Former Dawn-Euphemia mayor dies at age 83

Bill Bilton (Photo courtesy of Badder Funeral Homes)

A 37-year veteran of local politics has died.

Former Dawn-Euphemia councillor and longtime mayor Bill Bilton passed away Monday.

The 83-year-old became the municipality’s first mayor after being elected in 1998 following the amalgamation of Dawn and Euphemia townships and was Lambton County’s warden in 1992.

Bilton stepped down from his seat on Dawn-Euphemia Council in January before resigning last month due to health concerns.

Current Dawn-Euphemia Mayor Alan Broad said Bilton was a great man. The pair worked together for 32 years.

“Bill definitely cared about his community and I think one of the great accomplishments is when we got some town water into the municipality. That was a great relief for people who were having water problems. Bill will probably be known best for his time as warden when he guided the county through some difficult times.”

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said Bilton was always a gentleman, and excellent to work with.

“I had the opportunity in 1992 as the mayor of Sarnia to join county council the previous year,” said Bradley. “It was a very, very difficult time for the county and for the city. Bill was the warden in 1992. He was stable, he was a gentleman, he was a pleasure to deal with and we developed a really good friendship over the years.

“What would often happen at county council, because we were seatmates, I would predict a vote and he would have a different prediction and he would always be right. He understood the county very well and he loved the county so much as a farmer and as a politician. He was respected, he had a gentle sense of humour, he was sometimes quiet but he was a gentleman.”

There will be a celebration of life on Saturday at the Dawn-Euphemia Community Centre from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

-With files from Josh Boyce