Alice Stamper, a one-of-a-kind dynamo who always seemed to have a smile on her face, who was never afraid to be honest and devoted a big part of her life to volunteering, has died.
“Heaven has gained a powerhouse,” noted the Facebook Page of the Orillia and District Agricultural Society (ODAS Park) where Stamper volunteered for more than four decades.
Stamper, 87, died Wednesday after a hard-fought battle with cancer.
In 2018, Stamper was awarded the Order of Orillia, which recognizes residents “that enrich the lives of others through a decade or more of service and serve as shining examples in our community.”
Stamper embodied the award like no other.
She volunteered for 40-plus years with the Canadian Cancer Society, the Girl Guides of Canada, and the Ladies Auxiliary of St. Luke’s Church.
If something was happening in the community, she was there, always willing to help. Over the years, she helped with the Santa Claus parade, the Scottish Festival and Canada Day festivities in addition to the Orillia Lynx Squadron.
Her smiling face and no-nonsense approach became synonymous with ODAS Park. She tirelessly worked with youth and patrons at the Roller Rink and also played a key role coordinating food concessions and volunteers at the Orillia Fall Fair.
In addition, Stamper was a valued volunteer at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital for almost a quarter of a century.
“I remember her consistent approach to ‘doing some good in this lifetime’ right through from my early years meeting her as one of my Brownie/Girl Guide leaders, through my teen years at the Roller Rink, and into my adult years right up until recently - either at the rink during Kiwanis Auction days or at the hospital as she volunteered,” said Marni Van Kessel, who works at the hospital.
“She was such a wise woman and wonderful role model,” said Van Kessel. “When she spoke, you knew she meant what she said and that it came from her heart with the best intentions for everyone involved.”
Long-time local volunteer Kate Palmer, a fellow Order of Orillia winner, agreed.
“Alice was an amazing woman,” Palmer wrote on the ODAS Park Facebook Page. “She touched the lives and hearts of so many people. A wonderful person and volunteer who will be missed by the entire community.”
City councillor Pat Hehn knew Stamper for almost 60 years.
“She was part of my life forever - close to 60 years,” said Hehn, who added Stamper was “one of a kind.”
Hehn said she first met Alice when she was a Girl Guide leader with her mom and they camped together.
“Alice kept in touch over the years. I am so pleased that the City of Orillia honoured her with the Order of Orillia last year,” said Hehn, noting the dynamic volunteer will be “sorely missed.”
The 2020 Orillia Fall Fair will not be the same without Stamper. The fair was a labour of love for Stamper, who spent countless hours organizing the popular annual event at ODAS Park.
On Facebook, Tyler Wallis shared fond memories of working with Stamper.
He recalled one year when Stamper “took a fall in the field” during the fair weekend and broke her wrist.
“She went home and came back in the next day. We had to have a volunteer drive her to the hospital to look at it. She didn't want to miss the fair,” said Wallis.
When Stamper was presented the Order of Orillia in 2018, Paul Raymond, chair of the city’s commemorative awards committee, summed up Stamper well.
“She has a no-nonsense attitude delivered with fairness as many young and older patrons know as she watched over them as they enjoyed many fun-filled hours at the roller rink,” said Raymond. “As I’ve said, she was conscientious and she was stern and I can say that as she babysat me 65 years ago.”
As Marilyn Dwinnell wrote: “The earth has lost a wonderful human being.”
As per Alice’s wishes cremation has taken place. Visitation will be held Thursday, Jan. 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Mundell Funeral Home, 79 West St. N., Orillia.
A celebration of Alice’s life will be held on Friday, Jan. 24, at St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Prices Corners, with visitation from noon until time of service at 1 p.m.
Click here for more details.