Golden Lake — He was a straight shooter and a people person. You knew where you stood with Harvey Reckzin, and he loved to chat with you even if you disagreed with him.

The retired road superintendent in North Algona Wilberforce Township passed away suddenly and unexpectedly early Monday morning of a heart attack. He was 75 years of age.

He was a man with strong convictions and was never afraid to express his opinions either on paper or in conversation. For many years, he was a frequent letter writer to the Leader, often challenging and criticizing government regulations and bureaucracy.

Mr. Reckzin and his wife, Jeannine, resided on the family homestead a few kilometres out of Golden Lake on the Lake Dore Road where he took great pride in keeping a neat and tidy property and enjoyed woodworking as one of his hobbies.

Former NAW Mayor Harold Weckworth worked with Mr. Reckzin for about 13 years and remembers him as a valuable and dedicated employee of the municipality.

“Harvey would always come to council and would be very vocal about the issues of the roads and how he could make them better,” he said. “He always came there and did an excellent job for the council.

“A lot of his comments would be in the paper,” he added. “He was old school. He always kept the ice off the roads and kept them graded well.”

Mr. Weckworth said Mr. Reckzin always had the ratepayers in mind.

“He was very economical, financially minded,” he recalled. “He didn’t waste any money and kept ahead of the curve all of the time.

“The roads were always in good shape when he worked there,” he added. “I thought he did an excellent job.”

He said Mr. Reckzin had the knack of being able to communicate well with contractors and the council of the day.

“He really stuck up for his employees and kept them in the loop,” he remarked. “He was very good at that. They did a lot of the repair work in-house. A lot of the guys were quite good at that. “He’d oversee that and let them do their thing. He had the township in mind at all times.”

He said Mr. Reckzin was never afraid to speak his mind, even with contractors when discussing road projects.

“He laid it on the line and didn’t pull any punches and treated everybody fairly.”

Mr. Weckworth recalled when Mr. Reckzin used to operate the Golden Lake Speedway on his property, saying he often attended the Saturday night races.

“He was always good at that. Very good with people and he seemed to be able to attract people.

“The stands were always packed when the cars were going around the track and everyone was enjoying themselves,” he added.

Former councillor Lorenz Kelo worked with Mr. Reckzin on council for approximately 10 years and he considered him to be very good at his job.

“He took Harry Brose’s place,” Mr. Kelo recalled. “He was a very good employee.

“He thought a lot of the township. It was always foremost in his mind to keep the township safe and everything in good shape,” he added. “And he was an excellent boss.”

Mr. Kelo said Mr. Reckzin was well-liked and respected by both council and the roads employees, adding he never heard a negative word about him.

“He was very thoughtful to the employees and put them first before anyone else,” he noted. “And he portrayed that to the council members.”

He fondly recalled how once a year Mr. Reckzin would recruit Mr. Kelo to drive a rented van full of the roads employees to the Good Roads convention.

“We let them bank time and Harvey made sure all that could go went,” he said. “We had to keep one back.

“It was in the spring and generally in Belleville,” he added. “He wanted them to see the new equipment and get their input into what he thought we could use.”

He described Mr. Reckzin as being very conscientious and someone he definitely enjoyed working with.   

“He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind to council or to people who were maybe critical and needed to be spoken to.”

He said Mr. Reckzin always made a plan five years ahead of what roads required work. He added when Mr. Reckzin would receive a call regarding problem, he’d phone Mr. Kelo and the two would go out and view the issue together, regardless of the location of the problem.

“We always worked together. He was very well versed in the roads; that’s all he did all his life.

“He worked for Henry Elie (brother-in-law) most of his life and he always kept the equipment up,” he added. “He didn’t want shabby equipment but he was always frugal too.”

He said if Mr. Reckzin could repair a piece of equipment rather than have to replace it, he’d repair it. He said he was always good at bringing requests forward to council from ratepayers.

“And he’d look at it (the situation) before he brought it to council,” he recalled.

He said Mr. Reckzin appreciated the council was responsible for the purse strings and he would try and do his best to save where he could.

Mr. Kelo was shocked to hear of his passing, noting the two had become close friends during their time together. He said they stayed in touch after their retirements and he had talked to Mr. Reckzin about a month ago.

“It’s a great loss to the community.”

He noted Mr. Reckzin was also the groundskeeper at St. John’s Lutheran Bonnechere church and cemetery.

“We’re gonna’ miss him,” he said.

The late Mr. Reckzin is survived by his wife, Jeannine (St. Louis), son Lance of North Bay and daughter Carmel of Renfrew. Also surviving are three grandchildren, Asha and Lura Panesar and Jonah Reckzin, and his only sister, Lois Elie.

A funeral service will be celebrated in St. John’s Lutheran Church, Bonnechere, on Friday at 11 a.m. followed by interment in the church cemetery.