Former Surrey mayor dies in car crash

Ed McKitka remembered as one of the city's most controversial leaders

Ed McKitka

Ed McKitka

Ed McKitka, one of the Surrey’s most colourful mayors, has died.

McKitka was driving his truck near the Vedder River Bridge in Chilliwack on the morning of Feb. 4 when he got into a single-vehicle accident.

He did not survive his injuries. He was 75.

McKitka’s nephew Will confirmed he heard from his father that his uncle died in a car crash.

“My father told me he passed away in a car accident, very few details, and his understanding from his sister was that there was no service,” Will McKitka said Tuesday. “Even at this time, I don’t think there’s going to be anything for the family. It’s going to be very quiet, and that’s all I know.”

McKitka was first elected alderman in Surrey in 1968, and then became mayor for one term from 1975-77. He was subsequently voted out of office.

After that, following a police investigation, he was convicted of breach of trust and went to jail for misuse of the office of mayor.

After serving his time, McKitka returned and was voted back in as an alderman in 1980. On his return to Surrey council, McKitka leaned over to then-alderman Bob Bose and said, “Bose, you’re a loser.”

Bose, who went on to be mayor, remembers McKitka fondly.

“He was one of the most charismatic persons I’ve ever known,” Bose said. “Incorrigible, but you had to love him.”

Bose said there were only two people he knew of that could really light up city staff when they walked into city hall.

One was Bill Vander Zalm, the other was McKitka.