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HEMSTOCK – Russell Alexander “Alex”, M.Sc., P.Eng.

February 17, 1921 – August 6, 2010

Russell Alexander “Alex” Hemstock beloved husband of Emily of Calgary, passed away peacefully at the Father Lacombe Care Centre on Friday, August 6, 2010 at the age of 89 years.

Alex was the oldest of three children born to Russell and Annie Hemstock on a farm near Hanna, Alberta. Alex had an inquisitive mind. He began his learning on the farm and at the family coal mine that helped support them through the depression. His formal education began at Dundee School near Hanna and he was home-schooled through high school. After his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Alberta, he went on to what he called the Imperial Oil College of Knowledge.

The years he spent at Imperial Oil, Arctic Gas and Hardy Associates were challenging and rewarding. He was a pioneer in the study of soils and ice in northern Canada and of the oil sands in northern Alberta. His work took him abroad to Libya, the Soviet Union, and Europe. His greatest passion, however, was the mineral science of what he called God’s Country – the great, expansive Canadian north. He was recognized with numerous awards, among them Oilman of the Year, the J.C. Sproule Memorial Award, and the Centennial Award from the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta. He was a Fellow of Engineers Canada, a distinguished lecturer for The Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, and he authored many papers on permafrost, the oil sands, and environmental issues and ethics in professional practice.

Alex was generous with his time, freely giving back to the engineering profession by passing on his expertise to young engineers. He was the president of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta, as well as the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers. He was a great community man as well, and worked with the Lions Club, Providence Creche, Wesley United Church, and was president of the community organization at Venture Out in Mesa, Arizona, where he and Emily were snow birds for more than twenty-five years.

Alex’s family life sustained him. In 1945, he met Emily Keeley in Norman Wells, N.W.T and they were married soon after. The years swept them from Edmonton, Redwater, and Devon to Calgary where they settled with their nine children, eleven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. He enjoyed life in many ways, from reading his kids the poetry of Robert Service to digging in his Royal Avenue garden. He was a woodworker, a barber, a golfer, a card player, and a smooth dancer with his favourite partner.

Alex’s ethics will continue to be an inspiration to all who were lucky enough to spend time with him; his kindness and gentle ways will stay with all of us in the years to come. He will be missed by his beloved Emily; daughters, Sister Anne SP, Mary Jane (Gary Cioni), Catherine (Stephen Lee), Betty (Roy Mayfield) and Sue; sons, Jim (Nancy Gray), Bill (Edie Berlinghof), John (Suzanne Journault), and Chris (Brenda Owens); grandchildren, Tony, Sarah Jane, Laura, Karen, Jacob, Naomi, Russell, Sandra, Katie, Mark, and Jennifer; and his great-grandchildren, Monica Jane, Cleo, Niccolo, Noah, and Nadia; sister Margaret (Leo Pearce); brother Alan (Diane Wiebe); and his cousin Dr. Jack Hemstock. Uncle Alex will also be remembered by many nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers and Tributes at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church (1414 Shawnessy Boulevard S.W.) on Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 10:15 a.m. Forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. No flowers. If friends so desire, memorial donations may be made directly to the Father Lacombe Care Centre Foundation, 332 146th Ave. SE, Calgary, AB T2X 2A3. The family deeply appreciates the compassionate staff of the Father Lacombe Care Center, Unit 62 of the Foothills Hospital and Dr. E.Verbeek, who made Alex’s last months with Parkinson’s disease more comfortable.

In living memory of Alex Hemstock, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek Chapel, 14441 BANNISTER ROAD S.E. Telephone: (403) 256-9575.

Offer Condolence for the family of HEMSTOCK – Russell Alexander “Alex”, M.Sc., P.Eng.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Patricia Oxendale :

    To the Hemstock family

    I am very sorry to see the passing of your Father. He left a wonderful legacy.

    Pattie Oxendale

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  2. Terrence J. Boyle :

    Dear Emily:
    I was so very sad to hear that Alex died. Over the decades since 1972 I followed so closely your Christmas letters, hearing about your grand families growing and working all over North America.
    I will have a Mass said for Alex and for all the Hemstocks.
    Regards,
    Terry Boyle

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  3. Laurie Gerke :

    John and Suzanne:

    Sorry to hear of your Father’s passing. His obituary is very compelling and he must have lived a very full and interesting life.

    Best wishes!
    Laurie Gerke

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  4. Marguerite (Sweeney) Knight :

    My prayers are with all of you. What wonderful friends and neighbors you were to the Sweeney family. God Bless, Marguerite

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  5. Those of us who knew and worked with Alex will always remember him. Very few people have impressed my life the way he did. Thanks Alex. Ray

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  6. Lois Wiebe Kingsford :

    Dear Em and family,
    I was greatly saddened to hear of Alex’s passing and wish to express my deepest sympathy to all of you. I remember Alex as a very sweet man, warm, friendly and with a great sense of humor. I haven’t seen any of you for years as my life has been in Oregon since I graduated from college here, but I have dear memories of you and Alex. May God give you peace and comfort at this time. Lois (Diane’s sister)

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  7. Judi Murakami :

    Dear Cathy and Stephen
    Dale and I hold you and your family in our thoughts. It is sad to lose a parent, but we know that you will share happy memories in your gathering together to celebrate his life.

    Hugs
    Judi

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  8. Judge Sandra Hamilton :

    John joins me in sending condolences to all of the family on the loss of such a vital and accomplished family member. May the empty spot left by his absence be filled with wonderful memories of him . Sandra Hamilton and John James

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  9. Debbie Goeson :

    My thoughts are with you Sue and your family at this time. I hope your memories of happier times will help you to heal, and care on. God Bless.
    Debbie Goeson

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  10. Colleen Hoppins :

    My thoughts are with you.

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  11. Denis McGrath :

    John and Family

    Please accept my condolences on the loss of your father.

    I recall your father as being a very talented and kind man.

    Sincerely,

    Denis McGrath

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  12. Tricia Visser :

    To the Hemstock family,

    Thinking of you and your family. My prayers are with you.

    Tricia Visser

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  13. Michael & Rosalyn Martin :

    Dear Emily and family,
    We were so sorry to hear of the death of Alex. We still have fond memories when we were a young family living across the street from you and you were such a tremendous help and inspiration with your own family.
    Our 4 children and 9 grandchildren all live in Calgary and we are truly blessed.
    With prayers and loving thoughts.
    Rosalyn & Michael
    Robert, Deanna, Mary Ellen & Suzanne

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  14. Dear Mrs. Hemstock and family

    I am greatly saddened to read of Alex’s death. I knew him from when I first moved to Calgary and worked with him at Arctic Gas 35 years ago. I will always remember his unfailing good cheer, his steadiness, his sense of humour, his dedication and all the encouragement he gave me while I was studying engineering with Chris.

    I will remember him and you in my prayers.

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  15. Ken Croasdale :

    To the Hemstock Family, please accept my condolences and best wishes. Alex helped shape my career when I joined Imperial Oil in 1968. He was the established Arctic expert within the company. I became involved in gathering ice data for Beaufort Sea activities and he was a fine mentor in helping me develop ideas and plans. I always regarded him as a man of knowledge and integrity with an accompanying modesty. He initiated the formation of the Arctic Petroleum Operators Association (APOA)in 1970, aimed at conducting joint research in the Arctic. He was a leader and man of vision – and clearly a great family man. The world needs more like Alex Hemstock.

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  16. Dear Emily and family;
    Fran and I are so sorry to read of Alex’s death. He was a proud engineer, a man of principle, a true gentleman, and a good friend. He was a delight to work with. His far seeing concern for the future of Alberta’s water resources will long remain with us.
    Tim Benson – Past President A.P.E.O and C.C.P.E.

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  17. Glenn and Rita Kubik & Family :

    To the Hemstock Family

    We wish to express our deepest sympathy and best wishes to all of you. Mr. Hemstock was truly a wonderful person, and we hope that the fond memories of your husband, father and grandfather help you through this difficult time.

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  18. Catherine Barroll :

    To Betty and all the Hemstocks, especially Emily. My thoughts and prayers are with you… I remember Mr. Hemstock as a very kind and funny man, and he and Mrs. Hemstock shared a deep love and affection that was apparent even to the little girl I was when I visited your home. How lucky you were to have him for all these years. What a wonderful life he had!

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  19. Dear Emily and family,
    It was with deep sorrow that I heard of Alex’s recent passing. Alex was so important and influential to the lives of so many people and I know I am far from alone in expressing how helpful and important he was to me. He was patient and kind but most importantly he was a peerless mentor and role model when I most needed one.

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  20. Honourable Nick Taylor :

    Peg and my sympathy to all the family. He was a great Albertan and always so wise and thoughtful as I first remember him when he was my instructor in Mining Engineering at UA in 1947. May God Bless. Thank you for letting so many people share Alex’s work and wisdom these many years. Peg and Nick Taylor

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