There are very few people who have a lasting impact on their communities – Rolly Hein was one of those people.
Hein, who passed away July 26 at the age of 74, left a legacy as large as his stature, serving as both a Lake Country regional representative and mayor of Lake Country for two terms, as well as being involved in numerous community organizations.
During his tenure as mayor from 1999 to 2005, he helped lay the groundwork for what eventually became one of the fastest-growing municipalities in British Columbia and created a thriving community that continues to flourish today.
Current Lake Country Mayor James Baker said Hein worked hard to make Lake Country a vibrant place to live, work and play and will be remembered as a politician who took pride in his people.
“He pursued the idea of a town center for Lake Country,” said Baker.
“He bargained with the municipal Ministry of Highways to get funding for our main street, Town Center Road. That was one of the best things that he got done for our municipality.”
Hein was also involved in the community in many other ways outside of politics, such as helping to build the Wooden Nickel restaurant at the Lake Country mall. During those early years, Hein was known for giving out wooden nickels that residents could use for coffee and made sure the restaurant’s walls were adorned with photos that told the story of his community.
He also opened a farm and pet feed store which is still operating today and was involved in the Oceola Fishing Games Club, where he befriended the club’s then-president George Kozub.
“He always seemed to be around,” said Kozub, reflecting on his friend’s passing.
“Every place you went he was there. Whenever we had meetings concerning politics he was always front and center. He was a good master of ceremonies for the fishing club and was always asked to chair a lot of the get-togethers. He had a gift to run meetings very well. Everybody knew him.”
Kozub said Hein battled cancer for a large part of his life, but would always remain optimistic, even comforting Kozub’s late wife when she fought cancer.
“Many probably did not know that Rolly fought cancer for most his life,” said Kozub. “I’m sure that it was his brute strength and his desire to win that kept him going.”
“I will always be grateful to him for the support he gave my wife when she was battling cancer. He would sit and hold her hands and talk to her. She was always so grateful and he made her feel better.”
Hein’s family declined comment when reached.