A look at George A. Love’s life and ministry

On March 24th, the 11th annual Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast was held in the Parkland Pavilion at Westerner Park.

Both Mayor Tara Veer of the City of Red Deer and Mayor Jim Wood of Red Deer County were in attendance with Dr. Sean Campbell as the featured speaker.

The Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast is a popular event.

However, since Red Deer was first incorporated as a town in 1901, only two of our mayors have been ordained ministers – George A. Love and Edward Michener. Interestingly, Rev. Love also holds the record of serving the shortest mayoral term. He held the office for a mere eight months.

Love originally came from the Bay of Quinte area of Ontario.

In 1885, he was ordained as a Methodist minister.

However, in 1889 he joined the Congregational church. That must not have worked out very well. Three years later, he returned to the Methodist church.

In 1893, Love moved to a farm in the Willowdale district east of Red Deer.

The homestead was in his mother’s name, an unusual circumstance as women were very rarely granted homesteads by the government.

There was another settler named Love in the district.

Consequently, George became known as ‘Saint Love’ because of his ministerial background, while the neighbour got the nickname ‘Sinner Love’.

In 1895, Love decided to return to the active ministry and moved to Slocan, B.C. However, he quickly became interested in mining and purchased a silver mine.

In 1897, he returned to Red Deer.

Shortly after his arrival, his mother died. Love took out another homestead in his own name.

However, the following year, he quit farming to go into business in Red Deer. He subsequently operated a sawmill, lumberyard and a skating rink.

He also became very active in civic affairs.

He was elected a director of the Red Deer Agricultural Society. He became the president of the re-activated Red Deer Board of Trade.

In 1900, he was named to a committee to have Red Deer incorporated as a town.

Just before the incorporation was completed in June 1901, he decided to once again go into the ministry. However, his appointment at Elkhorn, Manitoba lasted only three months.

Love was soon back in Red Deer and started the community’s second brickyard.

He also became a part owner of the local newspaper. In Red Deer’s second municipal election in December 1902, he was elected to Town council.

In December 1903, he successfully ran for mayor.

A month later, he became editor of the local paper. He does not appear to have been the slightest bit concerned about any conflict of interest in writing the newspaper’s commentaries on the Town council meetings that he chaired as mayor.

In June 1903, Love quit as editor.

Two months after that, he abruptly resigned as mayor.

He planned on joining the Western Masons’ Mutual Life Association.

However, he was soon constructing an impressive business block on Gaetz Avenue, near 51st St.

In January 1905, Love was elected to a third term as president of the Board of Trade. He also started a second weekly newspaper, the Red Deer News, and assumed the job as editor.

In 1906, Love left Red Deer and took up fruit farming in the Okanagan district in B.C. He later went into insurance and real estate. In 1920, he returned to Alberta and started an insurance business in Drumheller.

After his wife Emma died, George Love moved to California to live with his daughter, Alberta Weston.