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Perth loses one of its best: Eric Devlin passes at age 98

by | Dec 27, 2018 | Local News | 0 comments

Submitted by the Town of Perth: Eric Herbert Devlin, in his 99th year, passed away peacefully on Christmas morning 2018 at the Perth hospital after several months of illness.

He leaves behind his beloved wife of 30 ½ years, Marilyn Walker-Giles. Loving father of Eric Jr. (Sandra), Terry (Tammy), Brian (Joanne) Giles, Gregory (Veronica) Giles and Susan (Jeff Thompson). Opa to Kyle, Alison and Tomas Devlin, Logan, Mitchell and Konstance Giles and brother of Helen Cameron.

Probably Perth’s best-known citizen and pillar of the community, Eric Devlin was born December 1st, 1920 to Joseph Henry Devlin and Mabel May Whyte. The family lived in the family home located on the Second Concession of Drummond Township just east of Perth. In 1921, Joseph Henry moved the family to Perth for employment, where he also became a member of Perth Town Council. Young Eric attended Perth Collegiate Institute (PCI) from 1933 to 1940 and would later follow in his father’s political footsteps.

Mr. Devlin enrolled in the Royal Canadian Artillery in May 1942 with basic training in Ottawa. He was posted to regiments across Canada in the following years, returning to the area to serve in Brockville, and being released from service in July 1946. His military career spanned a total of 42 years, during which time Mr. Devlin climbed the ranks, and served in multiple conflicts across the globe, including posts in Canada, Korea, Japan, Germany, Indo-China and finally ending in 1969 in Ottawa with the rank of Major.

Eric Devlin is a heavily decorated war veteran, having received multiple medals for his lifelong service to Canada.

During a brief break from military life, Eric found employment as a farm worker in Saskatchewan, followed by a position at the Andrew Jergens Co. Ltd. In the Credit Department in 1947 (today known as Perth Soap/Shandex). From 1948 to 1950, he took positions as Justice of the Peace, Division Court Clerk and Bailiff for the Ontario Attorney-General. Mr. Devlin has been a member of the Perth-Upon-Tay Royal Canadian Legion since 1965. He has held various executive positions over those years, including multiple terms as President. A role that was near and dear to his heart was the organization of Perth’s Remembrance Day Ceremonies, until he passed the torch in 2017.

The Legion granted him a Life Membership in 1994 and he was bestowed with the Legion’s highest award, the Meritorious Service Medal in 2005, followed by the accompanying Palm Leaf in 2010.

Eric Devlin served as a Councillor with the Town of Perth for multiple terms from 1988 to 1994, and again from 1997 to 2010. He served on numerous Town committees and boards, right up until the summer of 2018, always giving freely of his time and expertise.

In 2008 he visited Japan with a Mayoral Delegation to complete a Sister-City Agreement. While there, he made a special trip back to Yokohama, where he was stationed in June 1951. Mr. Devlin was very supportive of Perth’s Japanese exchange and was considered a “celebrity” by the delegations who visited here from the City of Asago.

Mayor John Fenik states, “Eric was a man who tirelessly served his country and community throughout his entire life. It was an honor serving with him on Council. On behalf of my Council and all the citizens of Perth I send our collective condolences to Eric’s family.”

The flag at Town Hall will be lowered to half-staff to honour the vast contributions that Eric made to his community and his country. Visitation will be at the Blair & Son Funeral Home on Saturday December 29th from Noon until 4:00 pm. The funeral service will be at St. Paul’s United Church on Sunday December 30th at 2:00 pm. For further details, go to www.blairandson.com.

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