So, Richard Illingworth is gone and his space will not be filled. He was a remnant of a generation that no longer exists. He was what his life created.
He spoke often of his mother, a staunch, passionate, Toronto, Ontario, White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. During elections, she worked hard for what she believed and passed on her Conservative values to her son.
When the Depression came and his father lost his job, fourteen year old Richard became the principal family provider. His wage from five-and-a-half ten hour days work in a mill, was the family's sole income.
Young folk did not dwell much on what they wanted to do with their lives then. They took whatever work was available and considered themselves fortunate to be employed.
War came and broader experience presented itself. It ended and the need to work hard continued the same as before. It was a natural progression for him to become involved in local politics.
I first met him in a second floor meeting room on Yonge Street, Aurora. The late and former Clerk-Treasurer of the Town, Bill Johnstone was conducting a series of information workshop on the ins-and-outs of town business. We were both candidates that year.
Later, when we were members of Council, Richard was attending York University taking night classes in a business course...on Thursday evenings. He strenuously opposed council meetings on Thursday night. He was fifty-two years old when he joined the Ontario Civil Service. He didn't have long to build a pension.
He had no complaints. He was a man completely comfortable within his own skin. People who return from war tend to have a robust view of life. They know too well how different fate might have been.
He took each day as it came- continued his life-long habit of work and responsibility while enjoying gleeful opportunity wherever he found it. For ninety-two years he fully exercised his right to make his presence felt and impact his community.
Pretty much how his mother taught him. Right on until the end.