The Town of Pincher Creek is mourning the loss of Councillor Sussanne O’Rourke after she died from COVID-19 complications Dec. 18.
“Councillor O’Rourke was very passionate and very committed to this community,” Pincher Creek CAO Laurie Wilgosh said Friday.
“She was very clear that this was where she has lived for the past few years and this was where she intended to stay for the rest of her life.”
She was one of three councillors to contract COVID-19, along with one other town staff member.
Town officials say they have not been able to contact trace or find any answers yet about where the cases began, but did say they’ve been closely following Alberta Health guidelines and will continue to do so.
“It was very difficult and very worrisome that we had as many cases as we did in the town of Pincher Creek,” Wilgosh said.
A spokesperson for the O’Rourke family said in a statement to Global News:
“As she was in the community, she was at home. She loved her kids, grandkids, husband and dogs. Sussanne was an avid animal lover and never hesitated to spoil them.
“One of her favourite things to do was to go shopping, especially with her grandkids. Her grandkids didn’t have to talk her into buying anything. She liked going to bingo and meeting new and different people.
“Sussanne was a very passionate woman. She will be very much missed by her family and within the community.“
O’Rourke is also being remembered by colleagues for her advocacy for children and the most vulnerable in the community, and for her sense of humour.
“She had us giggling and laughing at the council table,” Pincher Creek Mayor Don Anderberg said.
Anderberg said Friday her death left many in the town office at a loss for words after the amount of time spent together across the council table and socially over the last few years.
“You become more of… well, a family, really,” he said. “We’ll miss her.”
Town officials will consider a potential by-election and discuss making a donation in her name to the humane society, where she volunteered regularly, at the next council meeting.