Eulogies have always been a troublesome thing for me.
Conjuring up the right words at the right time is a literary exercise not to be trifled with. Mixed in with emotion is regret for having not said these words to the person while they were still alive.
Stan Vanden Bosch wasn’t a man who needed to hear these words to know his worth, however.
In fact, he did his best to not be on the receiving end of them publicly.
That was the nose to the grindstone type demeanour that Vanden Bosch effused during his time in this world.
His work was better served in the shadows, not to be cloaked by mystery, but rather to be free of the in-fighting that often becomes commonplace in community groups.
Better to do the work than to get bogged down by tinkering, and constant starts and stops.
Living this way would serve little purpose, and Vanden Bosch proved as much.
It’s the reason so many successes locally can trace roots to the family name.
There’s a sliding scale to the initiatives championed by the longtime farmer and his loving wife, Betty, but all of them got the same level of precise detail.
Today’s Winchester District Memorial Hospital gained its footprint not solely from the provincial government, but instead a tremendous groundswell of support from the community. The Vanden Boschs were there to lead a campaign that netted nearly $16 million.
Eric Duncan knew well enough to seek the advice of Stan and Betty before his run at North Dundas’ mayor’s chair. The Chesterville and District Rotary Club remains an integral force because the Vanden Boschs wanted it to remain that way.
The pair has also been instrumental in the success of the local Terry Fox Run, the Dundas Soil and Crop Improvement Association, the Dundas Federation of Agriculture, and so much more.
All of this beyond success with the family business, Vanden Bosch Elevators, and other ventures in the area’s agricultural realm. Some 30 years ago, the Vanden Boschs were an area first when their farm joined the province’s land stewardship initiative.
Politicians of all stripes have known to stop at the Chesterville property when looking for support or input, as have ag-industry representatives, both local and international.
If all of this weren’t a testament to what makes good communities, you’d be hard pressed to find more fitting examples.
These are the foundations built for the youngest among us to take on and continue. In sports, this is the equivalent to having the ball at the 10-yard line; from there, the end zone is in site.
He’ll never know it now, but Stan made a very green reporter feel at home a decade ago. Since that day on the family farm, he’s also taken the time to check in when our paths have crossed, and Betty isn’t far behind to tell me how cute my kids are.
It’s the little things, you know.
At his funeral last week, Christ Church United in Chesterville was overflowing with countless people who had the pleasure to know the family patriarch. For a couple of hours, the village was quiet out of respect for a man who gave so much to it.
Maybe he wouldn’t have liked that, but he was so owed.
In 2014, when the Vanden Boschs received North Dundas’ Community Builder Award, Stan took on a gracious tone, noting none of the work was done alone: “If we have helped in any way, the people of this community have made it really easy. This community is tremendous, and we’ve been very fortunate. We’ve had 52 years of marriage and of being business partners, and we’re proud of our family. Thank you to the whole community for what you have given us.”
No, thank you, Stan.