The Chinook School Division lost one of their longest serving members on December 26th.

H.B. (Bernie) Ford passed away on Boxing Day during his 40th year as a Trustee with the Chinook School Division.

Director of Education for the Chinook School Division Liam Choo-Foo spoke about Ford's presence locally and provincially.

"Legendary would be a good way to speak of Bernie's trusteeship. He certainly was a big presence in southwestern Saskatchewan," Choo-Foo said Thursday morning. "People should also know he had a lot of influence provincially as well. There is a provincial group called Saskatchewan School Board Association (SSBA) that Bernie had a great influence with. One of his passions was also his work with high school athletics, he sat on the Saskatchewan High School Athletics Association (SHSAA) for a number of years."

He received a merit award from the SSBA and also a service award from the SHSAA. Ford was one of the first members of both organizations to receive these prestigious awards.

Ford was one of the original board members when Chinook School Division was created and was partly responsible for the hiring of Choo-Foo.

The Director of Education that worked alongside Ford for ten years reflected on his fond memories of Bernie.  

"Personally I will remember Bernie as a very direct, sometimes gruff personality. Once you actually got to know him had a huge heart and was always focused on the needs of children first. He was also a great advocate for equity and fairness, particularly for our hutterian students here in Chinook," Choo-Foo told Swift Current Online.

Ford was presented with a service award from the Chinook School Divison in October of 2016 for his 40 years of services in the school division.  

At the time Ford said he had many great memories over his terms, which had seen him serve under eight different Directors of Education.

One memory that comes to mind is the advancements in technology, and having to learn how to use each new device.

"It was something to see when the youngsters first got those calculators, to where we are today with iPhones, iPads and computers. Old people like me had to learn that - it was difficult, but I did," he said.

The first board meeting without Bernie serving on the board in over four decades will take place on Monday, January 9th at the Chinook Education Centre.      



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