By Alex Rinfret-Longtime Masset resident Nick Grosse, who served his community for half a century in positions ranging from fire chief to alderman to mayor, died in Vancouver on Sunday (June 26). He was 79 years old.
Flags were flying at half-mast outside the village office and council members held a minute of silence Monday night in memory of the former mayor.
Masset residents remembered a man who had been involved in almost every aspect of village life.
“Nick was just a huge supporter of anything going on in the community,” said village administrator Trevor Jarvis. “He’d slowed down in the last couple of years, but he still called me every couple of weeksÂ… He always had the community’s best interests at heart.”
Art Lew, the general manager of Haida Gwaii Community Futures, said Mr. Grosse brought a huge store of knowledge to the board, where he served for seven years, including a year as chair.
“He was a wonderful man,” Mr. Lew said. “He had a long-term knowledge of the islands and always brought that to bear.”
Mr. Grosse’s experience as a senior manager with BC Packers as well as other businesses was invaluable to the board, he added, as was his commitment.
“Nick would make every effort to show up to every meeting,” Mr. Lew recalled. “When he got involved, he felt he had to give everything.”
According to an outline of his volunteer activities, Mr. Grosse first got involved in community service in 1956, as a member of the board of the New Masset Credit Union. A year later he became secretary of the Queen Charlotte Islands Chamber of Commerce. During the 1960s, he wrote for two newspapers as a volunteer correspondent, and also spent many years as a radio commentator for CHTK during the 1970s.
He was first elected to Masset council as an alderman in 1968, and was elected mayor in 1974, a position he held for the next seven years. He returned to council for a year in 1995-96 following a council member’s resignation.
One of Mr. Grosse’s special areas of interest was health issues. He chaired Masset’s health care committee from 1984-2000. Between 1995 and 1996, he coordinated a fundraising effort which raised almost $80,000 for ultra-sound equipment for the islands.
But his interests were also wide-ranging, and during the past 10 years he also served as the chair of a wood processing school steering committee, as a director of the Greater Massett Development Corporation, as the president of the Masset economic development commission and as the chair of the Masset airport committee.
Council members said Monday that a service for Mr. Grosse would probably be held in Old Massett this coming Monday.
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