Fredrick (Fred) Ivan Palen (1938 - 2016)

Obituary
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PALEN, Fredrick Ivan
April 28, 1938 – May 30, 2016
If we are lucky in life, we might get to meet one
person who is truly extra ordinary, that is:
completely out of the ordinary. Fred was
that kind of guy. He started life in a family
of 12 kids in the Rural Municipality
of Odanah in Manitoba. He grew up
playing hockey, plucking chickens and
attending a one room (grades 1- 12)
school house in Carberry. It was in that
little school that he first began to shine.
It was impossible to tell what grade he
was in as he absorbed knowledge like a
sponge! This casual approach to learning
may have been detrimental in some ways but it
nurtured a free spirit that blossomed as Fred reached out in every direction
to stuff his mind; making him a virtual 'Mr. Google' before most of us
were even aware of the breadth and depth of the universe… and as a
consequence, Fred had opinions.
On one level Fred could be seen as a 'regular folk' working away at a
variety of jobs (chicken plucker, RCAF Navigator, Certified Engineering
Technologist, road construction technician, insurance salesman, university
lab tech, entrepreneur (his wife worked!), printer, greeter… whatever
was needed to keep bread on the table. But, all the while, his heart and
brain were working overtime. Always sticking up for the underdog, he
championed and won decent and equitable pay for highway workers while
he worked at Manitoba Highways and he was passionate about local and
national politics wherever he was. Always asking: "How does this affect
the little guy?" An ardent nationalist, he firmly believed that he had been
blessed to have been born at the best time in the best country in the world
(blessed by whom, we might ask!). Dare we say he was a Liberal? …but
one who would go out pounding signs in for a friend who was running for
the PC's! Fred's library would make Stephen Hawking proud. While he was
cracking concrete cylinders or testing circuits he would be off in his multidimensional
world wrestling with the concept of singularities, black holes,
general relativity and quantum mechanics. Fred was different. He actually
understood this stuff.
Notwithstanding his complex lifestyle, Fred's major focus remained his
"Palen" family of which he was fiercely proud. He saw his family as being
bound by invisible bonds of love and loyalty and being an open community
with the ability grow by accretion. He started to build his part of it with
Lorraine in Stoney Mountain, Manitoba in the 60's and continued when
he embraced Rosemarie Schmidt (Rose) the love of his life (1978) and
they blended their families into one. Fred walked the talk. He fought for
women's equity and, at home he strongly encouraged and fully supported
Rose to go back to school and get her Accounting Certificate.
Fred's Dad, Hugh, was a chicken farmer in the days before quota's and
everyone had to work to keep the family afloat. Fred's early years were
tough but he learned some important lessons. One, after his mother,
Helen, died when he was just 4, he learned from his new Mom, Margaret:
that you simply love children for who they are. He applied this lesson
to his own life, embracing all his kids Susan (Mike), Ken (Soraya), John
(Missy), Angela (Paul), and Naomi (John) with equal affection and similarly
delighting in his grandkids (Corbin, Paxton and Hadrian Carroll, Yukina
Holmes, and Hugh and Jaxon Palen).
Fred is predeceased by his brothers, Dwight and Wesley, and also his
sister, Ann Eurich. He is survived by his brothers Alexander, Ken,
William (Pearl), Hugh (Candace) and Alan; and sisters Louise Berglund,
Kathy (Jan) Renwick and Margaret (Ron) Gay.
Fred loved life. He loved living in 'greater' Cochrane and embracing all
that the town had to offer: the Bearspaw Fair, working with Rose in her
printing shop, running for council (and coming in last – what a loss that
was! … not for Fred, but for Cochrane!), joining the Debate Club at A&W,
the Saskatoon pie contests, antique auctions, meeting folks at Walmart
and biking… man, did he enjoy biking and his biking buddies! True to his
character, Fred didn't just 'bike around'. No, for Fred, it was off to Texas
on his 'Ching-Chang', across Canada with his Yamaha rig, off to Winnipeg
on his can-am Spyder, and a great trip to Winnipeg was planned for this
summer. When Fred had an idea he didn't just talk about it, he went ahead
and did it… with every detail planned out. He was a friendly, outgoing
member of the community with a tight network of family and friends, and
his dynamic presence will be missed by all who knew him.
Fred is gone. He has found his singularity and he remains a part of us all.
A Celebration of Fred's Life was held at Cochrane Alliance Church
(902 Glenbow Drive, Cochrane AB) on Monday, June 6th, 2016 at
11:00 am. If friends so desire, memorial tributes in Fred's
memory may be made directly to Kids Cancer Care www.
kidscancercare.ab.ca or charity of your choice.
Messages of condolence may be forwarded to the family
at www.cochranecountryfuneralhome.com. Arrangements
in care of Cochrane Country Funeral Home 403-932-1039.
Funeral Home
Cochrane Country Funeral Home
#6, 402 Railway Street West
Cochrane, AB T4C 2B6
(403) 932-1039
Funeral Home Details
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Published in The Cochrane Eagle on June 9, 2016