Bury St Edmunds community leader Stefan Oliver was a 'remarkable man of many talents'
Tributes have been paid to a leading community figure - a ‘remarkable man of many talents’ - who has died aged 80.
Stefan Oliver was a long-serving Bury St Edmunds councillor, the sixth generation of his family to become mayor of St Edmundsbury and an art teacher.
A talented glass engraver, heraldic illustrator, artist and writer, he was also involved in numerous community groups and organisations in the town.
Cllr John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “Stefan 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.”
Born on Angel Hill to Gabrielle Oliver, a prominent local artist, and Geoffrey Oliver, chairman of wine merchant Hunter and Oliver, Stefan was proud of his local heritage.
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 returned to the borough of Bury with their young family in the 1970s, where Stefan enjoyed many years as a talented 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.
Stefan went on to teach art at Moreton Hall Preparatory School for 26 years.
As a councillor, he represented Tower and Hardwick on Suffolk County Council and Westgate for 13 years on St Edmundsbury Borough Council. He also served on Bury St Edmunds Town Council and was the sixth generation of his family to become borough mayor in 2005 to 2006.
Stefan was chairman of the Friends of Moyse’s Hall Museum, town council chairman, served on the Bury in Bloom committee and was an allotment champion.
He was a governor at three schools and a trustee of West Stow Country Park, Bury St Edmunds Heritage Trust, Suffolk Regiment Museum as well as a feoffee of the Guildhall.
A member of St Edmund’s Catholic Church, he sang in the church choir, was a keen fisherman and loved cooking, fine wine and flower arranging.
In a tribute, his family said Stefan was ‘a loving husband, father and grandfather who inspired, through experiences, his family and those that he came into contact with’.
“As a father he encouraged us, his children, to follow our dreams,” they said.
“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.”
Stefan leaves Anne, their four children and five grandchildren.
A minute’s silence will be held at the start of West Suffolk’s council meeting on Tuesday, July 14 and their flag flown at half-mast.
More by this authorPaul Derrick
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