A photo of the Mayor wearing black robes and a large ornamental necklaceWalter Melund Assef was born May 31, 1913, in Sioux Lookout. A member of the first Thunder Bay City Council, and a long-time Fort William Councillor, Assef served as Mayor for 11 years. He was first elected in 1973, lost to Dusty Miller for the 1979-1980 term, and then served two more terms until 1985.

During Assef's tenure as Mayor, the governance structure for the City was established and construction projects brought basic infrastructure up to the same standards across the city. Assef campaigned against the construction of the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, which had been brought to a plebiscite several times, and refused to attend its opening in 1985.

Assef became a notorious local figure. Sometimes called "Jolly Wally" (a nickname reportedly invented by Prince Phillip), he made news when photographs appeared to show him exercising a certain familiarity with Queen Elizabeth during her visit in 1973. Although popular with voters, others involved in politics found he could be difficult to work with.

Born: May 31, 1913, in Sioux Lookout, Ontario

Died: January 14, 1988

Fort William Councillor: 1961-1964, 1966-1969

Thunder Bay Councillor: 1970-1972

Mayor: 1973-1978, 1981-1985


Previous Mayor: Mayor Saul Laskin 

Next Mayor: Mayor Eleanor Joan (Dusty) Miller


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