By Ashley Janes / Photos by Lucie Roy
Morinville – The town of Morinville gathered together at the St. Jean Baptiste Church on Friday, July 5 to grieve the passing of Mayor Paul Krauskopf who lost his battle with cancer the previous Sunday at the age of 63. If you attended the service, you were part of the hundreds of family, friends, and townsfolk who streamed into the nave to comfort one another with happy memories of their mayor.
Krauskopf was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. Soon after, he decided to make his battle public in an attempt to comfort and support others who were affected by this disease. Whether people had known him as a town figurehead, a supportive friend, or a member of the family, on Friday they came from every corner of the community and beyond to say goodbye.
The ceremony began at 10:15 a.m. with a eulogy given by Stephen Dafoe and Joe Gosselin, friends of Krauskopf. As expressed in their speech, it is rare for one man to make so many contributions to his community. He served as a former volunteer and deputy chief in the Morinville Fire Department, as a past chair on the board for the Morinville Public Library, and was a long term member of the Knights of Columbus, all in addition to his time as councilor and mayor.
Krauskopf was first elected to council in Morinville in 1998 with 718 votes. When he was elected at the time, he told a reporter from the Morinville Mirror that he was “happy, relieved, and anxious to get at it.” His attitude towards his career did not change over the following 15 years. When he was re-elected to council in 2010, it was with 1,050 votes, putting him in second place among 10 candidates. Then, on November 13, 2012, he was chosen by council to serve as mayor agfter then Mayor Lloyd Bertschi resigned. He was sworn in shortly after on Nov. 27 by MLA Maureen Kubinec.
Indeed, Krauskopf served his community well, with the passion and dedication we all hope for from our representatives. However Dafoe and Gosselin asked that those in attendance remember him as more than a hard-working civil servant. He should be remembered as a complete citizen who dedicated himself entirely to both his town and his family. “The community was his home while this earth was lucky enough to have him,” Dafoe said, “and when Paul was at home with his wife, children, and grandchildren, he was content in a way that a man was when he truly loved his family.”
As the ceremony continued, it became clear that Krauskopf’s life had been full of close family and friendship. The mass was performed by Diocese of St. Paul Bishop Paul Terrio. When the funeral procession began leaving the church, people filed through the exits with love etched plainly on their faces.
Many wept quietly; saddened by their loss, but there was also a sense of joy and gratitude for having been fortunate enough to have known the man. From the church, the crowd of hundreds made their way to the Morinville Community Cultural Center for a reception in celebration of his life. And if love is the measure of a man’s success, then there was much and more worth celebrating over the life of Paul Krauskopf.