For­mer Heart’s Con­tent mayor Don Blun­don dead at 74

Spent 39 years on town coun­cil, 36 lead­ing the Trin­ity South mu­nic­i­pal­ity

The Compass - - News - Ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

THE COM­PASS

HEART’S CON­TENT, NL — A tire­less mu­nic­i­pal leader who served the Town of Heart’s Con­tent for al­most 40 years has died.

Don Blun­don, a re­tired high school prin­ci­pal who spent 39 years on coun­cil and 36 in the mayor’s seat, died Oct. 30 af­ter a lengthy bat­tle with can­cer. He was 74.

A na­tive of Bay de Verde, Blun­don moved to Heart’s Con­tent in 1967 to teach at Holy Trin­ity High School — he even­tu­ally served as the school’s prin­ci­pal be­fore re­tir­ing in 1993. Six years later af­ter he moved there, Blun­don was ap­pointed to the Heart’s Con­tent Lo­cal Im­prove­ment Dis­trict com­mit­tee. A year later in 1974, Blun­don was elected to the first coun­cil. He went on to be­come the town’s sec­ond mayor in 1977, and it was a po­si­tion he held for the next 36 years.

Early in 2013, Blun­don con­firmed to the Com­pass he would not be run­ning in the fall elec­tion.

“It’s time to step down and let some of the younger peo­ple come in and get a taste of it,” he said at the time. By 2013, Blun­don was also al­ready eight years into his bat­tle with can­cer.

Be­yond mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics, Blun­don was ac­tive in sports. He helped coach the Heart’s Con­tent Ca­bles to mul­ti­ple hockey cham­pi­onships in the Lower Trin­ity Con­cep­tion Se­nior Ath­letes As­so­ci­a­tion. Blun­don was in­volved with the lo­cal har­bour au­thor­ity and also a vol­un­teer board mem­ber with CBDC Trin­ity Con­cep­tion from 2000-2011.

Car­bon­ear-Trin­ity-Bay de Verde MHA Steve Crocker served on the CBDC board with Blun­don and was also his pupil at Holy Trin­ity High in the 1980s.

“I think Don ex­em­pli­fied ev­ery­thing you could ever de­sign as an ed­u­ca­tor,” said Crocker when reached by the Com­pass Oct. 31, quick to ad­mit he may have re­ceived a talk­ing to from Blun­don dur­ing his days as a pupil.

Crocker re­mem­bers his for­mer teacher and prin­ci­pal as some­one who was there for his stu­dents, re­call­ing in par­tic­u­lar the many hours Blun­don spent with his math class as a Grade 12 stu­dent.

“He would spend end­less hours af­ter school and lunchtimes tu­tor­ing any­one that needed help, and he was al­ways there for his stu­dents.”

As Crocker got older, he got to know Blun­don as a friend. Fol­low­ing his by­elec­tion win in 2014, Crocker re­ceived the odd phone call from Blun­don of­fer­ing en­cour­age­ment.

“Don was prob­a­bly one of the most re­spected peo­ple I think in the re­gion,” Crocker said. “Don made a great con­tri­bu­tion to the com­mu­nity in many ways, not only from the thou­sands of young peo­ple he taught … He was a pil­lar of the com­mu­nity.”

Tol­son Ren­dell, a town coun­cil­lor that Blun­don also coached in hockey, spent a dozen years with the for­mer mayor on Heart’s Con­tent coun­cil. Blun­don also taught Ren­dell’s chil­dren.

“It’s sad news in the com­mu­nity,” said Ren­dell of his for­mer coun­cil col­league’s pass­ing. “He’s put in quite a bat­tle for al­most 13 years.”

Ren­dell re­calls at­tend­ing a Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties New­found­land and Labrador AGM where Blun­don re­ceived a 30 years of ser­vice pin. The man who gave him that pin was Oliver Lang­don, the mu­nic­i­pal af­fairs min­is­ter of the day. It just so hap­pened Blun­don and Lang­don at­tended univer­sity to­gether.

“It was pretty touch­ing for me to be there with him at that time,” Ren­dell re­called. “Don was re­ally touched by that.”

While they did not al­ways see eye to eye, Ren­dell con­sid­ered Blun­don to be a man deeply com­mit­ted to his com­mu­nity and a great per­son to work with. Ren­dell re­calls a se­ri­ous wa­ter main break that co­in­cided with Blun­don’s 65th birth­day in 2008. The mayor and the rest of coun­cil had to work hard to deal with a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion, given it was the mid­dle of win­ter. The town was forced to de­clare a state of emer­gency.

“He was con­sid­er­ate to ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity and al­ways mak­ing sure things were get­ting done,” said Ren­dell. “That was a hard time, but we got through that thank God.”

Ren­dell last spoke with Blun­don in per­son dur­ing the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion this fall when the for­mer mayor cast a bal­lot in the ad­vance poll.

“He told me how Fred had just car­ried him up to vote, Fred Driscoll,” Ren­dell re­called. “He wished us all well.”

A fu­neral was held at St. Mary’s Angli­can Church in Heart’s Con­tent Fri­day, Nov. 3. In­ter­ment took place at St. Mary’s Ceme­tery in Heart’s Con­tent.

He was a pil­lar of the com­mu­nity.

— MHA Steve Crocker

PLA­CEN­TIA, NL – The South­east Play­ground Im­prove­ment Com­mit­tee’s splash pad project has been voted a fi­nal­ist for the 2017 Aviva Com­mu­nity Fund.

Aviva’s in­de­pen­dent judg­ing panel is cur­rently se­lect­ing the grand-prize win­ners with the an­nounce­ment com­ing on Dec. 5.

The splash pad project is in the run­ning against four other fi­nal­ists in the com­mu­nity health cat­e­gory and could win be­tween $50,000 to $100,000.

The splash pad would be added to the Wayne John Searle Me­mo­rial Recre­ation Com­plex, which was a grand-prize win­ner in the Aviva Com­mu­nity Fund in 2015.

The fi­nal­ists were se­lected by on­line vot­ing.

The Aviva Com­mu­nity Fund has been in­vest­ing in char­i­ta­ble com­mu­nity ini­tia­tives across Canada for the past eight years.

The South­east Play­ground Im­prove­ment Com­mit­tee’s splash pad project is a fi­nal­ist for this year’s Aviva Com­mu­nity Fund and could win up to $100,000. The grand-prize win­ners will be an­nounced on Dec. 5.

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