Funeral service to be held for former editor of Sylvan Lake News

Dills remembered as compassionate, community builder

  • Sep. 1, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Steve Dills

Obituary courtesy of Shanna McConnell


On August 29th 2016, Steven George Dills passed away peacefully at age 60 in spite of a valiant fight and a long battle with acute leukemia at the U of A hospital in Edmonton.

Dills was a past president of the Alberta Weekly Newspapers’ Association, Past President of the Sylvan Lake Legion former editor of the Sylvan Lake News, Citizen of the Year in Sylvan Lake and recently named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of Sylvan Lake. He was publisher of a number of newspapers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia during his 37 year career and most recently worked with Formation Fluid in Sylvan Lake.

Dills grew up in the family’s community newspaper business at Milton, Ont., graduated in journalism from Ryerson Polytechnic Institute, Toronto in 1977 and went on to more than 35 years in community newspapers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia as editor, publisher or general manager.

Steve had stints with the Canadian Community Newspapers Association in Toronto, with the Onoway Tribune, Drayton Valley Western Review, Spruce Grove Examiner, Stony Plain Reporter, Vermillion Standard, North Battleford News-Optimist, Agassiz Advance, Vegreville Observer and Sylvan Lake News.

In each community he was involved in community service as well as industry-associated activity. During his last 11 years at Sylvan Lake he was a member of the Rotary Club and past president of the Royal Canadian Legion. He was also a member of the Spirit of Sylvan Kraft Hockeyville in 2014 that won the national Kraft Hockeyville title for Sylvan Lake. In 2016 he was presented with a Paul Harris Fellowship by the Rotary Club. He joined Rotary in 1992 in Vermilion and has been active in various Rotary clubs ever since that date. He was proud to have been a Rotarian for 25 years.

In the community newspaper industry he served as the president of the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association and in 1996 was presented with the prestigious Bill Draayer Award for contributions to the industry.

His photography and editorial writing were also recognized. In 2007 one of his editorials was included in the Golden Dozen, chosen by the International Society of Weekly Editors. He was also frequently invited to judge community newspaper competitions in other provinces.

Steven’s family and friends would like to extend their sincere thanks to Dr. Leiw as well as the doctors, nurses and staff at the U of A Hospital hematology ward and ICU for their care and compassion.

He is survived by his beloved wife Connie, his parents Shirley and Jim of Milton, ON, children Shanna (Justin), Daniel (Christa), Heather (Troy), Colleen and their mother Diane, siblings Mark (Sharon), Paul (Alison), Catherine (Keith) and Carolyn (Tom) and nine grandchildren.

Donations may be made in memory of Steven to the Rotary Club of Sylvan Lake or The Royal Canadian Legion, Sylvan Lake Branch 212.

A funeral service will be held at the Memorial Presbyterian Church of Sylvan Lake on Saturday, September 3, 2016 at 2 p.m. Fellowship and memories to be shared after the service at the Sylvan Lake Royal Canadian Legion #212. Interment will take place at a later date in Evergreen Cemetery, Milton, ON. Cremation has taken place.

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