Allan Wayne Heiland
A Brilliant Mind and Giant Heart Or as Al would say with a twinkle in his eye… “A Very Remarkable Fellow”
Allan Wayne Heiland passed away on October 07, 2016 at Macaulay Lodge in Whitehorse, Yukon. He was born on December 21, 1936 in Round Hill, Alberta to Walter and Dagny.
Al grew up in Round Hill (near Camrose), Alberta. After high school he attended Camrose Lutheran College and toured with their renowned college choir. He had a lovely singing voice, capable of singing any part. Later, Al, his brothers, and a cousin formed the Heiland Barbershop Quartet. He loved to listen to a wide range of music, and particularly appreciated good harmony. Allan played a variety of instruments; autoharp, banjo, organ, mandolin, guitar and accordion, but it was always his baritone ukulele he brought to gatherings.
Al was a natural athlete, and excelled in any sport, particularly tennis, curling, and golf. He got the first hole-in-one on the Mountain View Golf Course (where he volunteered much his time during its construction). As a young man, he played baseball and for years, was hired as a tournament pitcher largely due to his 96 mph fastball.
Al married Verda in 1959 in Ft. St. John and started the family that was always his highest priority. Deanna, Cameron and Cassandra grew up knowing they were safe and loved and completely supported in everything they did. He was overjoyed to watch his family grow with the addition of his son-in-law, Terry; grand-children, Dustin and Bumper, Jessica and Ryan, and Jacob; and great-grandchildren Haiden, Jack and the new baby due this winter.
For 57 years, Al and Verda created a home where so many were welcomed with open hearts, and open arms, a lot of laughter and a lot of good food. They loved to have family and friends over for perogy dinners where the rule was, “If you don’t help make them, you don’t help eat them.” Al loved animals. He loved nature. He was an avid explorer and outdoorsman. Many weekends, he piled the family into a little Datsun car and went “4-bying” on mountain trails he pretended were roads. He enjoyed ski-dooing, fishing and four-wheeling. He also spent winters grooming cross-country ski trails and skiing with the family. Summer weekends were spent camping, mostly on the shores of Kathleen and Surprise Lakes.
Al’s hard-working farmer mentality; his creative mind, diverse interests, unfailing business ethics and spirit of adventure resulted in a fascinating work life.
His first job was when he was 9 driving tractor on a neighboring farm. By the time he retired, Al had driven gravel and fuel trucks, taxis and pilot cars, ambulance and all types of heavy equipment. He sold magazines, life insurance and bomb shelters. He worked in a fiberglass plant, a fertilizer plant, a gas refinery and the White Pass tank farm. He worked at the pre-stressed concrete plant that built the concrete panels that fronted Hougen’s store for decades.
Al was a prospector and staked throughout BC and the Yukon. He and 2 friends discovered and staked what would become the Adanac Mine. He was a lab tech; office, business and project manager, and cost accountant. He was an artist, inventor and entrepreneur. When Al was only 24, he developed the very first computer accounting system for doctors and dentists using the first computer in Edmonton.
Al and Verda brought H&R Block to Whitehorse. They started Yukon Appliances, and then, The Appliance (and Furniture) Center, Floor Décor Center, and Coin-op Center. Every job he ever had, Al invented better products and created better systems to improve safety, efficiency and productivity. In the late 70’s, Al became concerned with the limited food supply in the Yukon, and soon started a sprout growing operation. He helped design special hydroponic growth chambers and he, Verda and Cam started the first hydroponic food production operation in the Yukon.
Over many years, they supplied hundreds of thousands of pounds of sprouts and lettuce to Kelly Douglas and local restaurants. He became, and was sought after as an international hydroponic expert and consulted world-wide.
Always ahead of his time, Al also studied alternative energy. He met with international experts in passive solar heat, wind power and geothermal energy and was a member of the International Geothermal Research Society.
In 1980, he, Verda and Cam designed and built a beautiful, 6-sided home that utilized passive solar heat and was so energy efficient it rarely needed heating, even in the coldest weather. Many of Al’s innovations in other buildings later became industry standards.
Al was tough. He was hit by lightning and ‘gassed’ five times. He capsized in a raft on a log jam in a treacherous river and survived a small plane crash.
Life with Al was never boring. He had amazing dreams. He invented in his dreams. He solved problems in his dreams. He acted on his dreams and he encouraged others to dream big.
Sweet Dreams, Al.
Allan was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Dagny. Allan is survived by his wife, Verda; his daughter, Deanna (Terry) Slonski; son Cameron; daughter Cassandra; grandchildren Dustin Slonski (Bumper), Jessica Slonski (Ryan), Jacob Slonski; greatgrandchildren Haiden Kremer and Jack Thompson; his sister, Thelma Flemming; his brothers, Merlin, Irvin (Evelyn), Glenn (Relande) and David (Kathy), many nieces and nephews, their families and other relatives.