October 1, 1936 – January 22, 2021
We celebrate the rich life of Alan Eugene Grinnell who peacefully left this world on 22 January 2021. Described as a gentleman and a gentle man, Al was a dedicated son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and friend.
Al was born at the family farm in Abee, Alberta, on 1 October 1936, the fifth of eight children to Arza Eugene (1881-1944) and Kathleen Margaret (nee Benson) (1908-1981). At the tender age of nine his father passed away, and at age 13 the family relocated to Nanaimo BC. There Al completed high school and worked summers at his uncle Bill Benson’s farm in Cedar, BC.
In 1954 he joined the Canadian Air Force and trained in the field of electronic armament systems, serving 32 years. His career took him across the country and around the world, with postings in 2-Wing France; Cold Lake, AB; Bagotville, QC; 3-Wing Germany; Comox, BC; and Shearwater, NS. He retired in Comox in 1986 and settled for the second time in Cumberland.
While posted in Cold Lake, AB, Al travelled regularly to visit family in Abee, AB. There he met the love of his life Marjorie Parsons. They married in 1963 before moving to Quebec. Son Fredrick (Christina Main) was born in 1964. Twin daughters Deana (James Smerdon) and Donna (David Merry) were born in 1969.
He is survived by his loving wife, his children, grandchildren Seth Alan (2001) and Jessie Erin (2005) Merry, sisters Hazel Lahti (Tauno), Evelyn Fisher (Lloyd) and brothers W. Donald (Janice) and James (Barb). He proudly loved his 48 nieces and nephews. Al was predeceased by half-brothers Ralph (Emily) and Raymond (Beatrice), sisters Dorothy Hewitt (Aubrey), Jean Trudel (Phil) and younger brother Robert (Joyce).
Al’s generosity was quiet and steady. He lent his hands to many causes over the years including the Cumberland Community Church, and many Cumberland institutions including the Volunteer Fire Dept, the Historical Society, Community Policing Office, Legion, kids floor hockey, as well as coaching CRA Minor Softball and supporting Santa’s Workshop.
A major sports fan, Al would be pleased to know he left this world on the same day as Hammerin’ Hank Aaron. If only the Maple Leafs had won another cup!
Al’s sharp wit never left him. He would tell of how he once won a silver medal, running in a track meet against airmen in France, and was so proud of it he thought he should have had it bronzed!
Through his long struggle with lung disease and his perseverance, his showed his love for his family and God. He left this world and his tired body peacefully at home with Marjie at his side. Now he can run again and not grow weary. He will be missed beyond measure.
A celebration of life will be held when we can gather again. Donations in his memory may be made to Cumberland Community Church at Canadahelps.org or mailed to P.O. Box 438, Cumberland, BC V0R 1S0.Obituary
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