It was news that shook an entire town, an entire region.
When Mayor Bill Robertson passed on July 7, Okotokians uttered a collective cry of shock and grief.
The mayor of 11 years had succumbed to a cancer he kept hidden behind closed doors.
He is remembered fondly by members of the community and people far and wide as a devout servant of and champion for the Okotoks community.
Mayor Bill was always prepared to applaud a sports team, youth club or school group for their achievements; he was eager to be jailed or spend days atop the local Sobeys for charity; a former teacher at Percy Pegler, he was an advocate for all learning and loved to be involved in Okotoks schools, participating in literacy week, visiting classrooms, and having Grade 6 students take over council chambers to run mock council meetings.
His command of parliamentary procedure was unparallelled, his love for Okotoks and community unrivalled. Anyone who crossed paths with Mayor Bill was gifted a pen, a pin, a tattoo bearing the Town logo.
He was an avid volunteer and held a deep appreciation for service clubs and the work they do for the town and region.
Always one to have fun and make special moments for children, Mayor Bill was an iconic Santa. He thoroughly enjoyed Light Up Okotoks, entertaining the crowd and singing carols before lighting up the tree.
His loss has left a gaping hole in the heart of the Town of Okotoks. We have lost a teacher, a leader, a mentor, a champion, a friend.
The legacy of Mayor Bill is broad and his gifts and words of wisdom will never be forgotten.
In the words of his favourite poet, Robert Frost:
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
Rest easy, Mayor Bill. You have done your family, your friends and your community proud on this road you chose.