Former AWNA President, publisher passes away

Steve Dills
Steve Dills

Steve Dills grew up in the family’s community newspaper business at Milton, Ont., graduated in journalism from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, Toronto in 1977 and went on to more than 35 years in community newspapers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia as editor, publisher or general manager.

He died in Edmonton University of Alberta Hospital a year after being diagnosed with acute leukemia, in spite of a valiant fight to move on.

He is survived by his beloved wife Connie, his parents Shirley and Jim of Milton, ON, children Shanna (Justin), Daniel (Christa), Heather (Troy), Colleen and their mother Diane, siblings Mark (Sharon), Paul (Alison), Catherine (Keith) and Carolyn (Tom) and nine grandchildren.

Steve had stints with the Canadian Community Newspapers Association in Toronto, with the Onoway Tribune, Drayton Valley Western Review, Spruce Grove Examiner and Stony Plain Reporter, Vermilion Standard, North Battleford News-Optimist, Agassiz Advance, Vegreville Observer and Sylvan Lake News.

In each community he was involved in community service as well as industry-associated activity. During his last 11 years at Sylvan Lake he was a member of the Rotary Club and Past President of the Royal Canadian Legion. He was also a member of the Spirit of Sylvan Kraft Hockeyville in 2014 that won the national Kraft Hockeyville title for Sylvan Lake. In 2016 the Rotary Club presented him with a Paul Harris Fellowship. He joined Rotary in 1992 in Vermilion and has been active in various Rotary clubs ever since that date. Steve was proud to have been a Rotarian for 25 years.

In the community newspaper industry he served as the President of the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association and in 1996 was presented with the prestigious Bill Draayer Award for his contributions to the industry.

His photography and editorial writing were also recognized. In 2007 one of his editorials was included in the Golden Dozen, chosen by the International Society of Weekly Editors. He was also frequently invited to judge community newspaper competitions in other provinces.

Steven’s family and friends would like to extend their sincere thanks to Dr. Leiw and the Dr’s, nurses and staff at the U of A Hospital hematology ward and ICU for their care and compassion.

Donations may be made in memory of Steven to the Rotary Club of Sylvan Lake or The Royal Canadian Legion, Sylvan Lake Branch 212.

A funeral service was held at the Memorial Presbyterian Church of Sylvan Lake, AB on Saturday, September 3, 2016 at 2 pm.

Fellowship and memories were shared after the service at the Sylvan Lake Royal Canadian Legion #212.

Interment will take place at a later date in Evergreen Cemetery, Milton, ON. Cremation has taken place.”

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