31 May, 1936 – 17 April, 2021
It is with sadness we announce the passing of Harold Alan Souther, our much loved husband, father and papa, on Saturday, April 17th at the age of 84 years.
He is survived by his loving wife and best friend of almost 53 years, Margaret, his children Robert (Lori) and Laura (Riel), and his grandsons Peter, Reed, Liam, Jesse and Nate. He is also fondly remembered by nieces and nephews (Jacie, David, Janet and Brent), dear friend Ryan (Char) and extended family in B.C. and Alberta. Alan is predeceased by his father Wilf, mother Edna, sister Dorothy, brother-in-law Jim, his nephew Chesley and niece Cathy.
Alan was born on May 31, 1936 in Edmonton, Alberta and made his way to the island as a child when his father moved the family to Port Alberni to construct wartime housing. He graduated from the ‘new’ Alberni District High School in 1954 and continued his love of learning at UBC, earning degrees in both Political Science and Abnormal Psychology. Alan returned to Port Alberni to be a part of the two family businesses, Souther Construction and Community Colour Centre and Building Supply.
Alan always appreciated the support shown by the community towards his business. In turn, it was important to him that he gave something back and he was always ready to lend a hand. He committed countless hours to the local Boy Scouts, was a longtime member and president of the local Kiwanis Club and fundraised yearly for the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia. It was a proud moment for their children when Alan and Margaret were recognized for their volunteerism and awarded Citizen of the Year in 1994. Al never did these things for recognition, he did it because for him, it was just the right thing to do.
At the core of who he was, Al was a guy with a big heart and a quirky sense of humour that kept his friends, and even his family, guessing at times. He was the maker of Sunday breakfasts, the giver of nicknames, the grower of peppers, and the absolute number one Toronto Blue Jays fan. He loved to learn, travel and explore, with his trips to Blue Jays Spring training in Florida, Australia and Africa with Marg being highlights of his life. Al was always a proud father to his children and was an especially proud Papa to his 5 grandsons.
Al had great friends and neighbours. Margaret and family have appreciated the different ways that they have been so giving of their time and support. The family would also like to thank Dr. Marc Puts and the medical staff at West Coast General Hospital for everything they did to make Alan as comfortable as possible during his illness.
If you would like to make a donation in Alan’s name, please consider one of these organizations that he believed in: the BC Cancer Society, Alberni Hospice Society, the Alzheimer Society of BC and BC Children’s Hospital.
Due to Covid restrictions, no public service will be held and a private family gathering will take place at a later date.
So the next time there’s a Jays game on TV, crack a beer and give a cheers to ‘Big Al’.
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Byron and Nita Brooks
1 May 2021
To The Souther Family:
Al was a wonderful, and different kind of guy, as Nita and I soon learned after making his acquaintance some years ago when he and Margaret visited our home in Newfoundland to help celebrate the marriage of our daughter, Lori, to their son, Robert (Rob).
Margaret, you say in the obituary that Al was a “Giver of Nicknames”. This first became evident to us when Rob introduced Lori to you and Al, and he started to call her, Truck! – synonym of the word, lorry! I thought that a little interesting, but that was just the beginning.
In preparation for the outdoor wedding it was my job to collect the rental chairs. Al volunteered to help. After loading the truck, the clerk passed the bill to Al who smiled and said: “I’m only the assistant, this man here is the chair-man”. The nickname stuck. Last December when I received their annual Christmas package, it was addressed to: The Chairman! No name, just Box Number and Postal Code. The Clerk looked at me strangely and wrinkled her brow when she passed me the package. It’s a small town and she knows I’m not a chairperson of anything in the town.
Margaret, Nita and I have always loved to visit with you and Al. You have always been generous and receptive to all the members of our family. Many times, Al demonstrated his kind and sharing nature, smiling as he served us breakfast, or a dinner of barbequed ribs. We got along well together. Frequent games of cards at the cottage in Parksville, of which Al would want me to say that he and I won most of the games against you and Nita, even though that might not be an accurate report.
Reminiscing now, there is one thing I would wish – that I had known Al when we were both much younger. I think we would have been great buddies, hanging out together and helping out each other. It was great knowing, Al.
Margaret: Nita and I send our sincere sympathy to you and the family for your great loss.
Byron and Nita, Lori, Michael, Jonathan and Melanie.
Dennis and Lynn Zarbock
30 April 2021
We always remember that smile and the sense of humour, he was a wonderful human being. We are sending you huge hugs and lots of love to all of you with our deepest condolences xo