Flags Lowered in Honour of Former Cobourg Councillor

In News

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Flags in Cobourg are being lowered to half-mast to mark the passing of a former Cobourg councillor who enriched his adopted hometown in so many ways,

Mayor Lucas Cleveland made the announcement Tuesday, marking the passing of Bob Spooner on Saturday at the age of 88.

He and his wife of 66 years, Beverley, came to Cobourg from southwestern Ontario when Spooner had the chance to get the job of purchasing agent with the Northumberland-Newcastle Board of Education office – though, as he recalled in an interview on his 60th anniversary, he had to ask where Cobourg was.

He opened his own store, Spooner’s Office Supplies. Then he won a seat on the school board and went to work at Lloyd McKeen’s car dealership.

“A politician and a car salesman,” his wife pointed out in the interview, spurring her husband’s recollection of a McKeen’s customer who came to him in a foul mood and remarked, “I hate car salesmen, and I hate politicians.”

“Well, you’ve got both,” Spooner told him.

Spooner was always so proud of his public service, which includes 19 years on Cobourg council (holding deputy reeve and deputy mayor positions as well as a council seat).

Former councillor and mayor Peter Delanty recalled him “as a person who had a passion for his family and his community. He never wavered in supporting and leading in community fund-raising drives or in leading the charge in a project that would make our community a better place to live and work in.”

As Mayor, Delanty had a progressive agenda and was pleased to find Spooner offering his wholehearted support.

“Both Bob and I worked with a small community group to stop the train whistles within the town boundaries,” Delanty recalled.

“Their complaint was that they could not sleep at night because of the train whistles. There are over 100 trains passing through Cobourg every day.

“We, along with town staff, were able to get the support of council and to get both the CNR and CPR on board. The result has been a positive one for the town and the residents who live here.”

Delanty also recalled the pivotal role Spooner played in ensuring that the outdoor artificial rink in Rotary Park was installed – a controversial issue, even though the provincial government was offering the town all the funds needed.

“He was the deciding vote each time the rink was voted on in council,” he said.

“I am forever grateful to him for his support on the issue.”

A passionate hockey player who always cheered for the Leafs, Spooner soon found his name becoming synonymous with local sports. An active member of Legion Minor Softball and a lifetime member of the Cobourg Community Hockey League, he not only helped organize their banquets and tournaments – he also umpired baseball games and coaching hockey teams.

And he went farther afield to share news from the Cobourg Cougars, Port Hope Panthers and Lindsay Trent Muskies on his CHUC-FM radio show, Spooner On Sports.

Spooner also offered his tireless support in fundraising for Pad 2, and for the community lights at Donegan Park and Legion Fields.

“He was ecstatic when we received word that Cobourg had succeeded in securing Federal and provincial funding for our Cobourg Community Centre in 2008,” Delanty recalled.

“Bob was the one who insisted that the main arena be a complete bowl, and we agreed to put that feature in the plans. Bob, of course, helped with the fundraising we had to do as part of our commitment.”

Retired Northumberland United Way Executive Director Lynda Kay said she could always count on him too. He always seemed to have an idea to pique interest – and bring in donations – whether it was dying his hair red, pedalling the exercise bike in public or walking from Cobourg to Port Hope on Highway 2.

“Bob was always up for a bit of a fun challenge, and to help raise money,” Kay said.

After many years of dedicated hard work, Spooner was deeply honoured to be awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

“Bob cared about Cobourg and always wanted the best for our town,” Delanty declared, extending condolences to the family on behalf of himself and his wife Suzanne.

“His community spirit made Cobourg a better place to live, work and play in, We are indebted to him and his passion. I will really miss his spirit and joy of life.”

The family is planning a celebration of life in his memory Sunday, April 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. at MacCoubrey Funeral Home in Cobourg, followed by a private family burial at a later date.

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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