Eric and Helen Bysouth spoke with Times reporter Natasha Jones last year

Well-known community activist Eric Bysouth dies

Former Good Citizen of the Year had a hand in many Langley projects.

Eric Bysouth passed away on Saturday morning, after several months in hospital. He was  88.

He was a very active member of the Langley community for over 40 years, and was a recipient of the H.D. Stafford Good Citizen Award in 1993. Among his many activities over the years were involvement in the Langley Rotary Club, Valley Transportation Advisory Council, Langley Reunification Association and the Arboretum and Botanical Society of Langley. He was also involved in Scouting and as a volunteer with the YMCA.

He and his wife Helen celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary last year.

Mr. Bysouth served in the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War and spent many years working for the federal government. The Bysouths moved to Langley about 1970, and lived for many years on a picturesque property on 232 Street, with a tributary of the Nicomekl River flowing through.

While Mr. Bysouth was involved with the Conservative and Reform parties, his main interests were in the area of public policy. He was a prolific writer of letters to the editor, with his last letter to The Times published on June 14, shortly before he was hospitalized. That letter dealt with the issue of Canada’s fiscal position and how it was important for the federal government to keep the economy strong.

Even while in hospital, he was keeping up with issues that he had an interest in.

His letters often prompted response from other readers, and one published in March, 2009 prompted several. This is an excerpt of a letter from Don Woode, responding to an attack made on a Bysouth perspective by another letter writer.

“I don’t always agree with Eric Bysouth, but (letter writer) Ritchie is correct in one aspect of the letter. Eric is a legend, and not only “in his mind” as stated. He is a true legend amongst those of us who have been here a while, and know of his untiring contributions to this community.

“Without his efforts, McLeod Park would not be anywhere near the facility it is today, as he was instrumental in its early development into a comprehensive sports facility, from the rubble pile it once was.

“Without his efforts, the Rotary field house would not be nearly as large, as he was instrumental in obtaining additional funding. This older gentleman was even out hauling dirt by wheelbarrow and raking the landscaped areas.

“Without his efforts, Rotary Park (behind the Langley Crossing Safeway) would not have the facilities it has, as again Eric was instrumental in obtaining grants that assisted in the construction.

“And that is just to name three rather visible projects that he has been involved in. There are countless other projects in which he has had a hand, and for which this community owes him a thank you.”

Mr. Bysouth for about a decade issued regular report cards on the performance of Langley Township council, often causing council members to get agitated about some of his points. For some of those years, he appeared as a delegation to council to give his marks in person.

After selling their property on 232 Street about six years ago, the Bysouths moved to Langley City.

His family plan a private funeral service this week, with a public memorial service to follow at a later date.

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