A former mayor of Estevan who was also a decorated football star and a long-time educator has died.
Galen Wahlmeier, who spent six years as Estevan’s mayor, died on July 26 in Kipling at the age of 84.
He was born in Jennings, Kansas, in 1934, and after playing for the University of Kansas Jayhawks, moved to Saskatchewan in 1957 to play with the Riders. He was a division all-star that year.
After taking a year off, he rejoined the team in 1959, and remained part of the club until 1967. Wahlmeier played centre, linebacker and long snapper for the club.
He was a member of the Riders Grey Cup-winning 1966 team, although he missed the game due to a knee injury.
His daughter, Constance Wahlmeier, said her father was an excellent football player who was selected as the best player to ever wear No. 42 for the Riders during their centennial season in 2010.
“He was well-known as a very good long snapper,” said Wahlmeier.
While he was playing for the Riders, Wahlmeier embarked on a teaching career, and following his retirement from the CFL, he moved to Estevan with his family to continue his teaching career.
“He was a principal … at Hillcrest School and then at Westview, and when then when he became mayor, he had to return to teaching, and that’s when he went to the EJH (Estevan Junior High) School,” said Wahlmeier.
Wahlmeier also coached youth football after moving to Estevan.
He retired from teaching around 1990, she said, and a few years later he moved to the White Bear First Nation.
In recent years, he had been living in Kipling.
Wahlmeier was also involved with numerous boards and organizations in the Estevan area and southeast Saskatchewan, including Estevan city council. He was elected as an alderman in a by-election on Dec. 15, 1971 for a two-year term, and was re-elected for three years in the 1973 election.
Wahlmeier became mayor in the 1976 civic election, defeating Ida Petterson, and defeated Petterson again in the 1979 mayoral election. He was defeated by Gerald Ross in the 1982 election.
He then had another term as an alderman from 1985 to 1988.
In the community, Wahlmeier was the president of the Estevan Bruins hockey club and his family billeted players. He played basketball and baseball in local leagues. Other sporting involvements included the Moose Mountain Recreational Parks Association, the Zone 1 Sports Council representative, the Southeast Saskatchewan Association of Sports, Culture and Recreation.
He was also part of the University of Saskatchewan senate, the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association, the St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, Estevan Area Home Care, the Saskatchewan Trust Lottery Fund and the Estevan Emergency Measures Organization. When he was involved with South East Saskatchewan Road Ambulance, their model was adopted by the provincial government.
While he was a very busy individual, Constance Wahlmeier remembers her father as a dedicated family man who was always there for her and her two siblings, and the activities they were involved in.
“We went all over the States and all over Canada. Every summer we were gone, if he wasn’t working for a farmer, because he loved physical labour and he worked for a couple of good people around Estevan here,” said Constance.
They met 13 of his siblings, even though they were spread across the U.S., and camping was a great experience.
She said her father loved living in Saskatchewan, which is part of the reason why he remained in the province after he retired, despite opportunities to return to the U.S.
“He enjoyed giving. He was a giver. He liked to work hard and figure out things. He loved the outdoors, or starting something new, or creating or working on something.”