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Community members are mourning the unexpected loss of long-time community champion Ken Black. He died this morning, August 29, 2016, at approximately 8:30 a.m. in Bracebridge Hospital of heart congestion, said a source close to him.
Black served as a cabinet minister under David Peterson’s Liberal Provincial government between 1987 and 1990, representing this area, which was then referred to as the riding of Muskoka-Georgian Bay. A graduate of the University of Toronto, Black’s actual vocation was that of high school teacher. “He was the very first person appointed to the position of vice principal in about 1971. He was appointed Vice Principal of Gravenhurst High and there were no other vice principals in Muskoka at the time. It was a very controversial decision,” recalled former Huntsville Mayor and Huntsville Doppler commentator Hugh Mackenzie. “He was Principal of BLMSS in Bracebridge and later Principal at Huntsville High School. He once told me that he learned from that experience that Northern Ontario started at Port Sydney,” he recalled.
Black was also a Superintendent of the Muskoka Trillium District School Board. Many recall him as an ardent supporter of Muskoka, especially in matters of health care. He also served on the Board of Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare.
Although a dedicated Liberal, he had friends on both sides of the political spectrum and enjoyed sparring with them, recalled Mackenzie. “He had a dry sense of humour. He was a strong advocate for tourism in Muskoka. His brother Dr. Lyle Black was a well-loved Bracebridge physician who died in 1985. Ken’s son Greg was Campaign Manager for the Federal Liberal candidate (Trisha Cowie) in the last election,” he added.
Black has been a blogger and commentator for various publications in Muskoka – often expressing his views about education, health care and politics. “Today we lost a strong advocate for this area,” lamented Mackenzie.
A funeral service will be held Saturday, September 3 at 1:00 pm at Bracebridge Muskoka Lakes Secondary School. Full details here.
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