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.Print This Obituary & Condolences