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LYSTER – Joseph Wesley “Wes”

April 6, 1923 – August 9, 2009

Joseph Wesley Lyster passed away on Sunday, August 9, 2009 at the age of 86. In March of 2009, he broke his hip and the last few months were spent in rehabilitation until he succumbed to a final bout of pneumonia.
Wes was born in Cabri, Saskatchewan on April 6, 1923, one of six children. The family moved to Empress, Alberta so his father could work on the railroad. His sister, Margaret Babuk of Calgary, is the only surviving sibling. He was predeceased by his brother Bill and sisters Vera, Olive Christmas and Alma Brodie.

Wes lied about his age (he was only 16) to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941. He was Honourably Discharged as a Rear Gunner the week before his unit was sent overseas due to a severe case of asthma. None of his fighting unit survived.

Wes married his wife of fifty-six years, Grace Trembath in Medicine Hat in 1942. They started their married life together in Empress, Alberta and then, with their two sons, Don and Dale, moved to Calgary in 1948. They first settled in Bridgeland before moving to Parkdale in 1952. Wes and Grace had many wonderful parties at their house in Parkdale. He particularly enjoyed roasting a turkey on the barbeque for family gatherings. Grace passed away in 1998 after a lengthy illness. Wes never missed a day going to see her during the four years she was in care.

Wes had a proud history with the Canadian Pacific Railway. He started as a wiper in 1940 and became an engineer in 1949. He served as the Secretary Treasurer for the local Engineers Union and in 1966 was made Road Foreman of Engineers, covering territory between Swift Current and Vancouver. Before returning to regular engine services in 1976, he served as a Trustee in the Insurance Department. He was elected by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers as a Special Representative from Canada (1977-81), and became Alternate Vice President in Canada (1981), then Vice President (1983), making many trips to Cleveland, Ohio to represent Canadian Engineers.

Wes was very well respected for his engineering expertise and gave evidence at several public inquiries, including derailments, passenger train mishaps, the Caboosless train inquiry and finally the Foisey Inquiry into the train collision at Hinton, Alberta before retiring in 1986.

Wes was very active in the Al Azhar Provost Unit of the Shriners and also enjoyed volunteering with the Calgary Police Department for many years.

Wes was an avid fisherman and hunter and liked to visit the Trembath relatives in Cabri, Saskatchewan in the fall of the year where he enjoyed duck hunting. Wes also enjoyed early morning golf games with his railroad buddies at Fox Hollow. He was a faithful fan of the Stampeders and Flames, had a great sense of humour and loved to debate politics.

Wes is survived by his son Don (Carol) and their daughters, Tracy (Don Mair) and Lauri (Simon Stribling); and Dale (Lynda) and their children, Erynn and Zachary.

A special thank you to Gert Leggat, Charlie and Brenda Hayes and Stan Kostka for their support and friendship during his final years.

Funeral Services will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S, Chapel of the Bells (2720 Centre Street North) on Friday, August 21, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. Forward condolences through If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Shriner’s Hospital For Children, 5225 – 101ST St. N.W., Calgary Ab T3L 1S4 Telephone: (403) 239-0030.

In living memory of Wes Lyster, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 CENTRE STREET NORTH Telephone: (403) 276-2296.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Barbara Downie & Bryan Gilbert :

    The love and respect so warmly expressed for your Dad, Dale, was touching. What a lovely person, one who lived a full and integrous life.
    Our sympathies to you and the family,
    Barb and Bryan

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  2. It is with sadness I heard of Uncle Wes’ passing. I wish I could be there for the service. He was my favourite uncle. I enjoyed his humour and the banter between him and his brother Bill (my dad). One time uncle Wes arranged for my bother, my mother and I to sit up front with the engineer on a train from Calgary… it was awesome! The gentlemen were told to keep their language in check… which they did for the most part.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers during this time of loss and the celebration of a life well lived…

    Cousin Jane

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