Jeff Heuchert email@example.com
Stratford city councillor Paul Nickel has died.
Mayor Dan Mathieson confirmed the news to the Gazette Sunday morning.
The circumstances of his passing have not been released; however, Nickel had been battling an illness and had been on leave from all city business since early February.
He served two terms on council, where he was known for his straight forward manner and his sense of humour. His approach proved popular with voters; in the 2010 municipal election he finished with over 4,000 votes, the third highest total amongst all candidates.
"The city and of course Paul's council colleagues and staff are saddened to learn of his passing," Matheison said. "He was a very warm and gracious person. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word."
Nickel became principal at Holy Name of Mary Catholic school in St. Marys in 1980, where he served until moving to St. Patrick's Catholic school in Kinkora in 1993.
“He was one of those kids’ principals, where he loved all the kids,” longtime Holy Name secretary Judy Greason recalled. “They had great respect for him. He always put them first.”
Nickel was a great sports enthusiast who loved getting kids involved in athletics, she added.
Nickel died late Saturday morning. He is survived by his wife Cheryl and two sons, Andrew and Matthew, as well as his brother David.
In honour of the councillor, the flag on City Hall will be flown at half-mast and a book of condolences will be available to staff and members of the public who wish to pass their sympathies along to his family.
Sunday afternoon the city released the following statement:
"Paul's tireless dedication, commitment and passion for his community were evident in his years of public service. He was revered by many as a true gentleman, an exceptional educator and ?mentor.
"His time on city council from 2006 until his passing saw him take leadership roles and advocacy on many important issues that are and will be central to our city's economic, cultural and social future. His voice has been silenced, but his legacy and his memory will live on for us all, and for that we are truly grateful."