Owens named Citizen of the Year
By Jenn Watt
Published July 3, 2018
West Guilford volunteer and musician Kathleen Owens was this year’s recipient of the Citizen of the Year award at Canada Day celebrations at the West Guilford Community Centre on Sunday.
The annual honour was bestowed upon Owens for her commitment to the church and her community over the years.
Her nephew, George Cooper, gave out the honour and started with a speech detailing Owens’s life, starting in Maple Lake. She is the eldest of four sisters born to Elsie and Neilson Owens, Cooper said, and they were all there for her special day: Eleanor, June and Mavis.
The family moved away when their father found carpentry work in Barrie. Later, Owens took a business course in Toronto and then moved back to the Highlands, where she worked at the Frost Centre for more than three decades.
While she lived in the Pine Springs community, her “real home” was with Eleanor and Earl Cooper in West Guilford.
George Cooper called Owens an “extra parent” to the Cooper kids.
She’s been a steadfast member of the Maple Lake United Church, where she has played piano for decades. She has also volunteered at Extendicare and Highland Wood long-term care homes in Haliburton.
Aaron Walker, master of ceremonies at the Canada Day celebration, said the award was “very deserved.”
“Another shining example of all the amazing people in this community that volunteer to make it what it is,” Walker said.
Owens said being named Citizen of the Year was a great honour.
“I didn’t do any of these things all by myself; I had help. But I’m grateful to be part of this community and be associated with the Maple Lake United Church as long as I have,” she said.
As usual, celebrations in West Guilford included games and competitions, hot food and cold ice cream and fireworks to top it off.
Walker opened the event with a brief speech, asking those assembled to remember Earl Cooper, who played the pipes at the inaugural West Guilford Canada Day in 1981. Earl died in March.
“Today we honour and remember Earl Cooper and thank him for the example he set of volunteering in his community whenever called upon and for the example of good citizenship for all of us to follow,” he said.