EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was expanded with additional information and quotations on July 1.
By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – A community is in mourning after the news Morinville Mayor Paul Krauskopf has died. Krauskopf, 63, was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and continued to serve the community as councilor and subsequently mayor until his death June 30.
Debbie Oyarzun, the Town’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), released the news of the mayor’s passing. “With Paul Krauskopf’s passing, Morinville has not only lost its mayor, but it has lost a dear friend who was tireless advocate for Morinville, ” Oyarzun said. “Council, administration and staff are profoundly shaken by the mayor’s death and are deeply moved that his dedication to the community he called home for 63 years and the obligation he took on as mayor of that community endured until the end. Paul never stopped working for Morinville or its residents.”
Krauskopf was born and raised in Morinville and took great pride in his community. He was an active volunteer with many organizations, clubs and community initiatives, including the Knights of Columbus, St. Jean Baptiste Church Finance Committee and the Roman Catholic Parish Hall Committee. Among his many volunteer contributions, Krauskopf was a volunteer firefighter, serving as Deputy Chief of the Morinville Fire Department until 1982.
In his professional life Mayor Krauskopf was a Program Assistant in Special Education for the Sturgeon School Division, and remained a Board Member of the Alberta Education Attendance Board.
Krauskopf was first elected to Council in 1998 and was appointed mayor in 2012 during his fifth term on Council after then Morinville Mayor Lloyd Bertschi stepped down. As mayor, Krauskopf sat on the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, Sturgeon Foundation, as well as the Capital Region Board and its Housing Committee.
Deputy Mayor Lisa Holmes said Mayor Krauskopf would be deeply missed on Council. “Paul was an amazing leader as both a councillor and as a mayor,” she said. “He was incredibly well respected in the region by our partners on the Capital Region Board and was a tireless advocate when it came to issue like affordable housing. When he became Mayor, he worked hard to bring Council together and through that we were able to complete many important projects like the Coeur de Morinville ASP and the Functional Plan for Highway 642.”
Although Holmes was appreciative of the mayor’s efforts in his role of Council leader, it was his personal qualities that she will long remember. “He was a kind-hearted and patient man who embodied the belief that service is the most important part of the role of a Public Servant – always making time to speak to anyone who had a question or concern,” she said. “He was always there for myself and the rest of Council, helping to champion our ideas, celebrating our individual successes and mentoring us through the challenges. He will be greatly missed as our leader, our colleague and our friend.”
Councillor Sheldon Fingler, who was born and raised in Morinville, learned the kind of man Krauskopf was long before the two served on Council together. Fingler said although he did not recall the day he first met the late mayor, he did recall many chats when Fingler was a young disc jockey working dances at the Parish Hall and Krauskopf was overseeing the facility. “He would come in and what normally would be someone coming in to make sure the doors were locked, safe and secure, but Paul always stopped and took the time to talk,” Fingler recalled. “It wasn’t about positioning. It wasn’t about being better than somebody. It was about just a genuine care. He was a community guy that cared. He took the time to get to know people. Didn’t matter who you were or what you were doing; he took the time to get to know you.”
Fingler said he has been asked a couple times what he felt Krauskopf’s greatest accomplishments were, and has not been able to put his finger on any one thing. “I couldn’t think of one because Paul wasn’t about taking credit for something,” Fingler said. “That wasn’t his thing. It wasn’t the Paul show. What Paul was was a guy who was part of many good things, and that was his defining character. Paul’s accomplishment was his personality, his attitude, his behaviour, the way he treated his family, the way he treated his friends, the way he worked with people.”
Details on Mayor Paul Krauskopf’s funeral will be made available as soon as we receive word. Council is set to hold a special meeting early this week to appoint a mayor and deputy mayor from within the five remaining members of Council. That appointed mayor will serve until the fall election determines Morinville’s next mayor.