Wolfgang Pohl, retired stonemason, avid sportsman and one of Canada’s oldest newspaper carriers, died last week at the age of 85.
Pohl was a familiar figure near Brockville’s downtown, where he cruised around on his electric scooter delivering the Recorder and Times and Brockville This Week.
He took up his newspaper gig eight years ago after his arthritis forced his retirement as a mason and bricklayer at the age of 76. Despite his arthritis, however, Pohl always was quick to offer his help when a neighbour needed some masonry work done.
In a 2019 interview, Pohl said he became a carrier as a way to stay active.
“I took up the paper job – as a paperboy,” he said with a chuckle. “I wanted to stay in contact with the community. You meet the people, you know what’s going on, and I still enjoy it.”
Nikki McMullen, of the Recorder and Times’s circulation department, described Pohl as a dedicated and reliable worker. There were never any complaints when Wolfgang was on the job, she said.
Even in winter, Pohl would fire up his scooter and dodge snowdrifts to make sure his papers were delivered.
McMullen said Pohl used to have five paper routes and delivered his Recorder and Times in his pickup truck, but when his failing eyesight meant the revocation of his driver’s licence he took to the scooter and downsized his routes.
Pohl also was a fixture at the local YMCA, where he was known as a fierce competitor at racket sports. During the summer – after the papers were delivered – Pohl could be found on the golf course, a sport that he loved.
Jo-Anne Rauscher, a caregiver who knew Pohl and his partner Christel Klocke for years, described him as a “nice, nice man” who was quick to help others.
He was a loner, Rauscher said, and his sometimes stern demeanor made people think he was grumpy. But when he smiled his face would just light up, she said.
Rauscher said Pohl was heartbroken when Klocke, his partner for more than five decades, died in 2018.
He never got over Christel’s death, Rauscher said. He talked about her all the time and faithfully tended her birdhouses after her death.
Pohl was born in Berlin in 1935 and grew up in wartime Germany, emigrating to Ottawa in 1956.
Klocke, a master goldsmith, joined him from Germany during the 60s and the couple moved to the Toronto area in 1966, where they both plied their crafts until moving to Brockville about 15 years ago.
Wolfgang Pohl died at his Brockville home after he had loaded Thursday’s papers on his scooter for delivery.
He is survived by a son who lives in Western Canada, according to a neighbour. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.