Remembering Stu Basquin, friend to the library and community

Stuart Basquin, a dedicated volunteer, former Elkhart Public Library board trustee, and founding board member of the Friends of the Elkhart Public Library, passed away Feb. 9, 2024

Following his retirement from Elkhart Products Corp., Stu dedicated himself to volunteering and serving the community through various organizations. 

He volunteered at St. David’s Episcopal Church, the YMCA, SCORE, CARES, and the Elkhart County Court Services juvenile probation program, as well as the Elkhart Rotary Club. 

Stu was involved in serving the library with his appointment to the Board of Trustees. He later helped re-launch the not-for-profit Friends group in the 2000s. 

“He was instrumental in leading the group from the beginning and getting it organized,” says Gayle Windsor, who joined the group shortly after it started. 

Darlene Eddy, another early Friends member, remembers his passion for the library and his ability to lead meetings. 

“He loved books and the library, and he saw it as a very vital organization for Elkhart,” Darlene says. “He had a real skill at being able to chair meetings in a tactful way. It’s hard to chair meetings. (He had an) understanding of the group dynamics and points of view.” 

Stu was also skilled at getting others involved, according to Gayle. 

“He was very good at recruiting people. That’s how I got involved,” she says. 

Gayle remembers going to a library book sale to browse and pick out some books. Stu started talking to her, and soon he convinced her to come to a meeting and join the board. 

“He led us through all the beginning growing pains. I don’t think the Friends group would have lasted without the foundation that he helped build from the beginning,” says Gayle. 

That ability to get others involved was echoed by Phyllis Hochstetler, another early Friends board member. 

“He was really good at working with people,” says Phyllis. “He talked me into being the vice president. The main duty was taking care of the membership list.” 

She says that in those early days, selling books out of the bookmobile garage was the main effort of the group. 

“Stuart put in a lot of time out there,” she says. 

His loss will be felt by many who worked with him and were touched by his service, Darlene says. 

“I had a lot of respect for him, I think many people will be mourning his loss and will be wanting to extend condolences to his family,” she says. “He really made a difference; I don’t think we would have a Friends of the Library group without his leadership at that time.” 

Stuart is survived by his sister, a son, three daughters, and eight grandchildren.