Monday, 01 September 2014, 1:39 pm

Lord Mayor leaves behind a legacy

Sean Tebbutt, Gail Dietsch and Pat Tebbutt hold a family portrait in their home in Niagara-on-the-Lake in late March. PHOTO BY KEVAN DOWDBy KEVAN DOWD
Staff Writer
Niagara-on-the-Lake is mourning the loss of former MPP and Lord Mayor Michael (Mike) Dietsch who died March 9, at the age of 72.
Dietsch, a life-long resident of Niagara-on-the-Lake, was known for his community involvement and lengthy political career in the region.
Dietsch served as an alderman for Niagara-on-the-Lake from 1976 to 1982 and served as the Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for the St. Catharines-Brock riding from 1987 until 1990.  He was elected Lord Mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1992, serving until 1997.
In a press release from the Town, current Lord Mayor Dave Eke expressed his sadness at the passing of Dietsch, having served with him while an alderman for the town in the early 1990s.
“He was committed to his family, his community and to the people he represented,” said Eke.
While in office, Dietsch convinced Niagara College to build its second campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake and in 1998 broke ground with Niagara College President Dan Patterson.
“Mike Dietsch was a great advocate for Niagara-on-the-Lake. He was also a great friend to Niagara College and was instrumental in the construction of our Niagara-on-the-Lake campus,” said Patterson. “His unwavering passion to public service and making a difference will be sorely missed.”
A plaque names a park in Niagara-on-the-Lake in honour of long-serving Lord Mayor Mike Dietsch in late March.  PHOTO BY KEVAN DOWD“I credit Mike with having a lot to do with Niagara College being where it’s located … in Niagara-on-the-Lake,” said Dietsch’s wife Gail Dietsch. Gail believes if it had not have been for her husband’s foresight and diligence, the campus would not stand where it does, adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth Way highway, off Taylor Avenue.
Dietsch leaves behind his wife of 52 years Gail, six children and 17 grandchildren.
His daughter Pat Tebbutt, 51, describes her father as having been a family man who always had time for his family despite his busy schedule. She recalls that whenever she had problems growing up she could go to him for logical advice and if he could not help her himself he would point her in the direction of someone who could help her.
“He touched my life in so many ways,” said Tebbutt.
Dietsch was well known in the Niagara-on-the-Lake community as both politician and resident. During his time as MPP, Dietsch wrote a newsletter so residents could be informed of their local politics, and made booklets so residents knew their rights. His reputation as a “community man” while in politics was reflected in his campaign slogan: “Keeping in touch.”
Tebbutt says since her father’s passing it has become more apparent to her how many lives he impacted. Numerous condolence cards can be found around Tebbutt’s home, some even hanging from a wire across the ceiling.
“I didn’t really realise how many lives he touched,” said Tebbutt. “He’s going to be missed a lot.”

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