also born and raised in Kemptville. In addition to raising three wonderful daughters with his wife Anita, Mr. Maloney contributed greatly to this community as Councillor and Reeve spanning a period of 20 years between 1971 and 1989.

Additionally, Mr. Maloney was pivotal in the establishment of the Kemptville Hospital, a game-changer for this town. He also founded the Kemptville Lion’s Club, and was a devoted organizing member of the Knights of Columbus’ annual Sweetheart Brunch (now in its 22nd year). North Grenville’s reputation as a deeply caring place is in no small part due to the efforts of Mr. Maloney, among so many others, who have understood how much stronger our community is when we take time for one another.

Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman, a key organizer of the breakfast event since the beginning, fondly remembers countless years where Pat would not only do several shifts on the floor, but entertain hundreds in attendance with music and song.

Around the same time of Mr. Maloney’s passing, Don and Mary Lou Munz unexpectedly lost their daughter, Laurel Peters, 65. The Munz family had re-located several years ago to North Grenville to be closer to their daughter, Laurel. Once here, Don Munz seized the occasion to lend much time and talent to supporting the revitalization of Kemptville’s downtown. The loss of Laurel has no doubt been very painful for family and friends.

Finally, North Grenville’s long- serving Bylaw Officer, James Petersen, suffered an unexpected and fatal cardiac arrest on Friday, September 28. Just 52 years old, Mr. Petersen had served as a Bylaw officer for 25 years, 20 of them in North Grenville. For the last five years, he had also volunteered with the North Grenville Fire Service and forged strong bonds with the approximately 40 plus volunteers who sign up to be on for emergencies, day or night.

Despite a demanding day job where Mr. Petersen encountered a lot of heightened emotions on the part of residents (for good or for bad), James was a loyal volunteer Firefighter who rarely missed a shift. It’s a testament to his dedication and deep love of this community that he added these new responsibilities in his later years.

Those who worked closely with James remember him as kind, attentive, empathic and funny. He had an excellent memory, and sought to be fair and respectful. Unbeknownst to many, James was also very creative in the kitchen and made delicious birthday and wedding cakes, without sweating the recipes. James always represented the municipal department of Emergency & Protective Services for the annual Municipal Chili cook-off and soup competitions. He took pleasure in his elaborate pumpkin carving creations for which he spent weeks, sometimes months, planning.

Many people knew James to drive a shiny bright blue Jeep which he fondly named the Cookie Monster, highlighting once again his good sense of humour, which was well appreciated, particularly on a tough day. No doubt, so many of these qualities shone through in his role as a devoted husband, grandfather, son, and good friend.

A Funeral Service is being held at the Municipality of North Grenville on Friday, October 18 at 11 am for Mr. Petersen.

As members of our community mourn and mark the loss of these individuals, we can take solace in the fact that our community has been immensely enriched by their unique journeys and contributions which are permanently woven into the fabric of this place. Life is indeed short, sometimes much shorter than expected, but the impact of a life well lived can never be erased or forgotten, especially here in North Grenville.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here