A longtime New Brunswick MLA and cabinet minister has died.
Hazen Elmer (Hank) Myers, who represented the Kings East riding from 1978-1987 and 1991-1995, died on May 24 at the age of 86.
He served as agriculture minister in the latter years of Richard Hatfield's Progressive Conservative government.
"It was with sadness that I learned of the passing of former MLA and cabinet minister Hazen Elmer "Hank" Myers," said Premier Blaine Higgs in a statement posted on the province's website.
"To the family and many friends of Hank Myers, on behalf of the people and Government of New Brunswick, Marcia and I offer our sincerest condolences."
According to an obituary posted on Sherwood's Funeral Home website, Myers grew up in Norton, N.B., and entered politics after being elected to Sussex town council in 1977.
"After an election defeat, he served as an aide to a Member of Parliament, member of the Parole Board of Canada and Chair of Farm Products Commission," said the obituary.
"Once he retired from active work life, he dedicated significant time to the development and volunteer operations of the Agricultural Museum of New Brunswick and in his 80's was a volunteer literacy tutor."
Mayor remembers role model
Sussex Mayor Marc Thorne has known Myers since Thorne first moved to the area as a teen with his family.
"I first met him when our family moved here in 1970," said Thorne.
"Hank and his wife, Joyce, had their grocery shop right beside my father's business. So I got to know the family almost immediately after we moved here,"
Thorne worked on Myers's first campaign for MLA in 1977.
He lists Myers as one of the people who influenced his desire to get into local politics.
"Hank was one of one of a few who were involved in both provincial and municipal politics that I suppose did influence me because he was close to our family," said Thorne.
"I would have to say that Hank was probably an influence in my life in that regard."
While Myers was a popular MLA, he was voted out of office, along with every other Progressive Conservative, in the 1987 provincial election.
That election saw the Frank McKenna Liberals win every seat.
"I was absolutely stunned to see that every seat was lost, including Hank's, because Hank was held in such high regard," said Thorne.
"But then, Premier Hatfield was 17 years as premier and he carried it to the point that the province obviously wanted change."
But Myers was one of only three Progressive Conservatives to win his seat back in the 1991 election.
Thorne said Myers will be remembered as someone who brought dignity to politics.
"Hank was not one to be unkind to anyone, even the opposition, even in debate," said Thorne.
"Hank always showed a great deal of respect for everyone and I think he'll be remembered for that."
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, a funeral will be held at a later date.