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Remembering Rev. Stan Wootton, a community 'doer'

'That was Stan. Always smiling and always open to a new adventure!' says Dublin United Church reverend

The rewards of giving, priceless.

For Rev. Stanley Wootton, giving was from the heart. It filled his life with joy and nourished his soul.

On June 3, Wootton passed away peacefully at his Mini Lakes residence in Puslinch.

As a minister in the United Church of Canada, Wootton served congregations in Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario and before he passed away, he was engaged in pastoral care at Dublin United Church in Guelph.

It was the joy and love he extended to others that brought Wootton true happiness, and commitment to his own faith, agree those who knew him.

“And when he gave to others, he always gave with a big smile,” said Rev. Bruce Dickson at Dublin United Church.

“He was always smiling. Stan, as we all knew him best, was a lovely man. His death was unexpected. You would think at 91, it would be on the radar, but it really wasn’t. Stan was a warm and friendly person, and he was definitely described as a ‘doer’. He enjoyed being active.”

Wootton was part of the Dublin church community for four years.

“Stan came from up north. He had a cottage on Otter Lake, which is his family’s grounding place. When his wife died, it was a hard time for Stan. It was tough for him to live there all the time. His niece, Sheila, asked him if he would like to join the congregation here at Dublin,” Dickson said.

Wootton did and instantly felt connected.

“He was looking for a community and this gave him a sense of purpose. He made such an impact in just four years. He will be missed,” said his niece, Sheila McLaren.

“I just could not believe how quickly he met people. And people at Dublin instantly felt connected with Stan. He was so easy to meet and to talk to. It really is remarkable. He had such a zest for life. Stan loved people and he helped them when he could. That was Stan.”

Dublin United Church embraces "action" through many efforts to help those in need including the ministry of visitation.

“We do this, especially for the elderly. Stan was interested in pastoral care, and he offered to visit people,” Dickson said.

“And he was ready to go! I remember when he received a list of names, and off he went. There were four names on the list, and I remember, him asking, only four?”

This was not a surprise to Dickson and fellow members in the Dublin church community.

“He had such a sense of diligence. Even when he went away to his cottage for the summer, he still had names of people to take with him. He was worried about them, and wanted to stay in touch,” Dickson said.

Wootton never stopped learning.

“Even though Stan was a minister, he was a life-long learner. He continued to train and attended bible study. He did this because he loved learning and because he took it upon himself to meet others, to find friendship and love in others. And he did,” Dickson said.

“He shared a wonderful bond with someone who had lost her husband in the group. There was a spiritual connection, as Stan too, lost his wife. It was very special bond they shared.”

He and his late wife Nancy had five children: Elizabeth, Jennifer, Richard, Heather, and Jamie.

He will be dearly missed by his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and his many nieces and nephews.

According to family, Wootton’s joys were his family and friends, stimulating discussions, oil painting, and the cottage on Otter Lake which has been in his family for over 50 years.

“He just loved being there. And he was always meeting new people. Everyone was always amazed at how quickly he would get to know people,” McLaren said.

“I will miss his conversation. Nothing was taboo with Stan. My husband and I would have deep, philosophical conversations with Stanley, especially in the months just before he passed away.”

With a passion for people, Dickson said that COVID-19 did have a social impact on Wootton.

“It was hard for him. Stan was such a people person. In many ways, it was a gift going to the Mini Lakes with his family during the pandemic and before he passed away. It was his one last adventure,” Dickson said.

“And that was Stan. Always smiling and always open to a new adventure!”