He’ll be missed by many.
Huntsville lost a prominent member of the community last month when Ross Kirwin died in the early morning hours of April 14.
To honour Kirwin’s memory, Rotarian Peter Redwood was before Huntsville Council at its May 24 meeting asking for permission to name the bandshell at River Mill Park, which Kirwin worked so hard to build, after him.
“He was a person I think most people around the table respected. We all honoured him. We knew that he did a lot of good. Our Rotary Club is certainly not the club we used to be with him gone,” lamented Redwood, who told Huntsville councillors that he considered Kirwin a friend.
Kirwin was a passionate individual who quietly worked hard behind the scenes to make Huntsville a better place while encouraging others to get involved. You could count on him, and there were very few community projects that he did not have a hand in.
Redwood told council that from the moment Kirwin and his wife Debbie moved to the community in 2003, he almost instantly began volunteering. “He’s just that kind of person.”
Kirwin was a board member with the Huntsville Festival of the Arts (HfA) for several years when he first moved to the community. He served on Huntsville’s economic development committee, and eventually joined the Rotary Club of Huntsville. “From the day he joined to the day he died, he was totally involved,” noted Redwood. “There isn’t a project that you can name where it doesn’t have Ross’s influence on it. He’s the kind of guy that could get things done and get people to cooperate and get people to help.”
Projects he was involved in included Rotary’s DockFest, the club’s annual auction, the HfA’s May Marche, and Huntsville’s Santa Claus Parade, to name a few. He also volunteered for several sports events.
Kirwin was also fond of the arts and bringing the community together. Creating a bandshell at River Mill Park was one of his dreams.
Very few people knew what a labour of love it became and the hours that went into getting that bandshell up. To raise money for the project, Kirwin used his ingenuity and sold donor bricks to raise the funds required to finish the project.
Redwood said the idea is to either put a plaque on the back wall of the bandshell or build an arch above it with Kirwin’s name on it that could not be easily vandalized.
He said it would be done at no cost to the Town.
Council unanimously supported the project and many councillors took the time to remember all the volunteering Kirwin had done to make things happen in the community with quiet kindness, stubborn determination, and humour.
Kirwin’s life will be celebrated at the Active Living Centre on June 11 from 2 to 5 p.m. “It’s going to be a good day. There’s going to be a free bar, so if you wanna have a drink on Ross, it’s an opportunity,” said Redwood, prompting smiles from council.
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