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Len Bawtree receives tributes
Len Bawtree is being remembered as a political force and a strong advocate for agriculture and communities.
Bawtree, who died June 7 at the age of 90, served as the rural Enderby regional district director, Shuswap MLA and a board member with several agricultural organizations.
“He was very dedicated to public service,” said friend Ron Trickett.
“He was very outgoing when it came to the preservation of agriculture in the Okanagan. He was concerned about how agriculture moved forward.”
He was a founder of the North Okanagan Livestock Association and was a long-time director of the B.C. Cattleman’s Association.
When the Regional District of North Okanagan was created by the provincial government, Bawtree was the first director for Area F, rural Enderby.
In fact, he played a role in shaping the boundary of RDNO.
“Originally, the government had Area F in the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District and he pushed to have it in the North Okanagan,” said Earl Shipmaker, an Enderby councillor and former Area F director.
“He said, ‘Forget it if you’re not going to have it here.’”
Form 1975 to 1979, Bawtree was MLA for Shuswap, and his priority was trying to meet the needs of his constituents.
“He was a very good politician and well liked,” said Trickett.
“He was straight forward and a straight shooter.”
Bawtree was born in Enderby and he lived his entire life in the Mabel Lake Valley, where his family settled in the 1880s.
Hard work was common place.
“The area around the house was cleared with oxen, and over the years dad cleared more land and built it up quite a bit,” he said in a 2009 article in the Western Producer.
“I helped clear it too when I got old enough.”
During the Second World War, he was a decorated pilot, and once back home, he logged for himself and also spent many years at Riverside Forest Products.
Bawtree is survived by his wife Ruth, daughter Angela and son Leon, as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Riverside Hall in Ashton Creek.