Pat Davidson has left a mark on Lambton County and now her name will be immortalized as a reminder of her work as a municipal politician and Member of Parliament.
Davidson served nine years as Sarnia-Lambton’s MP and has been hailed by many as the person responsible for millions of dollars of funding for projects in the area including most recently Petrolia’s waste water treatment plant.
While her time as MP is top of mind, Davidson has served in politics in Wyoming, Plympton-Wyoming and as the warden for 35 years.
Nov. 18, about 250 people packed the Wyoming Fair Building to thank her and bid her happy retirement.
Tributes poured in from all corners – there was a letter from the Conservative Interim Leader Rona Ambrose, congratulations from MPP Bob Bailey and a host of Lambton County mayors.
There were heartfelt tributes: “You have helped so many of our municipalities, there aren’t enough words to say thanks,” Lambton County Warden Bev MacDougall told Davidson.
And light-hearted moments: “On election night, the saddest guy in the room was Bill (Davidson’s husband),” quipped Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley. “We know the sacrifices you and your family made. We wish you well as a recovering politician.”
There were stories about Davidson’s mentorship and advice to new wardens such as Jim Burns; “She said, ‘you do what you can and leave the rest for others,’” says Burns adding some of the advice was “easy to understand” while others “took some time to think about” like don’t get into a X*&^! Match with a skunk.”
There was teasing; “We bought you something we knew you didn’t have,” said Petrolia Mayor John McCharles after thanking her for bringing infrastructure money for a new street and sewage treatment plant to the town – “a membership in the Liberal Party.”
And there was a reminder of the good a person can do in politics as Colleen Sim, the executive director of Victims Services Sarnia Lambton got up to thank Davidson for securing $30,000 to help her organization. “People are getting service because you made sure we had the funds… People’s lives are better in a very meaningful way.”
And there were the personal tributes, particularly from Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper who grew up with Davidson and admitted he dated her once before Davidson met her husband.
And he recounted how he first met the MP in 1951 when she was sitting in a sandbox next to her pet ram. They talked for a few moments before Davidson called out to the ram “Get’em” and a “head butt to my arse” sent Napper flying.
That story lead to gales of laughter from the former MP, who smiled through two-hour tribute.
But the surprise came at the end of the evening as Napper and members of the Plympton-Wyoming council revealed the Wyoming Library will now be known as the Pat Davidson Library.
“Having a library named after me is absolutely amazing,” said Davidson when she went to the microphone.
And she paid tribute to her family, who saw a lot less of her than she liked, and her sisters, who often picked up at home where she could not, and friends, who stuck by her even though there wasn’t much time to visit.
And she told the crowd she was happy to serve her community. “The job is to serve the community and that’s what I enjoyed. I don’t think I’ve had too many sad days,” she says. “I’ve always done what I wanted to do and enjoyed doing it.”