Community members in Goderich are shocked by the sudden death of the town’s mayor who was a leader in municipal politics for more than two decades.
John Grace died after a boating mishap Tuesday on a lake north of Thunder Bay. The Ontario Provincial Police said they received a call regarding a capsized boat on Lake Saint Joseph at 11:00 a.m. The lake is located approximately 35 km south of the township of Pickle Lake.
Police said they arrived at the scene where they located the body.
News of the mayor’s death has left a mark in the town located 100 km north of London, with many people reflecting on the role Grace played and his commitment to Goderich. He was born and spent his life in the community.
“John enhanced the fabric of the town and enriched the lives of many, far beyond our community,” a statement from the town read.
Grace served as a councillor and deputy mayor for 17 years before being elected in 2018 as mayor. He founded and chaired the Huron Manufacturing Association and The Huron County Economic Development Board.
“John Grace has left an indelible mark on the Town of Goderich. He loved this town, this community where he grew up. He worked tirelessly to make it a better place,” said Jennifer Verdam-Woodward, the chair of the Huron Chamber of Commerce.
John was involved in rebuilding the downtown after it was hit by a Tornado in 2011. He was also involved in the creation of the Maitland Recreation Centre in Goderich.
“It’s tough to replace a guy like John. He had a kind of a bulldog mentality, with a nice warm way around him of getting people to see his vision,” said Myles Murdock, the deputy mayor of Goderich.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
Pickle Lake OPP are continuing to investigate the incident along with Ministry of Labour and Ministry of the Environment.