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Respected community leader dies

The St. John’s neighbourhood of Shea Heights is in mourning this week after the loss of popular community leader Harold Druken Sr., who died Sunday at age 63.

Harold Druken Sr.

Druken, often referred to as the “unofficial mayor of Shea Heights,” always proudly promoted Shea Heights and its residents and stepped forward in times of need to organize fundraising drives, promote economic development and even see a memorial erected to honour the war dead.

He also worked hard to rid Shea Heights — a St. John’s neighbourhood on the Southside Hills overlooking the rest of the city — of a reputation for toughness he said was undeserved.

He is also well-known for mentoring his son, Harold Druken Jr., during his early years as he developed into a professional hockey player.

Bridget (Bridie) McGrath is one friend who will never forget Harold Druken Sr., not just because she grew up and attended school with him in the community, but because when she was down and out after losing her home to fire in January 2004, Druken quickly stepped up to help.

McGrath didn’t have insurance on the old family home she had lost in the blaze.

“He came to me and said he was going to help get my house rebuilt,” she said. “He organized a fundraiser, and got other volunteers together to help with building the house. He was good to me. I’ll always appreciate what he did for me.”

McGrath said it wasn’t just her whom Druken helped. She noted there were many others in Shea Heights who found Druken standing beside them in times of need.

“There were more than me, many more. He helped whoever needed help. He would be the first one on the spot if anything went wrong,” she said. “People carried a lot of respect and honour for him. I guarantee you, he is going to be well missed.”

Harold Druken Sr. leaves to mourn his wife, Linda (nee Dodd); daughter Marion (Stewart); son Harold; grandchildren Wes, Bower, Ali and Jagger; sister-in-law Trudy; his extended family, close friends and the community of Shea Heights.

He is resting at Caul’s Funeral Home, LeMarchant Road. His obituary states that visitation will be held today from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Wednesday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Funeral mass will be held Wednesday at 3 p.m. at St. John Bosco Church, with interment to follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

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