‘Light in the window’ dims

London Free Press (May 6, 2011)

Working with the poor was in Fred Hagglund’s blood.

You could even say it was his calling.

Born to parents who worked as Salvation Army officers, Hagglund spent his early years frequenting hostels, soup kitchens and Sunday chapel services. And he loved every minute of it.

So it was a natural fit Hagglund pursued a career in social services, working for nearly two decades as executive director of Mission Services of London.

The 56-year-old minister died last Saturday after a long battle with cancer.

Longtime friend Susan Gowan described him as “the light in the window.”

“He was always looking at how he could help someone. That was just who he was,” said Gowan, president of the Mission Services board of directors.

Hagglund started his career with Mission Services in 1990 as director of the Men’s Mission.

His motto was, “You just need to make things happen.”

And that’s exactly what he did.

Whether feeding more than 40,000 people with the annual Scan Away Hunger campaign or meeting one-on-one with clients, Hagglund exhibited passion and compassion.

“Fred was vigilant,” Gowan said. “He saw what the needs were and he continued to encourage programs to be developed, or new initiatives to start, to meet those needs in new ways.”

Outside of work Hagglund loved spending time with his wife Joanne and their children.

It was the simple things in life the King’s University College graduate enjoyed most: sitting on his backyard patio, sipping a Diet Coke or Tim Hortons coffee (always black), going to Sunday service or taking pictures.

Hagglund retired from Mission Services in 2010 for health reasons.

After a short interim replacement, Peter Rozeluk took the job, admitting it felt like he had big shoes to fill.

“One of the things Fred was really good at was being a leader in collaboration and partnership, not just with other social services in town, but also with the City of London (and) provincially.”

Working in social services for more than 20 years can be tough, but Hagglund never burnt out, Rozeluk said.

“It just wasn’t a job for him, it was part of his life, part of his passion to help people.”

A memorial service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Village Green Community Church.

Dale Carruthers, London Free Press

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