Longtime community volunteer and supporter Owen Blake succumbed last weekend to ALS – Lou Gehrig’s Disease – in his short-lived battle with the ailment.
Blake died on Nov. 27 in Red Deer Regional Hospital, after less than two years since he was diagnosed on Jan. 21, 2009. He was 61 years of age.
“Owen was a great thinker, a trouble shooter, loved a good laugh and to be with people and worked hard for his family and community,” said wife Pam Blake.
“We knew his death was inevitable, but he died sooner than we expected.”
A funeral service will be held Thursday, Nov. 18 at Stettler United Church at 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to ALS or Stettler United Church or the charity of choice.
Less than two months ago, in late September, he launched a campaign where he helped manually distribute 5,000 envelopes to people in the community to invite citizens to donate to ALS research.
“I can’t tell people how to avoid or prevent this disease because there is no known cure,” Blake said in the Spotlight column where he was featured on Sept. 15, 2010.
“But what I can and want to do is raise funds for research.”
Blake was honoured as the 2009 Stettler Male Citizen of the Year by Stettler Regional Board of Trade and Community Development for his active service in the community since he and his wife moved here 39 years ago.
“Stettler has been very good to us and I hope I contributed a little something back to this community,” said Blake at the time.
He served as a member and volunteered in a variety of organizations that include Stettler and District Handibus Society, Stettler Health Services Foundation, Kinsmen, Stettler Legion, Stettler United Church, Citizens on Patrol, Stettler and District Food Bank, Stettler Housing Authority, Stettler Ringette Club, Stettler Homecoming 1980 and 2005, Bar Harbour Camp and Wilderness Village Camp council, a timekeeper for Stettler Lightning junior B hockey games, and served as Santa Claus for many years.