Former Deloraine mayor Brian Franklin dies


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Former longtime Deloraine mayor Brian Franklin has died.

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Former longtime Deloraine mayor Brian Franklin has died.

The news was first reported by Hockey Manitoba on Thursday, an organization for which Franklin volunteered over multiple decades.

After working as a teacher for many years, Franklin joined the council for the pre-amalgamation Town of Deloraine in 1994. When it came time for the next election, he successfully ran for mayor, a position he held for 16 years.

Submitted Former longtime Deloraine mayor Brian Franklin has died.

In 2015, he was elected to the council for the amalgamated Municipality of Deloraine-Winchester, where he held the position of deputy reeve.

Current reeve Gord Weidenhamer described Franklin as a mentor and a friend, first getting to know him as his student before becoming his political colleague years later.

They reminisced about old times and worked together to solve problems.

“I might not have been one of his best students in school, but I certainly … listened [to] and respected him very well when he sat on council,” Weidenhamer said Friday.

“He was around for a lot of the growth in the community right from the early years of all-sports facilities, community improvements. He had a real interest in the hockey world.”

Weidenhamer described Franklin as having a strong personality, a “perfect” leader, someone who would speak his mind, and a good listener.

“It was a pleasure to work with him,” he said. “From my school days, I remember him as an honest teacher. He held you accountable for what you did.”

In the municipal elections of 2010, 10 Westman towns and seven rural municipalities acclaimed mayoral candidates and Franklin was one of them.

He had deep roots in the sports community as well.

He served as a hockey referee for decades, officiating the Canada Games in Brandon, two American Division 3 college national championships as well as in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

The Sun wrote in November 1969 that Franklin helped coach the Deloraine Colts to their first-ever Southwest High School Football League championship, a team for which he had previously served as the quarterback.

When it came time to hold a victory banquet in January 1970, Franklin managed to get Winnipeg Blue Bombers Dave Washington and Bob Houmard to help the team celebrate.

In 1975, he was one of two finalists for the Sun’s H.L. (Krug) Crawford Award.

“Brian Franklin is an educator who has more than just a passing interest in students and athletics,” an article on Dec. 24, 1975, said of his nomination. “He’s busier than the proverbial one-armed paperhanger, just ask anyone in Deloraine.”

Off the ice, he was vice-president of the Deloraine Minor Hockey Association from 1981 to 1987, and then became a key volunteer for the Manitoba AAA U18 Hockey League, where he served as secretary-treasurer, referee co-ordinator and president. In addition, he acted as treasurer for the Deloraine Royals senior hockey team for 25 years.

At a provincial level, Franklin served in a number of roles for Hockey Manitoba over 27 years. He was elected vice-president in 2005 and president in 2007, a role he stayed in until 2012.

For his service, he was recognized as the inaugural recipient of the Frank McKinnon outstanding volunteer award in 2015 and was an honorary life member of Hockey Manitoba. In 2021, Hockey Canada gave him its Order of Merit for his contributions to hockey.

According to Hockey Manitoba, Franklin was predeceased by his first wife Claudia and is survived by his current wife Val, children Tony and Carrie and five grandchildren.

», with files from Perry Bergson

» Twitter: @ColinSlark

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