Hearts were noticeably heavy at Wednesday night's meeting of the Walnutport Canal Association as members discussed finding a new president and also the possibility of establishing a new position of historian.
As the meeting began, 1st Vice President Doug Boehrer informed anyone present who did not yet know that longtime WCA President Everett "Buddy" Kaul had passed away at the end of December.
Buddy's wife, Marilyn Kaul, who serves as the association's 2nd vice president, sat beside Boehrer as he made the announcement.
From beginning to end, much of what was discussed at the meeting held references to Buddy, from the need to assign someone else's name to checks for check writing purposes to the many long-term goals of the association.
That's because Buddy had been so heavily involved, serving as the association's president since 1995 and, conjointly, in the restoration of the canal as a whole.
When members suggested Boehrer may want to take over the presidency, he said Buddy had done so much that he simply would not have time to do the same. He noted that if he were retired, he would consider the position.
Marilyn also declined the offer.
"I will stay active and do what I did before, but I don't want to be the president," she said.
"Buddy was two or three people," noted treasurer Tom Sidor, who also mentioned Buddy's extensive knowledge of the canal and then suggested a new position, that of historian, be added to help lighten the presidency load.
When members asked her to consider holding that position, Marilyn said she would consider it.
Later, Boehrer discussed progress on both Lock 23 and the WCA Heritage Center.
He announced that repairs to Lock 23 had been completed just before Thanksgiving, including the final landscaping phase.
He then highly commended the project's contractor, Nimaris Construction, L.P., adding that he would love to see them in charge of future lock repairs.
Next, he updated members on recent progress at the WCA Heritage Center, stating that he believes it is now about 75 percent complete.
He said it will soon be ready for exhibits, including allowing in outside groups for such things as guest speaker events and other presentations.
In other news, Marilyn said that St. John's UCC of Slatington will be honoring the WCA as part of its annual "Honoring Our Superheroes" event on Feb. 2 at 9 a.m. She asked that other WCA members please join her and Boehrer for the event.
She also said initial discussions of repairs to Lock 25 may soon begin.