When I looked at the obituary page in the March 7 edition of the DCI, smiling up at me was Jim Robertson, with all his enthusiasm and zest for living shining through, even on newsprint.
I was privileged to be one of the city managers who worked with City of Delta Mayor Jim Robertson.
He was a great mayor. He knew what needed to be done for Delta to be a well-functioning and beautiful city. He knew how to lead a council. Jim told me he once took two new councilmembers "out in the alley" (the alley between city hall and the Presbyterian church) and explained how city government works. He said the councilmembers came back in and got down to business.
My first week on the job Jim came in and told me, "Get that Gibson store in here. We've been trying for 10 years." And we did. Delta Hardware is in that location today. The land was zoned park land, with nothing on it but patches of alkaline. The citizens voted two-to-one to rezone the land commercial. Look at all the commercial development there today.
Jim and the council, two of whom are still in Delta — Bonnie Thompson and Gerald Roberts — said "get the design for the wastewater plant completed and the plant built." People enjoying the beauty of Confluence Lake today might be surprised to know that the lake used to be two large smelly wastewater lagoons. A couple of years later we celebrated the groundbreaking for our beautiful new biological rotating disc wastewater treatment plant.
Jim was also dedicated to and spent many years in the Delta Volunteer Fire Department. One special passion he saw visualized was the voters approving the building of the handsome firehouse at the corner of 5th and Grand streets.
He and his beloved wife Edra enjoyed 60 years of marriage. And Edra watched Jim living in great pain and discomfort over the past 10 years. Even the debilitating condition that he suffered during those years was the result of his sense of duty when, in 1972, he rushed in to start extinguishing a fire while the volunteer fire department was en route.
I look at Jim's picture and I can remember his hearty laugh, the spirit of all those funny stories, and the positive changes he brought about during his good, caring, productive life.
Bon voyage, Jim. We will miss you and the difference you made in our lives.
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