The community will get the chance to remember Jack Contin during an event Friday in Midland.
From 6 to 9 p.m., a celebration of the Midland deputy mayor’s life will take place at the Quality Inn & Conference Centre’s main ballroom. Contin died suddenly Thursday at Georgian Bay General Hospital.
“Jack was a friend to all whom he met, a kind gentle soul, a man of honour with a keen wit and sharp intellect, and I will miss him dearly,” Mayor Bill Gordon says of his long-time friend and colleague.
Gordon said Friday’s celebration of life is an important opportunity for well-wishers to attend and remember Contin while sharing both their grief and fond memories with family, peers and friends.
“I expect a good turnout as Jack has touched many people over his many years in public service,” said Gordon, who is helping to plan Friday’s event.
“When reading the outpouring of emotion online, hearing from people by email and in person over the past few days, it affirms how loved Jack was and how many people cared about him and his family.”
Gordon said he expects a few hundred people to attend the celebration of life, which will feature a special dedication ceremony at 7 p.m.
Contin was born on March 2, 1952. He leaves behind his wife Judy, daughter Caitlyn, son-in-law Geoff, and two grandchildren Jack and Elle.
An obituary notes that Contin was “deeply connected to his roots, a proud Ojibway who navigated the challenges of the Sixties Scoop with resilience and strength. Despite the hardships, he dedicated his life to building a loving and supportive family.
“A true steward of the environment, Jack passionately advocated for the well-being of the Earth. His commitment to sustainability and community involvement was evident in his active role as Deputy Mayor. Jack believed in the power of collective action and worked tirelessly to make a positive impact on the world around him.”
Gordon said Jack, along with his wife Judy, who previously served on council and now helms Askennonia Senior Centre, have been long-time friends.
“I, along with many others, had encouraged him to run for election as deputy mayor in 2018 and I was elated that he and I would be working together for the next term,” Gordon recalled.
“Jack and I were aligned in almost perfect harmony on the direction that residents have asked us to take the municipality over the next four years. I’ve referred to Jack as my wing-man and our ability to work in tandem, both in Midland and at the County of Simcoe, on a variety of pivotal issues.”
Gordon said the pair shared similar perspectives on the new vision for Midland Bay Landing, the UNESCO Geopark aspiration, community growth, housing, homelessness, safety, culture and he credited Contin’s ability to bring a unique indigenous perspective to everything they worked on as something he'll dearly miss.
“In short, he cannot be easily replaced,” Gordon said. “His sudden death was a gut-punch for me, and while I mourn the loss of my friend and partner on council, I know his spirit will guide me as I continue to pursue, with my council, all the goals that we were asked to achieve by our residents, many of which we managed to significantly advance in our first year together.”