Ralph Hedlin of Calgary, passed away on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 at the age of 88 years.
In the 88 years between his birth in Renown, Saskatchewan and his death from pneumonia this week in Calgary, Ralph Olaf Hedlin excelled as a newspaper columnist, a political strategist, an entrepreneur who helped found Canada’s first real national economic consultancy and a serious thinker and writer about the history, the challenges and the opportunities of Western Canada in particular. And through it all, Hedlin enjoyed himself. He relished competition, he built strong friendships, he loved to hunt and fish and he never forgot his roots. Ralph’s success would have been no surprise to those who knew his forebears. His father, Oscar Hedlin, was among the first Swedish homesteaders who carved successful farms out of the then-wilderness of Saskatchewan. His mother, Edith Neatby, was from an English family who arrived in that wilderness with few farming skills, but with a huge library and a commitment to education that served the families and the province well. While serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, Ralph met his first wife, the then Betty Bagnall, who returned with him to Canada. Together, they raised four children in Winnipeg. Ralph made his living as a writer and photographer– for the Country Guide, the Winnipeg Free Press, Field and Stream, and MacLean’s. Ralph was also a key intelligence in the political renaissance that his close friend Duff Roblin ushered into that province. In the early 1960s, Ralph and his partner, Merrill Menzies established the Hedlin Menzies consultancy. After negotiating the sale of the company, Ralph moved to Toronto. His first marriage ended and he and his second wife, Heidi Redekop, played an active role in business and politics in Toronto and Ottawa. In the mid 1980’s Ralph’s lifelong interest in Western Canada and his expertise in energy matters drew him back to Calgary where he and his partner Terry Lauder established the Hedlin Lauder consultancy to the oil and gas industry. Ralph and Heidi bought a ranch – the 7H- and made it a magnet for friends, business associates and extended family. His children still refer to this as the “Ponderosa Years”.
Along the way, Ralph encouraged dozens of Canadian artists, turning his art collecting hobby into the art dealership Snyder Hedlin. He began to write for Alberta Report and the Calgary Herald. He was a friend and confidant of three Conservative premiers – Duff Roblin and Sterling Lyon of Manitoba and Peter Lougheed of Alberta.
Ralph is survived by his four children, Paul of Montreal, Susan (Mrs. Douglas Scott) of Toronto, Catherine of Edmonton, and Victoria (Mrs. Ian Barnes) of Kingston, ON; grandchildren, Victoria and Matthew; great-grandson Gabriel; and sister, Esther Bailey of Coronation, AB. He is predeceased by his four brothers, John, William, David and Donald and his wife, Heidi.
Funeral Services will be conducted at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Park Memorial Chapel (5008 Elbow Drive S.W.) on Monday, November 24, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. Ralph’s family invite you to join them to remember the happiness that marked most of his life. Forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to The Alzheimer Society of Alberta and the Northwest Territories, Administrative Office, 10531 Kingsway Avenue, Edmonton AB T5H 4K1. Tel: (1-866) 950-5465, www.alzheimer.ab.ca.
In living memory of Ralph Hedlin, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 Elbow Drive S.W. Telephone: (403) 243-8200Print This Obituary & Condolences