City councillor John Lehners passes away

·2 min read

Grande Prairie mayor Jackie Clayton informed the public of the death of coun. John Lehners last Monday (July 18).

Lehners passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 17.

“Lehners was a long-time resident of Grande Prairie, a community leader, a friend and a colleague who will be dearly missed,” said Clayton.

Lehners, 59, leaves behind a wife and two children.

He was serving his first term on city council after being elected in last October’s election. He had previously served 20 years on the Grande Prairie Public School Board, nine as its chair.

“John will be remembered as a champion of causes, for his unwavering dedication to his community, and countless achievements over his life,” says his obituary.

Clayton said Lehners “fostered positive relationships across council to help guide and build Grande Prairie.”

Fellow city councillors posted their sympathies on social media.

“We shared plenty of laughs and stories and an easy guy to work with,” said coun. Grant Berg.

“John was also very intelligent, and no doubt was going to do amazing things for our city with a keen interest in renewable energy.”

Coun. Dylan Bressey said he last saw Lehners at the Crystal Lake Bike Park opening on July 14.

“He showed up on the big e-bike he rode around town. It wasn't really the right tool for the job, but he got out on the track anyways.

“He had a giant smile on his face the whole time.”

“He was laser focused on creating stronger organizations that would build a better community,” said Bressey, who also noted Lehners was not above cracking jokes that would lead to a “big, goofy grin.”

Chris Warkentin, Grande Prairie-Mackenzie MP, referred to Lehners as larger than life, a colleague, mentor, and friend.

“Our community has been shaken by his passing; he will be deeply missed,” said Warkentin.

Sexsmith mayor Kate Potter shared her sympathies, as did Wembley and the County of Grande Prairie council on social media.

“An engineer by trade, John created a successful engineering firm active throughout North America and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Peace Region Engineering Association for his many years of service,” said Clayton.

Lehners also served as the Swan City Rotary Club president in 1999/2000.

“Grande Prairie is a better place today because of the hard work and dedication John put into the many organizations and projects he helped complete,” said the Swan City Rotary Club.

A prayer service was held in honour of Lehners on Thursday, July 21, and a celebration of life was held the next day.

The city said by-election details will be available in August.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News

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