'He was everything to our family:' Daughter remembers Jim Prentice at memorial - InfoNews

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'He was everything to our family:' Daughter remembers Jim Prentice at memorial

A lone piper plays at a memorial service for former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice in Calgary on Friday, Oct. 28, 2016. Prentice was killed in a plane crash in B.C. on Oct. 13, 2016.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
October 28, 2016 - 1:30 PM

CALGARY - Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice was remembered by his daughter Friday as deeply thoughtful, generous and a man of great humility.

Cassia Prentice spoke at the state memorial for Prentice, 60, who was killed in a plane crash earlier this month in British Columbia.

"My father was so much to so many and he was absolutely everything to our family," she told 1,500 politicians, business colleagues, friends and members of the public gathered at the Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary.

She reminded everyone that his life and accomplishments were based on "a pledge to his parents — one of integrity, kindness, hard work and community.

"Those principles and the man who embodied them were bedrock to our family," said Prentice, who also lost her father-in-law, optometrist Ken Gellatly in the crash.

She said Prentice was a doting father, treasured his grandchildren and loved his wife, Karen, deeply.

"I am still not ready to say goodbye to my father, to our bedrock. But because my father cared so deeply about this country, this province and the people in it, we know that we do not grieve alone.

"Broken and shattered, we must all today stand tall on the foundations he laid ... most importantly the love of family."

Federal and provincial politicians attended the memorial. Speakers included Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and former prime minister Stephen Harper. Prentice served in Harper's cabinet and Harper remembered him as gracious, capable and never unpleasant to his colleagues.

"We gave the hardest assignments to the people who could best handle them, and Jim was always one of those people," said Harper.

"He always gave Canada and Alberta his very best. That is how is deserves to be remembered."

A table at the front of the auditorium displayed a hockey jersey with the Alberta crest on it, a buckskin jacket, a cowboy hat and boots and several books.

The memorial began with a piped-in processional and members of the Black Otter Singers of the Siksika First Nation performed an aboriginal honour song. Singer Laura Brandt sang the moving Puccini aria O mio babbino caro (O My Beloved Father). Country singer George Canyon sang "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)."

People were lining up outside the auditorium hours before the service. Doreen Brown and Shirley Koroluk arrived nearly three hours ahead of time.

The women volunteered on two Prentice campaigns — once when he ran for the leadership of Alberta's Progressive Conservatives and again for his May 2015 provincial election campaign.

Brown and Koroluk recalled that after the 2015 election loss to Notley's NDP, Prentice invited volunteers to his home for a barbecue.

Prentice still had the potential to do great things, Brown said.

"In my heart, I always thought maybe there's a chance he's going to run again somehow and we'd get him back."

Prentice, Gellatly and two other men were killed when a twin-engine Cessna Citation crashed shortly after takeoff from the Kelowna airport on Oct. 13.

Prentice had stepped away from federal politics before entering provincial politics to take over as leader and premier of the PC party in Alberta.

His final foray in the public arena as Alberta premier lasted about eight months and ended when the NDP toppled the Tories after more than four decades in power.

Also killed in the crash were Calgary businessman Sheldon Reid and former RCMP officer Jim Kruk, who was the pilot of the aircraft.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Here is some of what was said about Jim Prentice:

"We are not here to remember a politician but rather a great person, a great Albertan and a great Canadian. Jim Prentice was more than premier of Alberta, more than a chief operating officer of the country. Jim was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, an uncle, a friend and a mentor." — Friend Jason Hatcher

"Friendship was something that came easy for Jim. He always had that ability to see the very best in people around him. He moved through life with sincere gratitude for the many blessings he had been given and with a very deep appreciation for the gifts and contributions of others. Jim was at home in every setting and had the rare ability to talk to anyone about any topic. He truly liked and enjoyed people." — Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell

"He taught us about courage and fortitude in tough times. He showed us what real strength was all about." — Mitchell

"Of this tragedy, all of us are still struggling to find words that can possibly speak to it — the airplane that doesn't land when it was expected to, the phone call at night, the terrible truth of what happened slowly becoming clear the following day. No family should have to live through this but we are here today because sometimes they do." — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley

"It's a reminder to us all that every moment that we share with those that we love is a precious gift. It is a reminder to us all in the sometimes rough world of politics to never lose sight of the humanity, the dedication and the contribution of every colleague." — Notley

"My father was so much to so many and he was absolutely everything to our family ... His life was lived as a pledge to his parents — one of integrity, kindness, hard work and community. Those principles and the man who embodied them were bedrock to our family." — Daughter Cassia Prentice

"I was always so proud to walk into a room with my father." — Cassia Prentice

"For my mother Karen, my father was a true partner and best friend. Through their 33 years of marriage, what he accomplished in life, they accomplished together. My father owed so much to my mother's love and support ... We should all be so lucky to be as loved as my mother was by my father." — Cassia Prentice

"I find I am still not ready to say goodbye to my father, to our bedrock. But because my father cared so deeply about this country, this province and the people in it, we know that we do not grieve alone. Broken and shattered, we must all today stand tall on the foundations he laid —integrity, kindness, hard work and community but most importantly, the love of family." — Cassia Prentice

"We gave the hardest assignments to the people who could best handle them and Jim was always one of those people ... He always gave Canada and Alberta his very best. That is how he deserves to be remembered." — Former prime minister Stephen Harper

"Jim's passing reminds us all that we do not know the number of our days. We can only live the days we have with our priorities well-ordered. Jim did that. He did well for his country. He did well for his colleagues and friends." — Harper

"He would have had 20 more years at least to contribute in the way he has contributed in the past." — Friend Dick Haskayne

"That guy is so damn smart, speaks so well, he can tell you where to go in such a way that you look forward to the trip." — Haskayne

"He loved to joke that, in his lifetime, he'd had three occupations — a lawyer, a politician and a banker — one of which was actually honourable. As much as that made us laugh, there was no doubt that Jim made all three honourable." — Former Conservative chief whip Jay Hill

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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