Crossfield Town council member Devon Helfrich has passed away at the age of 32, according to statements from the municipality and his family.
On Jan. 11, Mayor Jo Tennant released a video about Helfrich’s death, on behalf of the Town of Crossfield.
“It is with deep and profound sadness that I share with all you that on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2020, Coun. Devon Helfrich passed away,” she said.
According to Helfrich's mother Elizabeth, he was born in Calgary but grew up in Crossfield, where he graduated from W.G. Murdoch School. He is survived by parents Calvin and Elizabeth, his brother Cameron and wife Stephanie, and Grandmother Elaine Bickle
"He also leaves a loving extended family and a community of life-long friends," Elizabeth said, quoting his obituary.
Elizabeth said Helfrich had a passion for politics and helping improve Crossfield.
"He truly loved the town of Crossfield and wanted to make a difference in his community," she said. "He enjoyed interacting with people and learning their story."
Helfrich was first elected to council in a byelection in June 2015. At 26 years of age, he was one of the Town’s youngest councillors in history, and ran on a platform that included involving the town’s youth with local government.
After two years on council, Helfrich was re-elected during Alberta’s municipal elections in October 2017, and was selected by his council peers to serve the first year of the term as deputy mayor.
According to Elizabeth, away from politics, Helfrich's passions included hockey, baseball and camping. She said he was an ardent San Jose Sharks fan and never missed a game.
He also loved to travel.
"Kalamalka Lake [near Vernon, B.C.] was Devon's favourite place to spend warm summer days with his lake family," Elizabeth said.
Throughout his five-plus years on council, Helfrich served on various boards and committees and participated in many of Crossfield’s community events. His bio on the Town’s website stated Helfrich served on the annexation ad-hoc committee, investment committee, the Town’s intermunicipal framework committee with Rocky View County and the Rocky View Regional Handi Bus Society.
“Despite many health issues, Coun. Helfrich continued to be a staunch promoter of all things Crossfield and was committed to our community,” Tennant said in the video. “On behalf of myself and council, thank you. Coun. Helfrich – you will be missed.”
A celebration of Helfrich's life will be announced at a later day, according to Elizabeth.