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"WIG" 2003 Obituary


WIGGINS 

WIGGINS o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-03 published
Stanley Charles WIGGINS
By L. Bruce CRONK, Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - Page A26
Family man, band leader, insurer, civic supporter, athlete. Born August 9, 1925, in Belleville, Ontario Died August 3, in Kingston, Ontario, of cardiac arrest, aged 77.
Stanley WIGGINS was born in Belleville on the Bay of Quinte in southern Ontario and lived here all his life -- to the immeasurable benefit of the Quinte community. His mother, Beulah, was of United Empire Loyalist background. His father Fred's family was from County Tyrone, Ireland. Stan loved his parents, and cared for his mother to the end of her 93 years.
At age 12, Stan was introduced to the trumpet by bandmaster Jack GREEN of the Salvation Army Citadel Band, a remarkable teacher who initiated many young people into brass music. Three years later, at 15, Stan joined the Commodores Orchestra, famed in Eastern Ontario for its mellow "Big Band" style. He played with them for 60 years. I recall the dancing slowing almost to a halt when Stan's silver-toned trumpet would soar into one of the well-known solos of Bunny Berigan or Harry James, followed by loud applause.
After high school, Stan entered medicine at Queen's University, until illness forced him to abandon the dream of becoming a doctor. He studied at the Ontario Business College and then joined the London Life Insurance Company, first as an underwriter, then manager. In 1948 he married Margaret MILLER, a girl from his own Belleville Collegiate Institute. They and their children, Joanne, Jim and Carol, formed a close-knit family, camping, cottaging and skiing together.
Stan was always physically active: a skier, sailor, camper, golfer and avid swimmer. After he developed cardiac problems, I used to see him at the Harbour Club in the early morning, swimming laps. I still look -- but he's no longer there.
Stan had the capacity to listen with complete interest whenever anyone addressed him. He was, indeed, "Mr. Belleville." His community-caring spirit was manifested in his service on the board of education and of the Children's Aid Society, his presidency of the Belleville Club and the Sales Ad Association.
Stan also gave his musical talents to the Concert Brass and 8 Wing Concert Band, and his own group, the River City Jazz Band. His daughter told me that as a young man he'd stayed with a relative in New Jersey, commuting to New York for special trumpet lessons, and had been offered jobs with several popular bands -- but decided that the constant on-the-road life of a jazz musician was not for him. He was more interested in family life, work, and civic activities. In 1997, Stan received the Quinte Arts Council Recognition Award "in recognition of outstanding contribution to the arts in Quinte."
On Saturday, August 2, he led the Commodores for three hours at the Wellington Waterfront Festival. A close friend and fellow member of the Commodores, trumpeter Bruce PARSONS, later said: "Stan was bound and determined to play that horn up to the day he died, and by God, he did."
On Sunday morning, he and Margaret received Holy Communion, and then, in the afternoon, went with Friends on a Thousand Islands cruise followed by a massed bands tattoo at Fort Henry in Kingston. While the bands played Stan's own arrangement of the New Maple Leaf Forever, a vicious electrical storm broke. Stan hurried off to the bus to get umbrellas for the ladies. Then he collapsed.
At Stan's packed funeral service, Reverend Peter JOYCE gave thanks for Stan's life, and then quoted the song The Commodores always play at the evening's close -- "We'll meet again, /Don't know where, /Don't know when, /But I know we'll meet again/Some sunny day." Amen to that.
L. Bruce CRONK has been a friend of Stan's since their boyhood.

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