I was asked to say a few words about Lorne and the work he did for the community where he resided in Edmonton. I got to know Lorne and the Larsen family about twenty years ago when Lorne and I both joined the executive of the Westwood Community League.
Lorne became president of the community league because no one else stepped forward, and to him the loss of the league and what it means to a neighbourhood was something that could not be allowed to happen. He often talked of the days when he was a child in Westwood, and all the great times he had at the hockey rink, or on the ball diamond.
When Lorne took over, his first job as president was to straighten out the mess with how the league was being run, setting up financial and booking practices which are still used today.
As president he attended many meetings, and was involved in many issues that effected Westwood, such as the Champ and Indy races, the sale of H.A. Gray school and its subsequent redevelopment, park land redevelopment, street traffic studies, land rezoning, group homes in the community, the 118 ave and airport redevelopments, dealing with the everyday business of the community league and, answering the everyday questions and concerns of the citizens of the community.
In addition to attending to the hall and its running. Lorne could be seen behind the scenes at many functions throughout the year. He was a key behind the scenes man, during the organizing and running of the 50/50 for many years at the Champ and Indy car races. He took time to stop by and see how the summer park program was doing every year, talking to the leader making sure that everything was being taken care of, for the children and the community league. He volunteered many many hours taking care of these and other programs.
Over the years he had dealings with city councillors, staff of the city administration and its various agencies and departments, with Nait, Vanguard college, Shepherds care, real estate developers and businesses within our community, the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues and neighboring community leagues and their presidents.
Lorne was the point man for Westwood, never afraid to stand up and be heard, ready to make the argument for the betterment of the community that he called home, doing so before the sub-divsion appeal board, city council and other bodies whose decisions could impact Westwood and its citizens. He made the position of Westwood known to all that listened.
He did not often come out on top, but he also did not often lose, as the final decision in many cases was a compromise of positions. So without Lorne speaking up and leading the fight, the final decision may have been even more in opposition to the community than what was rendered.
Lorne's belief in community was passionate, and his passion was contagious on others. He wanted Westwood to be a great place to live, and the Westwood community league to be its center.
He succeeded, Westwood community league survives to this day, largely because of Lorne.
We will miss him for who he was and what he did for us.
Thank you Lorne for your passion for Westwood.