For the first time in 15 years the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce has bestowed two life memberships.
Ruth Shaw and Allan Bailey received their honourary memberships at a lunch Thursday.
Dick DeRyk presented Shaw’s citation.
“Ruth Shaw has been a tireless volunteer in our community, and promoter of Yorkton, its businesses and its organizations, for more than six decades. It is fitting that the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce recognize and honour her contributions today, a few weeks short of her 95th birthday,” he said.
Shaw came to Yorkton with her late husband Cliff in 1944 when he was appointed “the bureau manager of the Leader-Post. Their children, Doug and Karen, were born here, and both Ruth and Cliff were extremely active in the community,” said DeRyk, adding “After she lost Cliff, Ruth looked after news reporting and newspaper distribution of the Leader-Post in Yorkton until 1975, and I would suggest there are a number of people in this room who earned their first dollars being paperboys or girls for Ruth.”
After retiring from the Leader Post Shaw remained active in the city.
“On her retirement from that job, she became the manager of our Chamber of Commerce, and continued in that position until 1997,” said DeRyk.
“During those years, Ruth helped put Yorkton on the provincial map by chronicling events here, in an era when the daily newspapers still cared about what was happening in the rest of the province. Her work with the Chamber allowed her to continue to promote our city and its businesses. She was a member of the Rotary Club, and through the years assisted as a volunteer with just about every project and event that happened in the city.”
In particular Shaw had an interest in film.
“Notable was her contribution to the Yorkton Film Society, which evolved into the Yorkton Film Festival. Ruth is the last of the original founders of the film society, and on the occasion of her 90th birthday, her friends, family and the festival established the Ruth Shaw Best of Saskatchewan award, which recognizes the best film made in the province that has been her home all her life,” said DeRyk.
Shaw has been recognized previously for her community efforts. She was named Yorkton’s Citizen of the Year on July 1, 1989, and in October 1999, was the recipient of the Chambers of Commerce Executives of Canada’s Excellence Award for her meritorious service to the Chamber and community.
Chamber president Amie Zamonsky introduced Bailey for his award.
“Allan Bailey has been a resident, business owner and community volunteer since 1962,” she said. “Allan became a Licensed Funeral Director in 1955 and founded Bailey’s Funeral Home in 1963. The company also owns Yorkton Memorial Gardens and has Funeral Homes in Melville and Ituna. He served and continues to serve his profession in a variety of capacities including former President of the Saskatchewan Funeral Service Association.”
In terms of business Bailey was also instrumental in providing cable television to East Central Saskatchewan.
“Allan was instrumental in the application for cable television in Yorkton, Melville, Esterhazy, Canora and Kamsack which resulted in the formation of Northeastern Cable,” said Zamonsky.
Bailey was also active in civic politics. He was elected as an Alderman from 1965 to 1969, and first elected as Mayor of Yorkton in 1969. He held that office until 1976.
Like Shaw, Bailey has also been involved with the local Chamber.
“Allan served as a Director of the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce and was elected its President in 1967,” said Zamonsky. “He has also served as a Director of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. He served as the National Vice President of Canada Jaycees for two terms.”
Bailey’s volunteer efforts also paralleled those of Shaw in some regards, in particular being involved with the local film festival.
“Allan has had a profound impact on the community through his volunteer efforts,” said Zamonsky. “As a long time supporter of the Yorkton Short Film Festival, including serving as its Chair, Allan was named Festival Ambassador. He was a member of the Board of the Yorkton Union Hospital; a member of the Yorkton Public Library Board; spearheaded the formation of the Parkland Regional Library and served as its Chair for more than 25 years. Allan has also supported a variety of community projects including the building of the Anne Portnuff Theatre for Performing Arts; the development of a city bus transportation service; and the building of a sports and agriculture complex. Allan is an active member of the Yorkton Rotary club, the Yorkton Short Film Festival and the Yorkton Brick Mill Historical Society.”
Bailey’s contributions to the city and province were recognized in 2011 when he was awarded the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal.
Bailey said the life membership was humbling.
“I really appreciate that the community would recognize what I’ve contributed over the last 50 years,” he said, adding, “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
Asked what a highlight of his volunteer efforts was, Bailey said as a proponent of literacy he would rate being part of the effort to create the Parkland Regional Library as the “greatest accomplishment.”
Helping get the original Agriplex project approved through a plebiscite also warranted mention by Bailey.
Shaw, who is hard of hearing, requested that she not be interviewed.
Previous life members are; 1969 - Brigadier General Alexander Ross and Howard Jackson, 1974 - George Morris, 1975 - G.H. Howie Alberts,1991 - Stan Stephenson,1997 - Norman Roebuck and 1998 - Keith Harper, Winnie Spence and John Miller.