Former Hagarty and Richards Township reeve passes away

WILNO – The community of Wilno is mourning the loss of former Hagarty and Richards Township reeve Alex Shulist.

Shulist passed away at St. Francis Memorial Hospital on his 95th birthday.

He was born on July 12, 1919 in Wilno. While he did not serve overseas, he was involved in the Canadian military, training in places like Cornwall, Ontario.

Eventually, he traded in his uniform to start a business in Wilno called Alex Shulist Forest Products in 1956.

Alex always had a love for politics and became reeve for Hagarty and Richards Township in 1957.

He stayed in that position for 27 years, working as reeve consecutively until 1984. During that time, he served as warden for the County of Renfrew for one year, which was typical in that time, in 1979.

On April 10, 1980, Alex and his son Arthur started the business Wilno Building Supply, which is still running strong today.

Alex retired from the business when he was 88 years old, taking the time to focus on his wife, six children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“He would still go there, sit and shoot the breeze,” Alex’s granddaughter, Debbie Peplinskie, remembered.  

Peplinskie followed in her grandfather’s footsteps and has been a councillor for the amalgamated Killaloe-Hagarty-Richards Township for the past 14 years. She will be running again in hopes of securing her fifth consecutive term on council in the upcoming municipal elections.

She clearly remembers the day she told her grandfather she would be running for the position.

“It was at the church dinner in Round Lake that I told him,” Peplinskie told the Gazette. “He put down his fork, grabbed me by both his hands and said he was so happy that somebody in the family was following in what he did.”

Get your July 16, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read more of this story.