Longtime village reeve, Bill Dillabough remembered


His many friends and political colleagues were saddened to learn of the death of longtime area resident and longtime former reeve of the village of Morrisburg, Bill Dillabough on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, at the Ottawa General Hospital. He was 84.

Bill leaves his loving wife of 66 years, Phyllis and his children, Bill (Michelle), Gord, Penny (Al) and Wendy (Paul).

First elected as a councillor for the village of Morrisburg in 1971, Bill’s career spanned 20 years. After two years as councillor, he was elected reeve, a position he held for 18 years until his retirement from municipal politics in 1991.

He was the longest serving reeve in the history of Morrisburg.

In his youth, Bill was a talented hockey player and his love of the game continued throughout his life. He managed the Morrisburg Combines in the early 1960’s, and was a member of the Ottawa District Hockey Association and president from 1972-74. In 1978, he was made a life member of the ODHA.

In 1981, he was appointed to the National Advisory Council of Amateur Sports and Physical Fitness by Stormont Dundas MP Ed Lumley. He was reappointed in 1983.

In a 1981 interview with The Leader, Bill said a highlight of his career was when he was the 10th Morrisburg reeve to become Warden of the United Counties. 

He spent a very busy year as warden, with the celebrations connected to the SD&G United Counties Bicentennial. One of the activities included the opportunity for Bill and his wife Phyllis to meet Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip when they visited Upper Canada Village. His council at the time included Harland Veinotte, the late Karen Gorrell, Al Belanger and Bill Shearing.

During the 10th anniversary celebration of Old Home Week in 1980, as Mayor Bill participated in the “Dukes of Hazard” themed parade. It at that time that he was affectionately dubbed “Boss Hog”,  a beloved nickname that stuck, and one that he derived great pleasure from.

Dillabough told the Leader in the 1991 interview, that he didn’t believe in being involved in politics “just to be in it. It’s easy to criticize, but if you’re not involved, and not prepared to get involved, you shouldn’t criticize.”

In 1985, persuaded by Ontario Liberal leader David Peterson, Bill entered the provincial election as Liberal candidate for SD&G against Tory incumbent Noble Villeneuve. It was his lone bid for provincial office, and, he fared respectably well, garnering 7,037 votes.

Bill announced his retirement from municipal politics in September 1991. His council included, deputy reeve Peter McCooeye and councillors Dirk Testerink, Gord MacGregor and Peter Remillard.

Although he did not run for council in the 1991 election, he was acclaimed school trustee for the Village of Morrisburg and Williamsburg.

After his retirement, Bill’s love and interest for his community continued and in 2006, upon identifying a need in South Dundas that he felt he could fulfill, he made an unsuccessful bid for council.

Bill is known far and wide and was a true proponent of his Morrisburg community that he served faithfully for so many years.

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