The former head of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District has passed away at 79.

Ken Gillis, husband of former Merritt mayor Linda Brown, died suddenly on Sept. 13.

A director for the TNRD since 2011, Gillis chose not to rerun for chair in the 2022 election after first being elected in 2018.

“I am so sorry to hear of the sudden passing of Ken Gillis, a passionate supporter of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District during his three terms as director for Electoral Area “L” said TNRD Chair Barbara Roden. “His four years as Board Chair (2018 – 2022) were marked by the pandemic, a horrendous fire season in 2021, and the forensic audit, but through it all, he provided a steady hand as he guided the board through a tumultuous time. I enjoyed working with him and hearing his many stories of a life well-lived, while his songs and anecdotes brightened many an informal gathering. He was a gentleman of the old school who will be hugely missed, and our thoughts are with his wife Linda, his family, and his many friends.”

Scott Hildebrand, the former CAO of the City of Merritt and current CAO of the TNRD, said that he was privileged to have worked with Gillis, and that he will “always remember his great sense of humour.”

The flags outside of the civic building in Kamloops have been lowered to half-mast in honour of Gillis.

The TNRD flag is shown at half mast at the regional district building in Kamloops. Photo/TNRD