1925 ~ 2015
“It was a dark and stormy night” – as his favourite Christmas special “Peanuts” characters would say – when Al Antonson slipped away to join Mom on their long-planned “tour of the universe”, just like they used to dream about. Our Dad, brother, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle – and friend to countless people – left us in the wee small hours of October 31st, just shy of his 90th birthday. Dad was a proud Christmas baby of Norwegian heritage, born December 25th, 1925 in a tarpaper shack in the middle of 640 acres of rented land in Success, Saskatchewan. He moved with his family to BC during the rough and demanding Dirty Thirties and forever after asked people “What’s your Saskatchewan connection?” Dad often said “I left Success at the age of ten, and have been looking for it ever since!” He was rightly proud of his military career as a Lance Corporal, ‘corporal instructor’, and marksman. Most, though, he was thrilled with meeting Elsie Bailey (Mom), who also hailed from Saskatchewan (Wynyard), while they both served their country in 1946. They married in 1947, and Brian (Sue), Rick (Janice), Judy (Bob), and Greg followed into a fun, fortunate and exciting family, including grandkids Jeremy and Kristin (Tim) and Brent and Sean (Hilary) and Andrew, and great grandkids Tristin and Sierra, and Riley and Declan (and their grandmother, Wendy). Al’s engaging business career was varied – as a magazine editor and columnist, Marketing and Sales Manager with Nabob Foods, Exhibit Space Manager and Assistant Manager of the Fair for the PNE, and finally with Conventions Unlimited. He made an active commitment to the Lutheran Church, one that led him through many adventures, and there were contributions and leadership roles for his community, among the many, at Camp Luther, AgriFair, and Burnaby Heritage Village. Al and Elsie travelled the world, and welcomed an endless and enviable stream of friends and family to their homes in Burnaby and, for the past 20+ years, at Carriage Lane in Abbotsford. Dad was “an ideas guy”, and someone’s simple suggestion could bring forth pages of ideas from him, freely offered, and wisely accepted. His family genealogy work was a massive undertaking, and his encyclopedic knowledge of our family history over the centuries was compelling; his research smarts were akin to those of Sherlock Holmes. They lent their name and support to the Al and Elsie Antonson Military Library at the Canadian Military Education Centre in Chilliwack. After Mom passed away four years ago, Dad’s “spark” fluttered, and slowly faded. He moved to Menno Home in Abbotsford two years ago, and his salutation of “God Bless – we love you” became familiar to everyone. The staff at Menno Home repeatedly said that he stood out among their guests, and was “incredibly special” and we thank them so much for taking such good care of him. So many of them dropped by his room to be with him as his departure time neared, offering their loving goodbyes. Dad’s big and amazing heart kept ticking through his last 48 hours, until he slipped away quietly on the early morning of Saturday, October 31st. He’s survived by his older brother Alf in Kelowna, and relatives in Norway, and across Canada and the United States. We’ll gather to celebrate Dad’s wonderful life at 2:00 pm on Saturday, November 7th, at Peace Lutheran Church, 2029 Ware Street, in Abbotsford (604.859.5409). Dad touched so many people in so many ways over so many years. He won’t be attending though… true to their plans, Dad and Mom are already exploring the universe together.
Online condolences to the family may be made to: www.wiebeandjeskefh.com
Wiebe & Jeske – 604.859.5885