'He loved kids and loved Barrie': Well known businessman dies at 87

Known for decades as a political heavyweight, Jack Garner died this week at 87-years-old (Facebook)

Jack Garner was never one to shy away from speaking up as a Barrie alderman or school trustee.

"He was a staunch conservative, and I mean a staunch conservative, and he got things done," said long-time friend Rayner McCullough.

Known for decades as a political heavyweight, Garner died this week at 87-years-old.

Childhood friend Rayner McCullough knew Garner better than anyone and says he was instrumental in bringing a GO Train service to Barrie and helping shape the city's spectacular waterfront.

"Anything that was good in Barrie, Jack had his mitts on it, and he was giving it all he had," said McCullough.

Former Barrie Mayor Janice Laking says Garner was a good friend who was always willing to give back.

"He was a good businessman and was very involved in the community whenever we needed help," Laking said.

His family business, Garner's Sports, was an institution in the city for nearly 100 years.

Garner was a recipient of honours and accolades and considered a mentor to young politicians at City Hall.

"The nice thing about Jack, and it's a lost art in politics these days, is Jack was the type of person that always told you want you needed to hear and not what you wanted to hear," said former city councillor, Andrew Prince.

Garner's son Jeff remembers his dad as a hardworking family man who made a difference in the lives of so many children.

"Whether it was through sports or education, he loved kids, and loved Barrie," said Jeff.

His family asks anyone who would like to donate to a local charity in Garner's name to do so through the RVH foundation's youth mental health initiatives or Simcoe County's CMHA youth services.