Inducted: November 17, 2009
Bert Rammelaere has won the admiration and respect of all who know him through his application of a quick intelligence to the challenges of farming, of drainage, of conservation, and of municipal government and its restructuring.
The 75-acre home farm, first acquired by his father almost 70 years ago has been expanded to an impressive spread, a show place for conservation and optimum agricultural practices. He recently installed a 10 Kilowatt solar panel on his farm, a small test of future energy sources.
He has a reputation for integrity, for honesty, and for a determination to do his best in everything.
Mr. Rammelaere was born in Holland, the only child of Richard and Alida (De Taye) Rammelaere. After one trial trip to Canada, the family moved to this country in 1939, providentially before a war that ravaged Holland, Europe, and much of the world. The following year, Richard Rammelaere acquired a farm on Concession 4, Tilbury East Township.
Bert attended S. S. 2, Tilbury East and Tilbury High School. He started farming at a very early age, and was plowing when he was 10 years old. From the first, in a career that encompassed service on municipal council, many farm organizations, the Drainage Tribunal and the Drainage Commission, and the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority, the emphasis has been on the highest possible standards.
He started young in municipal service in Tilbury East, and served for two years as a Council member, six as Deputy Reeve, and three as Reeve. In 1968, he started 20 years of service on the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority, five of them as a member, five as an Executive member, five as Vice-Chairman, and five as Chairman.
Bert combined these heavy responsibilities with work on many farm organizations. He served as Provincial Director on the Ontario Soya-Bean Growers' Marketing Board; was appointed to the former Ontario Grain Corn Council; as a Committeeman on the Ontario Wheat Producers Marketing Board, and as President of the Kent Soil and Crop Improvement Association.
He was a Director of the Kent County Seed Growers' Association and of the Ontario Seed Growers' Association, and a Select seed grower. In 1996, he received a Long Service Certificate from the Canadian Seed Growers' Association, recognizing his 40 years as a pedigreed seed producer.
Bert served as a member of the Ontario Drainage Tribunal, and is still Chairman of the Drainage Commission for the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. This is an important responsibility in an area where farm productivity often depends on sound drainage. There are 2,500 or more urban, and rural drains in the municipality.
In another field, he was a member until 2001 of the review team for the Ontario Trillium Foundation, helping to decide on grants to worthy organizations.
One of his most important challenges was as the only non-elected member for the Restructuring mandated by the Provincial Government, a demanding, sometimes thankless job. Little wonder that he was praised for "enlightened, effective leadership", and thanked by Mayor Bill Erickson for his selfless service.
In 2003, he received Tilbury and District Chamber of Commerce Agricultural Business Excellence Award; and the following year, he was named Agriculturist of the Year by the Chatham and District Chamber of Commerce.
On April 16th, 1958, he married Margaret Buis in St. Francis Church, Tilbury. They now attend historic St. Peter on the Thames Church. They have two daughters, Sylvia, and Sandra (Pierre) Tetreault. Sylvia is the Director of Finance and Performance Services of the Municipality of Lakeshore, and Sandra is a Public Health Nurse with the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit. There are two grandchildren, Adam and Robin Tetreault.