PEDERSEN, Wallace Gregory
March 7, 1961 - April 5, 2013
The world has a huge empty space in it today. It used to be filled with the large, strong, ebullient personality of a larger-than-life, strong, ebullient man. Wallace (Wally) Pedersen lost his courageous battle with brain cancer at his ranch northwest of Cochrane at the age of 52 years. And, oh, he will be deeply, deeply missed.
Husband, father, son, brother, rancher, oilman, outdoorsman, Wally wore many shirts, and all with an iron-clad integrity, honesty and joy in life. He was born in Turner Valley, the youngest son of Bill and Joan Pedersen and grew up in Calgary with his brother and best friend Will. Almost every weekend was spent with his brother and Dad, fishing or hunting in the mountains. Being of independent nature he often backpacked alone into the mountains to find the peace and beauty that only nature can bring. Indoors, Wally felt cramped – where he wanted to be was outside, preferably salmon fishing or high up, on an unsullied meadow in the mountains or at home on his beloved ranch. Some of his dearest memories were spent with his family on the Queen Charlotte Islands exploring and fishing. Wally was an intrepid adventurer and vacationing with him meant looking over every ridge and exploring every path less followed. As well, riding trails was second nature, so much so that he and Will formed a guiding and outfitting company, on weekends taking city slickers by horseback on camping trips deep into the Rockies and guiding hunters in the fall. And that was when he met Bernadette (nee Reich); a definite city slicker and the woman who would become his best friend, his darling wife, and the mother of his children, Kylee and Danielle, and the love who would care for him through his final days. But Wally's was a life that, by his own admission, was well-lived.
His pride and joy were his daughters and what a great father he was. When he did something, he gave it 110 per cent. Wally had an intense thirst for knowledge, and spent countless hours reading everything from history books, to the bible, to National Geographic. He graduated from SAIT with degree in petroleum technology and went on to U of Alberta, graduating with a BSc Hons. in Geology, receiving the Bill Elder Scholarship and the P.S. Warren Memorial Prize. His early years of work included well site in the Arctic, seismic in Alberta, and prospecting in the Yukon and northwest US. He worked and consulted for various companies, eventually forming his own oil company, Cowboy Exploration, with his brother Will. At the same time he and Bernadette were building their ranch, where the family would raise cattle, horses, some squabbling chickens, dogs, cats and their beloved daughters. He loved to play hockey, ride horses and the exercise from ranch work kept him incredibly fit. You had to laugh, knowing Wally. He never met an opinion he did not like. He would expound on any subject, usually at top volume with a crinkle to his eyes that showed he was enjoying every minute. He met the diagnosis of brain cancer with the same character that he met every challenge in life; with courage, faith, and uncomplaining humour and strength. During his illness he travelled to Israel where he was baptized in the Jordan River, accepting Jesus into his heart, and where he and Bernadette renewed their wedding vows.
His dream of owning a ranch was fulfilled and his respite was sitting on his porch looking over his horses and cattle, down the valley with a view to the mountains. And that is where he met his death at home, a view to the west of the mountains where he found such solace, surrounded by the deep love of Bernadette, Kylee and Danielle, his parents Joan and Bill, brother Will and sister-in-law Laurie, who all cared for him and loved him to the very end. His Auntie Carol, nieces Claire and Emma and friend Trent were at his side many days before his passing. He is also survived by mother-in-law Teresa Reich; brothers-in-law Tim (Ann) and Terry; nieces and nephews Nicki (Bashir), Jeffrey, Stephen and Sarah. He was predeceased by father-in-law William Reich.
Funeral Services will be held at Centre Street Church "Central Campus" (3900 - 2 Street N.E.) on Friday, April 12, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. Memorial tributes can be made directly to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (www.natureconservancy.ca). The family would like to thank staff at Tom Baker, especially Dr. de Robles and Jenna, and the compassionate team from Cochrane Palliative Care. The world is too quiet now, without that wonderful, vocal, exuberant, independent, honourable man.
We will miss him forever.
Until we meet again,
In living memory of Wallace Pedersen, a tree will be planted at Big Hill Springs Park, Cochrane.
Published in The Calgary Herald from Apr. 8 to Apr. 10, 2013