A former two-term mayor of Weyburn and longtime community volunteer, Jim Brown, passed away on Jan. 2 at the age of 83 years. (This photo shows him at the time he was mayor in the early 1990s.)
“He was one of the greatest volunteers in the community,” said Nick Coroluick, who served with Brown on city council. “He moved into Weyburn before I was here, and was heavily involved as a volunteer with many organizations.”
Brown moved to Weyburn in 1959 after graduating from Notre Dame College with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He married Marion in 1961, and they raised four children together as Jim worked for Central Del Rio and PanCanadian Petroleum for 32 years, retiring in 1992. Their children include daughter Gayleen, sons Greg and Geoff, and daughter Glenna.
He was awarded the Golden Spike Award by the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce in 1983 for his volunteer services in the community, which included serving as president of Weyburn Figure Skating and of the Young Fellows Club, as well as serving with the Knights of Columbus, manager of McKenna Hall for 10 years, serving as chairman on the Weyburn Roman Catholic Separate School board for 21 years and vice-chair of the Weyburn Comprehensive board for nine years.
He first served on city council as an alderman from 1989 to 1991, and then ran for mayor, narrowly defeating Alex Miles to win his first term. He served as mayor from 1992 to 1994, and 1995 to 1997.
He was also active with the Elks Club and the Weyburn Special Care Home board, and was on the board that formed the first Weyburn United Appeal, later the United Way.
Coroluick was also very involved with the United Way, and recalled Brown and the late Rev. John Ferrier would often show up late to perform on stage at Communithon, sometimes in dresses.
“As long as he could get a laugh and raise awareness of the charity, he didn’t mind looking silly. He just wanted to help the fundraiser. That sense of humour was something that stood out to me,” said Coroluick. “He certainly wanted to improve the community in some manner.”
Brown also loved to recite poetry, such as “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service, at nursing homes and at fundraiser events, including at Communithon. At the Communithon held in October, a video of Brown reciting the poem was shown as a special feature for the fundraiser event which had moved back into the Legion Hall.
On council, Coroluick recalled that as mayor, Brown let the councillors who served on the various committees be the spokesmen for those bodies rather than himself.
“His style was to make decisions through consensus,” said Coroluick, noting that the process to begin planning the new fire hall and public works building started under Brown, and it was later finished by the next administration.
A former city treasurer, Stan Runne, also had many fond memories of Brown, noting he’s known him for over 50 years, having served in the Young Fellows Club together as well as later at City Hall.
“He was very involved with his church and the Elks, and of course the United Way. If there was something going on in the community, he was usually involved in it,” said Runne.
As a councillor and mayor, Brown loved to promote the City of Weyburn, he added. “I think he gave it his best, and was one of those people who loved people. He was a bit of a character as well.”
He noted that after his time on council, Brown wrote and published a book of clean jokes, many of which he told during the many community events he was a part of.
“Most people knew him because he was so involved in the community, and was a natural to be on council and represent the public,” said Runne.
“He brought a lot of joy and happiness to a lot of people. He loved the community,” he added. “He will be missed by many.”
The Brown family will hold a celebration of his life in Calgary, where he will be interred at a later date.