Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

What is the Legacy of Bob Hartwell?

Posted by bhogg on April 24, 2010

I had the privilege of sitting beside Bob Hartwell for 3 years on Aurora Council. He was a gentleman. He was also a runner and tomorrows A&B Courier Run for Southlake is the evolution of the Bob Hartwell Challenge that was started 8 years ago to honour his contribution to our community. It is but one part of his legacy.

When talking about people, we often talk about the outcomes. Where they successful? Did they do great things? Bob did all of those things.

However, for me, Bob’s legacy will always be the way he treated people. He listened with great intensity to everyone who came before council. He treated each and every member of staff and Council with deep respect. Of that there is no dissent.

He wanted always to find a solution that addressed the needs of each person he represented. Sometimes that was hard. Sometimes it was impossible. Bob never stopped trying.

There were many issues where we disagreed. But none where we were disagreeable.

We argued our points based on the issues and never made it personal. We often shared a laugh — even as we disagreed. I hope the respect was mutual.

This legacy of behaviour is the one I recall more than any other aspect of Bob. It was what made Bob the person he was and led to everything else that forms his legacy in this community.

A couple requests.

Look for a way to contribute to your community. Maybe at the run, maybe something else that means something to you personally. But contribute. I guarantee you will get tenfold in return.

Secondly, create your own legacy of respect.

Lastly, to Aurora Council. You may have run on a platform of change from the “old timers”. For what it’s worth — those old timers knew the meaning of respect for people and treated everyone as a friend — even when they disagreed.

5 Responses to “What is the Legacy of Bob Hartwell?”

  1. I’m looking up info on Bob for mention in a book I’m working on. This blog came up at the top of the list. I’m happy to say that I did know Bob. I knew him at work, at play and on council.

    Bob was a ‘great guy’, a gentleman. The world lost one of it’s greats when we lost Bob . . . . even if I could NEVER catch up to him!


  2. Tyler barker said

    hi i just found this post when i was 12 Mr Hartwell came to my house he was running for council even at 12 i know he was a kind man i respected him and i have volunteered at the run many times and i still think of him i met him only 2 or 3 times but he made a big impact on me and many in Aurora thank you Tyler Barker

  3. Anonymous said

    I didn’t know the man personally. I just think it’s a shame if his name has been lost in the “re-branding” of this charity run.

  4. Geoffrey Dawe said

    It’s rather strange and disappointing that there have been no comments on this post!

    I also had the very great pleasure of knowing Bob Hartwell and working with him on a number of committees.

    He was a true gentleman in every sense of the word and certainly epitomized the word Respect!

    Sadly, it would seem that there are too few people who feel this is important – and I think that speaks volumes about our current state of affairs.

    • Richard Johnson said

      Hi Geoffrey:

      I did not know Bob but obviously he was well respected and well loved. I am also unaware of why the name of the charity run was changed but I assume that if those close to Bob and the race in question had an issue then they would speak up.

      When hearing of the name change my first assumption was that the change was the equivalent to Walmart coming to town. The big fund raiser on the block has just consumed a smaller local cause for their own advantage. At the same time, I’m sure we all agree that Southlake is a deserving cause which appears to be aligned with the fund raising principles of the Hartwell Run.

      As far as I know, the founders of the Hartwell Marathon may have agreed to this name change, therefore this is not an issue for me unless more information is brought to my attention. Having said all that, this name change certainly did leave me with a niggle and I trust that you and I can’t be the first ones to ask ourselves why the name of the run could have not been changed to “The Hartwell-Southlake Run” or some variation of that.


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