‘A remarkable man’ - Tributes to former mayor Stefan Oliver
Tributes have been paid to former mayor of Bury St Edmunds Stefan Oliver, who has died at the age of 80.
Mr Oliver was a long-serving councillor and was the sixth generation of his family to become mayor.
Current mayor Peter Thompson described Mr Oliver as someone who had “a real presence” and the respect of everyone who knew him.
“As someone who holds a position he once held I know that I have very big shoes to fill,” he said.
“He played a huge role in the life of Bury St Edmunds and will be very much missed.”
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John Griffiths, the leader of West Suffolk Council said: “Stefan Oliver was a remarkable man of many talents who contributed so much to the civic life of Bury St Edmunds and West Suffolk.
“I know I speak for everyone at the council who knew Stefan in saying that he will be much missed but very fondly remembered by us all, and so many others, and our thoughts are of course with his family.”
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He is survived by his wife Anne, their four children and five grandchildren.
In a statement his family described him as a loving husband, father and grandfather “who inspired through his experiences”.
“His loss leaves a great hole in the our lives and the lives of those he touched. The family would like to thank everyone for the messages we have received proving that he influenced the lives of so many people,” they said.
Mr Oliver served as Mayor of St Edmundsbury in 2005-2006, having been elected to St Edmundsbury Borough Council in 2002 and representing Westgate ward for 13 years.
He was presented with a long service award in recognition of his work in 2015, and also sat on Suffolk County Council and on the Police Authority.
West Suffolk Council will mark his service with a minute silence at the beginning of its meeting on July 14 and by flying the flag at half-mast.
Mr Oliver taught art for 26 years at Moreton Hall School but was also was an artist, engraver, and heraldic expert who published books on the subject.
He was born on Angel Hill in the town to Gabrielle Oliver, a prominent local artist, and Geoffrey Oliver, chairman of Hunter and Oliver wine merchants.
Educated at St John’s Beaumont school in Windsor, he went on to study at Writtle Agricultural College in Chelmsford.
He worked in farm management for 15 years, during which time he met and married his wife of 55 years, Anne Batho from Saxmundham.
They settled in Bury St Edmunds with their young family in the 1970s, where Stefan enjoyed many years as a glass engraver, heraldic illustrator, artist and writer.
In 1986 he was made a Freeman of the City of London and Worshipful Glaziers Company following his affiliation with the Guild of Glass Engravers.
He went into local politics as a Conservative councillor, serving as member for Tower & Hardwick on Suffolk County Council, Westgate for St Edmundsbury Council, and on Bury Town Council.
Mr Oliver was chairman of the Friends of Moyse’s Hall Museum, Bury St Edmunds Town Council, and Bury in Bloom committee. He was also an allotment champion.
He was governor at Horringer Court Middle School, St Benedict’s Upper School and Moreton Hall Preparatory School. and a trustee of West Stow County Park, Bury St Edmunds Heritage Trust and the Suffolk Regiment Museum.
He was also a Feoffee of the Guildhall, a member of the Compiegne and Kevelaer-Bury St. Edmunds twinning associations, chairman of the Chrysanthemum Society and chairman of Bury St Edmunds District Scout Association.
He was president of the West Suffolk Horticultural Society and chairman of the Association of Suffolk Museums.
Mr Oliver was also a prominent member of the St Edmunds Catholic Church congregation and of the St Stephen’s Guild of altar servers.
He was a keen fisherman and loved cooking, fine wine and flower arranging.
Mr Oliver’s private funeral service will take place on Thursday July 23, followed by cremation.