Diane Bormke - VP SJHS Alumni Association

She had busy life

by Tammy Scott-Wallace - Thursday, October 23, 2008

This article is courtesy of Telegraph-Journal

GRAND BAY-WESTFIELD - Diane Bormke loved the pace that came with wearing many hats, says her daughter, Marta McGovern.

And she cherished the experiences she had in her 71 years as a newspaper owner, town councillor, political campaign manager, staunch Tory, historian and author until her death on Tuesday.

Bormke died at her Grand Bay-Westfield home. The owner of the River Valley News was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in March.

"Mom looked at her life and said, 'I've probably done more than most people have in their lifetime,' " McGovern related.

Bormke was so devoted to Tory politics that despite her ailing health, she attended the Progressive Conservative convention on Friday night in Fredericton and voted for her candidate of choice on Saturday at St. Mark's Church.

"She kept at it right until the end," McGovern said.

Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson, who won re-election in the New Brunswick Southwest riding last week, met Bormke when riding lines changed in time for the 1996 election. His new riding now encompassed Grand Bay-Westfield and Bormke was a strong supporter from the beginning.

"She worked on every campaign, in fact, she was involved in this past campaign," Thompson said.

"She was just one in a million, just one of those people we just learned to depend on."

Bormke was also former provincial cabinet minister Milt Sherwood's campaign manager for three elections.

She was president of the Grand Bay Progressive Conservative Riding Association, and the New Brunswick Southwest Conservative Riding Association.

Bormke and her late husband, George, bought Bayfield Services in the 1980s and under that banner, purchased the small River Valley News in 1990.

"She took the paper from a four-page fold out to the 20 -page tabloid it is today," McGovern saud.

The free paper, distributed biweekly through community stores, features local news items and advertising. It is also available online.

"We're just trying to figure out now how to get the paper out without her," McGovern said. "We're going to muddle through this and try to get the next issue out on Nov. 12 as planned."

Bormke nearly single-handedly wrote and edited the content, sold ads, designed and layed out the paper, and distributed it.

"The whole paper was hers. It was mom's passion. I think it's what kept her going," McGovern explained.

Gary Mittelholtz will take over ownership of the paper in January.

Bormke was a woman who always looked out for the best interest of people and often rooted for the underdog, her daughter said.

"I don't think people realize how giving mom was. If someone needed 20 bucks, she would give that 20 bucks and never wanted it paid back. She did so many little things and she never talked about it."

In fact, McGovern said Bormke has intended to run for mayor of Grand Bay-Westfield in the spring election but was diagnosed with her terminal disease just a week before nominations opened.

Bormke is survived by her three children Marta, Thomas and Janet, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

There will be no visitation or funeral service, however, a celebration of Bormke's life will be held at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 69 in Saint John on Monday at 1 p.m.