Roy Wilfong began serving as a local school trustee in his mid-20s and was still looking after the needs of students until he retired at age 83.
Wilfong died Wednesday of renal failure at 85.
Wilfong first entered public life as a councillor for the hamlet of Ennismore when barely out of his teens. He later replaced his father as school trustee.
“He was always a modern trustee — he didn’t want things the way they used to be, he wanted things to be up-to-date and current for our kids,” said Cathy Abraham, chair of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board.
In his tenure as a school trustee, Wilfong saw the introduction of the metric system, an updated math curriculum, and French immersion.
His wife Ruth says Roy was seen as the trustee who knew all the answers, so the family got used to the regular flood of phone calls and Roy’s instruction to always get the caller’s number so he could call them back — which he always did.
“It was just unreal, the calls we got, people wanting to know different things and what they could do and couldn’t do,” Ruth Wilfong recalled.
When he wasn’t attending meetings or fielding phone calls, Roy Wilfong was a commercial printer. But he always made time for family: three children, seven grandchildren, and 10 great-grand children plus his extended family.
“He played piano — he would play and it was nothing for our family to have great-aunts and uncles and second and third cousins together, singing and dancing,” Wilfong’s granddaughter Elaine Bishton-Francis said.
Wilfong was instrumental in getting a new school, Chemong Public, built for the village of Bridgenorth in 1968.
Fittingly, his memorial service will be held at the school on Saturday, August 26.