“A man of integrity, sound in his thinking, clear in his values and willing to act on them.”
— Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said of the late Errol Black
The funeral of former Brandon councillor and Brandon University professor Errol Black drew a large number of mourners to the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium on Thursday afternoon.
Among the hundreds of people who came to celebrate the life of one of Brandon’s most renowned citizens were Greg Selinger and several former and current NDP MLAs, Brandon Mayor Shari Decter Hirst and most of Brandon’s councillors, several Brandon School Division trustees, a large number of union and labour activists, and many friends, peers and acquaintances from across the province.
There was much to say about the long-serving political and social activist. His friend Len Evans noted that following his 12 years on council, Errol was still writing and mentally engaged in his community until the end of his life.
Another longtime friend of Errol’s, Brandon and District Labour Council president Jan Chaboyer, noted that “Errol’s commitment and legacy to the city will never be forgotten.”
And Jim Silver, who was his friend, associate and co-author for nearly 25 years, called Errol a “man of the left,” who would be dearly missed by the community and the province.
All of these public facts about Errol Black rang true, of course, whether you agreed or disagreed with his politics. But what was most poignant about the service, in our opinion, was the private facts that the family offered to the litany of folks who were there to share their grief.
He was a dedicated East Ender who fought bullies, not only those he perceived in politics, but those more immediate threats to his friends, his community and his family.
He dearly loved those closest to him, which was made very clear through the video presentation of his life.
And through the speechs of two of his sons, Thomas Black and Dennis Black, and his granddaughter Kyla Shoemaker, we learned more about his humour, his courage, and the dignity and grace with which he faced his death from ALS.
It was remarked that he even did a little Irish jig upon his return home from the hospital last weekend.
We will long remember Errol Black as a humble scrapper from Brandon’s East End who offered this community his best and expected better from the rest of us.
Whatever our lot in life may be, may we do the same.