The Village of Radium Hot Springs and the Columbia Valley lost one of its most dedicated residents when Brent Frederickson passed away suddenly.
Brent was one of the founding members of the Village of Radium Hot Springs and served continuously as a councillor since its incorporation in 1990. He also served as either the primary or secondary delegate to the Regional District of East Kootenay Board of Directors during this period.
Former Mayor of Radium Greg Deck not only worked on council with Frederickson but also became close friends through the years.
“Brent as a councillor was very much like the Brent we saw at work or at play. He took the issues seriously, but never himself. He asked a lot of staff and his colleagues, but he was also respectful of them and not shy with praise. He had strong opinions, but he was also a good listener and capable of changing his mind if he heard a good case for it. He enjoyed visible, tangible results, and he made getting there fun. It was a pleasure working on council with a person like that, and I was very lucky,” Deck said.
Frederickson was also a well known businessman who worked diligently to help people in the community.
“Brent and I knew each other as young business operators, each starting out in Radium. We realized that our businesses were only going to do well if Radium as a community did well, so we both began to look for ways to contribute. We agreed with a group of local residents who thought that incorporation as a village would give Radium more tools to build the community, and we worked to promote that option. Brent and I enjoyed the kind of relationship that you can have in a small town where like-minded people find themselves doing a lot of things together,” Deck said.
He continued on to say that “Brent’s death would be a tough loss in a big community, where there are more people to look to for the kind of contribution that Brent made to Radium. In a small village, he leaves an enormous hole to fill. Those years of experience, the wealth of relationships with other people in business and politics: those aren’t easily replaced.”
Current Radium Mayor Dee Conklin also spoke of the influence that Frederickson had on the community and her personally.
“When describing a small town one always thinks about the characters that make up the town – the fire chief, the school teacher, the preacher, the mayor, etcetera – but one always knows that there is one person behind the scenes who actually “runs it” and knows all that is going on. In Radium Hot Springs that person was Brent Frederickson. When we moved here in 2003, we found out very quickly that Brent was the person to talk to when we needed to know anything or anyone. Brent was quiet and unassuming but told it like it was. His knowledge of the growth of the town, and the people in it, could never be duplicated by anyone. He became my mentor as I took on the role of mayor. He was so patient and supportive to me and I will miss his sage advice. Council meetings will never be the same with the empty seat beside me,” Conklin said.
The feeling of something missing was a sentiment also felt by councillor Clara Reinhardt.
“As a fellow councillor, Brent brought 20 years of experience from the beginning of incorporation to the community we have now. Again he exhibited enthusiasm for the community at every level and gave his time at every event. While also being very knowledgeable about operations of water and sewer, zoning challenges, development issues etcetera. Again there will be a large gap. He has touched every member of the community and will be missed,” Reinhardt said.
She went on to say that, “Brent loved his family very much and was very proud of his daughters and son, and was thrilled with his grandson. While his passing is a huge loss for the community, it is a much greater loss for them.”
Deck also talked about how he would miss Frederickson on many different levels.
“First of all, I’ve lost a good friend. Beyond that, I’ll particularly miss a colleague with whom I had a very long shared history. Along with other councillors and members of staff, we went through a lot together, and the memory of the struggles and the achievements is something I can only really share with a very few people, another one of whom is now gone. But my loss, and that of the village, pales beside that of his family, and while I am thinking often of Brent, my thoughts turn most to them,” Deck said.
In a message to the village, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Staff Sgt. Marko Shehovac spoke about how in the short time he knew Frederickson he saw what he meant to Radium.
“During my meetings with mayor and council since I have been here I got to know Brent. It became very clear that he had a great devotion, energy and enthusiasm for his community. He held himself accountable to the community and as a result did what he thought and knew was best for Radium. He also handed out praise when warranted. A pat on the back by Brent went a long way. Radium has lost a valuable leader and I know there will be an empty void for your staff, mayor and council,” Shehovac said.
Frederickson was described as a hard worker but also someone who loved to enjoy his time off.
Deck talked about how he loved to fish, and he had a passion for internal combustion engines, especially when they moved him down the road on a motorcycle.
He also added that above all, he was intensely proud of his family.
Conklin also wanted to send out to Brent’s family and all his friends “please know that the Village of Radium Hot Springs knows they have lost a great and extremely humble man, one who can never be replaced.”
There will be a memorial for Frederickson on January 29 followed by a gathering at Legend’s Field where fireworks will be set off in Frederickson’s honour.