The Town of Manitou will say goodbye tomorrow to community builder, former mayor, businessman and dear friend Walter Mueller who passed away last Friday. Mueller was on town council for 35 years and was mayor for over 12 years. He ran Mueller's Hardware store with his father and brother Lewis for many years, he was a founder of the Pembina-Manitou Area Foundation and is known for his many contributions to the community. 

Manitou's Jake Goertzen served on city council for many years with Mueller.         

"We moved into Manitou at in 1995 and our next-door neighbours are Walter and Betty, so in early years we discussed a lot of political stuff over the back fence and always were good neighbours, very good neighbours for us."  

Goertzen succeeded Mueller as mayor and considered himself to be Mueller's right-hand man.  

"I learned a lot from him. His first and foremost thoughts were always, 'anything for town.' He was really dedicated to serving the people. I think he's well thought of for that part of his career."  

Goertzen said Mueller was a people-person who was able to work hard to get many things done. He has nothing but admiration for Mueller, saying he was a very good neighbour and a very good friend.   

Retired Manitou Lawyer Larry Selby said Mueller was actively involve in most organizations and projects in the community.  

"He was so dedicated to the community and the community of Manitou owes him a great deal. He and his wife Bette were just incredible. Everywhere you look, they were involved." 

Just a few of the large projects the Muellers were instrumental in making happen were the restoration of the Manitou Opera House, the Nellie Mcclung Homes, and even the pool.  

"I remember, we got a new pool built in the community, which I think the whole community was very proud of and he played a large part in it. There's this one really steep slide, and Walter wasn't a swimmer," Selby said with a chuckle, "but he was one of the first two people down that slide. We were hoping he didn't drown. He was an enthusiastic community man."  

Walter and Bette Mueller welcoming the Lt Governor Janice Filmon to Nellie McClung I DO Exhibit.Walter and Bette Mueller welcoming the Lt Governor Janice Filmon (and Former MB Premier Garry Filmon) to Nellie McClung I DO Exhibit.

Selby said Mueller involvement in the community was far reaching on many levels.  

"We set up a company to buy vacant property on Main Street and open it up as a spot where anybody that wanted to start a business could come in without having to sign long term leases or anything else. Like, if you wanted to try something, you could try it without going broke trying to see if your ideas would work. He was just enthusiastic about all these things." 

Former Administrative Manager of The Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame Joe Wiwchar said Mueller was a caring man who made many contributions to Manitou. Adding, if it weren't for Mueller baseball may not have been a reality in the town.   

"I'm sure he organized and started all the baseball in Manitou and was a pitcher, and when he didn't pitch or manage, his played first base a little bit. One funny thing about Walter, when he pitched, he had this peculiar little kick just before he pitched and never seen that with anybody else."  

Mueller from MB Baseball Hall of Fame website.Mueller from MB Baseball Hall of Fame website.

Mueller was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame (MBHF) in 2002. 

As a businessman, Wiwchar said Mueller would often sponsor Baseball Hall of Fame events donating items for the draws. Wiwchar added, Mueller was also proud of his time on the Manitoba Hockey Old-timer Board. 

Wiwchar offered his condolences to the family on behalf of the baseball family.  

A service will be held Friday, April 26 at the St. Andrews United Church in Manitou at 2:00 pm. Learn more about Walter Mueller in his obituary. 

Golden West Sports Reporter Clayton Dreger sat down with Mueller after his induction to talk about baseball and his induction into the MBHF.