By John McPhee
The new year was barely a day old when Brockton suffered what has been described as “an amazing loss” to the community.
Clayton Gutscher, 67, died suddenly early Wednesday morning. He leaves behind stunned family members and friends as well as the realization that many will be needed to fill the numerous roles he took on as a volunteer.
Gutscher was the incoming president of the Walkerton Rotary Club where he also served as the chair of the club’s lottery project, chair of next month’s annual fundraising dinner, and was chair of the food committee for the 2014 Rotary district convention to be held in Walkerton.
Gutscher was also vice-chair of the Walkerton & District Hospital Foundation, where he served for the past three years and was a current director and past president of Walkerton Community Living.
“This is an amazing loss, it’s huge,” said Gerry O’Gorman, who served with Gutscher on both the Community Living board and with the Rotary club. “He was so quiet about what he did,” he said. “He didn’t want the spotlight, he just wanted to get things done.”
But, it’s perhaps Gutscher’s dedication and volunteer work for the Royal Canadian Legion Walkerton Br. #102 – where he spent seven years as branch president – that he had the biggest impact.
“The Legion would have been gone long ago if it weren’t for Clayton,” O’Gorman said. “He kept it going.”
Long time friend Tim Mancell, who served many years alongside Gutscher, in several committees, agrees. “Here’s a man who could not say ‘no’ to helping his community,” he said. “He kept the Legion alive and continued to work after stepping down as president.”
Mancell said many weren’t aware of Gutscher’s volunteer work. “His passing will have a huge impact on the community because he was so involved with everything. “These are huge shoes to fill,” he added.
Gutscher’s volunteer work also included being chair and co-founder of the Walkerton Community Foundation which used monies donated during the e.coli outbreak, for local businesses, organizations, projects, and student bursaries.
He was also chair and co-founder of the Walkerton Ratepayers Association, served one term on Walkerton council and was a past president of the Jr. C hockey team.
Rotarian past president Nancy Baillie said Gutscher’s volunteer work knew no end.
This past Christmas she dropped in to the Walkerton Legion to check on how things were coming along for the Walkerton Rotary Christmas party, which was being held at the branch. “There was Clayton in the kitchen by himself peeling potatoes and turnips for the dinner,” she said.
“He was a soft spoken, kind man, who got things done,” she added.
O’Gorman agreed. “He liked to get things done. He was a great guy, we are really going to miss him.”
He is survived by his wife Florence (nee Roberts) Gutscher of Walkerton. Dear brother of Ron, Gerry, Mervin and Joan all of Brant Township, Mike (Helen), Glen (Terry) and Leona all of Mildmay, Joe (Linda) of Walkerton, Betty Kroeplin of Chepstow and sister-in-law Mary Gutscher of Walkerton.
A funeral service was held Monday morning at Sacred Heart church.