SMITH, George Alban (Al)
Apr 11, 1924 – Aug 18, 2021

There is a saying about life that goes: “We are all on the same train, just different cars”. Our father enjoyed this metaphor, being a life-long train lover. His car reached its destination on August 18th after a brief illness. We imagine that our mother was there to meet him at the station.
Dad was born and raised in Wetaskiwin with his sister Margaret. He was given his first electric train set at age four, setting him on tracks he would follow throughout his life.
Following high school and awaiting the opportunity to enlist for service during WWII he taught grades one to eight in a one-room schoolhouse near Bonnyville. He had very fond memories of the experience and of the children and their families.
WWII found him enlisted in the Navy and sent to eastern Canada where he was involved in developing technologies related to communications and radar. Trains again figured in his life as he was
shuffled between various postings in Quebec and the Maritimes.
Following the war, he met our mother at the University of Alberta where both were taking advantage of the Veterans Rehabilitation Act. Their courtship did not have a Hollywood start when Dad lost his temper with an attractive young lady during a rehearsal for a radio play he was directing for CKUA. He soon regretted this and thereafter made it his goal to win her heart. He succeeded, they married, and built a home in the Highlands in which they lived for seventy years. Here he commandeered half of the basement in which he created his model railroad layout.
Trains would also be the mainstay of his working life. He was employed by the Northern Alberta Railway in telecommunications for over thirty years. This provided him with the ability to take his family on the cross-Canada trips we enjoyed as children. Being held up at railway crossings were a delight for Dad and he enjoyed lecturing us children on the provenance of the various passing
rail cars.
Seventy-five years in Freemasonry saw Dad actively involved with Patricia Lodge #91, the “railroad lodge”, Allenby Chapter #38 of the Eastern Star and Bethel 13 of the International Order of Job’s Daughters.
A passion for nature, after decades of camping with us, led Dad and Mum to purchase a property in the wetlands north of Westlock where they established a cottage. There they could observe and enjoy all aspects of nature and allow their beloved dogs to run freely. The property was aptly name “Puppy’s Paradise”
In later life he and Mum set out to see the world. He was always interested in other people and his travels gave him an appreciation and respect for people of all backgrounds.
He was a man of faith who served and attended Highlands United Church where he was married and where he will be memorialized. He was an avid reader, a life-long learner, a good listener and generous with his time and actions. He was famous within the family for his plays on words which we named “smithisms”.
Dad was predeceased by Trudy, his wife of seventy years. He leaves his four children, Christine Vernon (Gary), Heather Peden, Alban Smith (Kathleen) and Lorna Fidler (Derek). He also leaves many grandchildren, great grandchildren, and two great, great grandchildren who were the delight of his final years.
The family wishes to extend our sincere gratitude to the staff of the Norwood Choice Program and the Churchill Retirement Residence for making his final years a warm and pleasant experience.
Due to Covid-19 a memorial service will be postponed for the time being.
Allen Kenneth Ireland (Al)
September 24, 1930 – August 7, 2021
It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Allen Ireland. Allen was born in Hamilton, Ontario to Walter and Susan Ireland. He loved to sail and, like his father, was a wonderful woodworker and tinkerer. Above all he was happiest when he sang, told stories and made people laugh. Allen is survived by his wife, Diane; daughter Christine (Ron); son Brock; grandchildren Marlo, Megan and Alison; nieces Sara and Valerie Holden.
We would like to sincerely thank Bethany Sylvan Lake for their wonderful care of Al this past year. His spirit now soars with our angel boy, Harrison.
Donations in Al’s memory, in lieu of flowers, may be sent to the Highlands United Church and/or the SPCA.

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