An Ageless Wonder – John Wackerle by Barbara Wackerle Baker

Check out the December/January edition of Our Canada for a wonderful article by Barbara Wackerlie Baker about her dad’s skiing.

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Alfie Burstrom

The warden service family has lost one of its icons.  Alfie Burstrom, age 86, suffered a stroke on November 24thand passed away quietly on Thursday, November 29th in the hospital in McBride, B.C. with his family by his side.  Alfie was predeceased by his wife, June, in January 2018.  They had been married for 65 years.  He is survived by his children Matt, Frank, June, May and Ed and their spouses, as well as 16 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Alfie was born in 1932 in Jasper, a son of Frank and Mary Burstrom.  Having completed his high school he joined the Canadian Armed Forces and served as an Engineer in the Korean War.  In 1953 he followed in the steps of his father and joined the National Park Warden Service.  The warden service was a perfect fit for Alfie due to the skills he had acquired during his youth in Jasper as well as skills acquired in the Canadian Army.

Eighteen years into his career an opportunity presented itself when the first search dog position was approved by Ottawa for National Parks. Alfie was the perfect candidate for a search dog handler due to his superb mountaineering skills, superior skiing and snowshoeing skills, but, in addition,  he possessed a unique ability in handling dogs. His own dog proved to be a perfect candidate for a search dog.  Ginger was part German Shepard and part coyote.  Together they made the perfect team.   Alfie and Ginger completed their training at the RCMP dog training facility in Innisfail, Alberta graduating as the first certified professional search dog team in North America.  The search dog program was a remarkable success but Alfie always maintained a quiet pride in his accomplishments with his dog.  Not only did Alfie conduct searches for Jasper National Park but often times he would be called by the RCMP as the closest RCMP dog was at Stony Plain. Alfie retired in 1987 and he and June enjoyed a quiet lifestyle in Valemount, B.C. After June’s passing he carried on living independently with that consistent quiet determination.

There is a lot more that could be said about Alfie Burstrom that could fill a book.  Both Alfie and June were not comfortable with drawing attention to themselves.  Alfie was well respected and admired by family, friends and his colleagues.  He will be missed by many.

It is Alfie’s wish that no service be held.

 

 

Obituary notice for Lance Cooper

With deeply saddened hearts we announce the passing
of Lance Dereck Cooper.

Born in Ontario, Edgewater, BC later became his home,
and the world, his to Explore.

In 1971, Lance joined the Warden Service where he became one of the original pioneers of the Mountain Rescue team. In 1981, he left the Warden Service to pursue his passion for flying, and became a pilot for the Mountain Rescue Team. His son Todd, follows in his incredible footsteps. Lance was awarded the Search and Rescue Award of Canada in 1988, The Alberta Emergency Services Medal
in 2009, and The Association of Canadian Mountain Guides Award
in 2013. Many more accomplishments and awards decorate the garage.

All throughout his lifetime, he fostered his love for animals and fishing which led him to Belize, PEI, and what soon came to be a second home to the family, the Florida Keys. His greatest love though, was that of his family and friends.

He leaves behind his loving wife of 47 years Linda, daughter Tanya, son Todd, and two rambunctious dogs. Also, his younger brother Rocky, nephew David, niece Brianne (Alex), and Godson Joshua. Additionally, extended family and many dear friends.

Lance would want nothing less than for all of us to continue to seek out adventure, cast a few lines and love hard.
In his famous last words “Don’t sweat the small stuff”.

A Celebration of Life will be held in the spring of 2019.