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Graham, Alan

February 16, 2024

Date of Service: April 13, 2024

“Come honey bee, with thy busy hum, to fragrant blooms of apple come… Ah, sip their essence of sweet spring, and to their hearts thy soft touch bring.”                                                                                                                       -Emma Hope

On Feb.16, 2024, at 103.5 years of age, the extraordinary life of Alan Graham came to a peaceful end.

Dad will be forever missed by Dick and Joanne leMaistre of Winnipeg; Jeanie Weikle of Airdrie;

Margot and Terry Mack of Regina; four grandchildren Janice (Grant), Patrick (Pamela), Alicia (Chad),

Graham (Renee) and five great grandchildren Jack, Isla, Wyatt, Jake and Alexander.  Dad also leaves

nephew John of Florida; sister-in-law Doreen of Virginia Beach and her family, as well as Cousin Jane’s family in Wisconsin.   We thank Dad’s “village of friends”, near and far, for their loyalty and support to Dad, over these many years. 

Dad’s extraordinary life was supported and made complete for 54 years, with our mom Jintie, who passed away in 1998.   Love came again for Dad with Elva Buchanan, (Bev, Rolly & Fran, and their families) until Elva’s passing in 2017.  Before flying “solo” at 101.5 Dad once again called Coaldale home, sharing happy times with Ida Brett (and her family).  Dad divided his last years within the senior communities of The View and Buffalo Grace Manor in Lethbridge. 

Just a wee lad of 2 years, Dad emigrated from England to Canada in 1922 with his mother Nellie and big brother Bob.  Reuniting with his father William and his Uncle Jack, the Grahams settled just a half mile west of Coaldale; making it not only their family home, but the founding cell of the honey business:  W & J Graham Commercial Honey.   He attended school in Coaldale up to grade eleven; completing grade 12 at Mount Royal College in Calgary.  Back for a second year, Dad also enrolled in the Airforce Officer’s training program.  Medical issues prevented him from flying, and with the honey farm back at home, he was honorably discharged and directed to return to Coaldale for the duration of the war and help keep the honey farm fully operational.

A family business from the very start, Dad continued the legacy of commercial beekeeping.   Much like his father before him, Dad was instrumental in change and a major contributor to the development of the beekeeping industry.  He served as President of the Southern Alberta Beekeepers Association, the Alberta Beekeepers Association, and the Canadian Beekeepers Council and was a founding Director of the Alberta Honey Producers Co-operative.  Awarded the title of Master Beekeeper of Alberta in 1961, Dad was also awarded a Lifetime Membership to the Honey Cooperative in 2015.

He wound down his commercial apiary career in 1975, having reached an operation of 2000 hives, and sold to long-time friend and employee Doug McCann.  He remained in the Pink House in Coaldale, working as a Real Estate Agent for a good many years with ….. “just a few hives” on the side!!  No surprise then, after retiring from real estate, that Dad was recruited by Plant Genetics Systems to become their Hive Inspector.  He served in that role until he was 85.

Dad believed in the value of civic duty and giving back to your community and country.  To that end he wore many hats over the years; notably as Mayor of Coaldale from 1953-57, again from 1962-67 and for the third time from 1998 – 2001.  In addition,  he was a founding member of the Coaldale Kinsmen Club; a long time Board Member of the United Church and instrumental in the establishment of the Coaldale Library.  Dad was honoured to be awarded with the Coaldale Citizen of the Year award in 1994.   A proud Canadian, he again felt there was value in being an active citizen and so served for 2 terms (six years) as Chairperson for the Board of Referees under the Minister of Employment and Immigration.  Dad also joined the Liberal Party, playing an active role for many years within the S. A. Liberal Association.

Humble at the core, Dad approached life with humour, kindness and a generous spirit.  He was a gentle man who lived with purpose and steadfast commitment to his family, friends, colleagues and community.  At his 100th birthday he was quoted as saying:  “You get out of this world what you put into it and right now I feel I’m quite satisfied by my life”.   One can’t add much more to that.  Cheers Dad!!

A gathering will be held Saturday, April 13, 2024 at 2 p.m. in the Atrium of the Coaldale Town Square

Main Street, Coaldale.

Dad’s passion for bees remained undiminished and so we ask, in lieu of flowers, that you consider planting a bee friendly pollinator in your yard (or pots) allowing the bees to “continue their buzz!”