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Posted: September 15, 2022

Bud’s Bench honours a man’s legacy of giving

By Erin Knutson

Mayor Lee Pratt speaks to the large crowd gathered for the unveiling.

A crowd gathered to commemorate the legacy of a much-beloved man in the community and to present a token of its appreciation in the form of a bench at the Studio Stage Door Theatre in Cranbrook, on Saturday (Sept. 10).

Dignitaries, friends, family, musicians and well-wishers gathered in anticipation of the revealing of a long-awaited tribute to an exemplary volunteer who uplifted and inspired all of those he met.

“Bud (Abbott) received numerous awards, including Citizen of Cranbrook in 1992 and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 for outstanding achievement in the community. All in all, Bud was the citizen everyone wanted to emulate,” said Cranbrook Community Theatre Board President Peter Schalk.

Bud Abbott’s was a well-lived life, according to all who spoke at the unveiling of Bud’s Bench, a piece of modern art constructed by local artist Paul Reimer.

“Bud’s contribution should certainly not go unnoticed – this bench will remain a great tribute to his involvement and contribution to the city,” said Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt.

Others spoke on how Bud’s volunteerism positively affected their lives and the ripple effect of the gesture of giving back to people.

“I think I speak for all elected officials when I say there is a need to improve our community – you’ve all volunteered, and it makes the community strong,” said Regional District of East Kootenay Board Chair and Electoral C Director Rob Gay.

Guests enjoyed Reimer’s craftsmanship as the bench was carefully unmasked by Bud’s daughters Louise and Becky. The historic moment will symbolize community involvement and volunteerism while celebrating the heritage of the Stage Door Theatre building.

The bench features Bud playing his trombone, the life-sized black cast iron outline of his figure contrasting against the metallic grey of the bench. With a dedication to Bud, inviting all passersby to sit and enjoy some time with the dedicated volunteer and family man.

“He was a great listener, so he learned tons of things about different people – Dad had a great knowledge base and a real sense of purpose – everything he was doing, it was all volunteer work, seven days a week,” said daughter Louise.

The project’s organizing partners are the Regional District of East Kootenay, City of Cranbrook, Rotary Club of Cranbrook, Key City Theatre, Cranbrook Community Theatre Society, Cranbrook & District Arts Council, and the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce. Additional funding came from Community Foundations of the Kootenay Rockies, East Kootenay Community Credit Union and the Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary Club and Cranbrook Community Theatre Society.

Artist Paul Reimer

Lead image: Peter Schalk shares a laugh with Louise and Becky (Abbott) during the unveiling of Bud’s Bench at Studio Stage Door Theatre in Cranbrook last Saturday. Photos by Erin Knutson




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