The sun was shining and the air was brisk but it was an emotional gathering outside city hall on Saturday morning as councillors readied themselves to talk about their late colleague, Terry Hincks.
Hugs and handshakes were passed around as councillors joined the group, not to mention a few tears shed.
Hincks died Friday night after a long battle with cancer.
Mayor Michael Fougere spoke to media with the councillors crowded behind him – Wade Murray reaching out to put a comforting hand on Fougere’s shoulder when he faltered.
“This is a real tragic loss for our family, our friends and the city. No words can really describe our sense of loss,” said Fougere.
Fougere said Hincks fought cancer with dignity and strength.
“He had tremendous physical strength and strong spirit, to those who know him, and it truly was an honour and a pleasure to serve with him on his time on council.”
In talking about Hincks’ commitment and contributions to the city, Fougere said they were unparalleled.
“His heart was as big as Regina.”
Fougere said Hincks was always passionate and emotional, and you always knew where he stood on an issue.
“When we talked on council he would be bellowing away about his view on things but he would say ‘I understand why we’re doing things,’ and he had a very good vision.”
What struck Fougere the most was Hincks’ passion for the new stadium.
“When we had the unveiling of the new stadium a few years ago he was so happy and just incredibly smiling and he was so happy that the stadium was going forward, and he said I want to be here when the stadium’s open, I want to make it to when the stadium opens.”
Wade Murray was elected to city council for the first time in 2003, the same election Hincks was elected.
“He loved the community, he loved the people, he loved this council – we’re so fortunate we had the opportunity to spend time with him,” said Murray.
Murray said he was sad to see a community leader like Hincks go the way he did, after a drawn-out fight with cancer.
Nothing but compliments and admiration came from Murray when he spoke about the late councillor. Hincks grew up in Murray’s ward, and though he represented Ward 9 in the northwest, Murray said Hincks also went back to his roots. Murray specifically recalled a beach day 10 years ago when they took several kids from the community to the beach in Buena Vista.
“All those kids hopping into his boat, you couldn’t have gotten a bigger smile on ’em,” said Murray.
Murray said it was always special to hear Hincks laugh, and he wore his heart on his sleeve.
Hincks was running to be re-elected in Ward 9 in the coming municipal election, and Murray said whoever does get elected there now will have huge shoes to fill.