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'Mr. Arnprior': Glenn Arthur dies at 72

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The town of Arnprior is mourning the loss of community pillar Glenn Arthur.

Arthur's death on Feb. 16 was described as sudden and unexpected. A cause of death is unknown.

Arthur was 72, and is survived by his wife, three children, and nine grandchildren.

"He loved helping," says his wife Kathy Arthur. "He loved helping the kids."

Arthur spent 35 years leading Arnprior's recreation department, and was integral in bringing in and running youth sports programs, seniors' activities, sports tournaments, festivals, parades, and public facilities such as ice pads and the pool.

"I always said, well, if anything happened to him, I would know that he died happy because that was his life, his work," Kathy Arthur said.

In retirement, Arthur was also a recognized volunteer, and had an arena at the

Nick Smith Centre named after him, as well as a day in Arnprior proclaimed in his honour.

Speaking with CTV News after receiving Arnprior's Volunteer of the Year award on July 1, 2023, Arthur said the following about what motivated him to help his community:

"Anything that can make people smile, in a nutshell. It doesn't really matter what it is. If you could do something to help people enjoy themselves and smile, that's really what it's all about."

CTV's Dylan Dyson speaks to Arnprior's Glenn Arthur on July 1, 2023 after Arthur was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award. (Arnprior Mayor Lisa McGee/Supplied)

Arthur's daughter Erin says the day after her father's passing she found herself drawn to the Nick Smith Centre for a local hockey game.

"I went to the arena, the Rivermen's game on Saturday night to work for the Nick Smith Centre. But I had to be where he was, where he is, and it was very nice to have people approach you and tell you their stories."

She says being around people, with children, and at the rink were what made her father happiest.

"My dad was my mentor, my hero, and the man I looked up to my entire life," said Erin. "I've said when I was a little kid and I'll say it today that when I grew up I want to be like my dad."

Filling Arthur's shoes as Arnprior's current Director of Recreation is Graeme Ivory.

"He was just the guy that took care of everything," he says. "So I guess whether you want to call him Mr. Arnprior or Mr. Everything, that was Glenn Arthur."

Ivory says he only spent a four-month transition period under Arthur learning the role, adding that picking up 35 years of experience in four months was impossible, but Arthur was always available for advice.

"His dedication, his commitment, his passion for his community, for family, it's something that I think all of us can aspire to."

Flags in Arnprior have been lowered to half-mast for the week, a move normally reserved for current staff or council members.

Arnprior Mayor Lisa McGee said Arthur's death is an exceptional circumstance.

"He was and he is in every corner of this community, his impact is felt whether you knew him or not. Your life in Arnprior was better because he was here."

A wake is being held Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Pilon Family Funeral Home in Arnprior from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (https://pilonfamily.ca/tribute/details/3166/Glenn-Archie-Arthur/obituary.html)

The funeral service for Arthur will be held Sunday, Feb. 25 at noon at the Nick Smith Centre in the Glenn Arthur Arena.

McGee says the service for Arthur may be the closest thing to a state funeral the town will ever see.

"The anticipation is that this town has probably never seen nearly as many people show up for a service and quite possibly may never again." 

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