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Community Loses a Trusted Voice with the Passing of Ian Paton Sr.

Source: The Delta Optimist, Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ian Paton Sr., an auctioneer, farmer and community advisor, died Saturday at Delta Hospital after being diagnosed with cancer four years ago. Paton leaves behind a legacy of community volunteerism and is warmly remembered for offering his expertise as an auctioneer at many charity events.

It was no surprise, given his profession, that Paton could talk a million miles an hour. Being able to think on his feet held him in high regard, and not just in the auctioneering world, but in many other aspects of his life.

Armed with an undergraduate degree from UBC in 1950, Paton gained prominence as a 4-H leader, an element of his life he was recognized for in 2000 by the PNE.

Married to Marjorie for 56 years, the couple had four children. He loved literature, leading a poetry group at Delta Hospital's extended care unit for many years.

A member of the Delta Hospital Auxiliary, Paton was active in the Masonic Lodge, Delta Farmers' Institute and, more recently, was a member of the Save Delta Hospital Society. "He was good at making suggestions and that goes throughout virtually all of his life, most recently as a member of the Save Delta Hospital Society," said farmer and former Socred agriculture minister John Savage. "He was always there. I certainly feel a big loss."

Mayor Lois Jackson, who's spent more than three decades in civic politics, said Paton's expertise and common sense approach was sought after. "People relied on his advice and counsel," she said. "We thank his family for allowing him to do the work he did in this community."

Jack Bates, president of the Delta Farmers' Institute, remembers Paton's contribution as a board member and chair of the Agricultural Land Commission. "Certainly in those early years it was a tough road to go down and try to convince people that we should be saving farmland instead of developing and building on it." Like many in the community, Bates attended Paton auctions. Bates remembers an auction when Paton was hired to sell assets from an American company closing its beet seed business in Ladner in the 1980s. "He was auctioning a grain combine. At the time the markets were depressed and it sold for $12,000. The manager stood up and said, 'I can't let it go for that,' and Ian Sr. said, 'Sir, I'll never have to deal with you again and I will have to deal with these farmers someday down the road. The machine is sold.'"

A community memorial service was held this Saturday at 3:30pm at the South Delta Baptist Church. Rev. Doug Graves of St. Stephen's United Church officiated.

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