A proud member of the generation that built Alberta, Fred Lynch – devoted family man, gravel guru, tandem cyclist, intrepid traveller, and Oilers fan – passed away on May 30, 2021, after a brief illness. He leaves his wife Agnes (née Hanson), whom he adored for 66 wonderful years; his children Randall, Karen, and Frederick (Nadia Mursky); his grandchildren Rowan (Neir Eshel), Whitney Gore, Grayson (Kirsten), and Chandler; his great-granddaughters Sloan and Spencer; many treasured cousins; and an extended family that includes Michelle Turcotte, Sasan Hatami, and Nadia’s children Cleo and Ben Burnstad. He was predeceased by his parents and his beloved daughter-in-law Adele (née McCann).
Fred was born in Calgary, where he was raised by his grandparents after his mother Eleanor (née Mannix) died in childbirth. He attended St. Mary’s Boys School and spent teenage summers working for Mannix Construction alongside his father John. When Fred was eighteen, he moved to Medicine Hat to work on the Suffield to Dunmore stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway. This tall skinny redhead caught the eye of his landlady’s granddaughter, marking the start to a love story that would last nearly seven decades.
In 1958, Fred’s desire to provide for Agnes and their growing family led him northward to Jasper Place, and their first home quickly became the social hub of 87 Avenue. Following his graduation from the Banff School of Advanced Management, Fred was hired at Twin Bridges Sand & Gravel in 1966. Over the next fifty years he drove more than a million miles along the highways and backroads of Alberta. Along the way, Fred built a reputation for integrity, tenacity, and an unparalleled knowledge of every gravel pit in Alberta. These qualities, together with his legendary ability to close deals, were recognized by a 2013 Honorary Lifetime Membership Award from the Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association.
Long days on the road did not prevent Fred from being a stalwart of his local community: coaching Rio Terrace Hockey, fundraising for Jasper Place Little League Baseball, and serving as a founding parishioner of Annunciation Church. Winters featured frequent family cross-country ski trips to Jasper and Lake Louise, and he and Agnes spent many happy summer weekends exploring Edmonton’s river valley trails on their ‘bicycle built for two’ while listening to ABBA. Eventually they began travelling further afield, visiting six continents, golfing and cycling wherever possible, and forging lasting friendships from California to Cape Town. A staunch supporter of the Eskimos and Oilers, one of Fred’s proudest moments came in 2016, when – as the Oilers’ longest season ticket holder – he was invited to drop the ceremonial first puck at the opening of the new Rogers Place arena.
His loyalty to his favourite sports teams was exceeded only by his devotion to Agnes and his family. Fred took enormous pride in the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren. Beyond insisting that they all learn to shake hands with a firm grip while looking people straight in the eye, Fred sought to instill in them the same commitment to hard work, faith, family, and community that guided his own life and career. His trademark wit kept everyone around him laughing until the very end, and his family is grateful to Jennifer To and the staff at Our Parents’ Home for indulging his quips and banter.
Fred loved to gather people together, whether around the dining table, in his mosquito-proof gazebo, in the stands of the Coliseum and Commonwealth Stadium, or on the dance floor of the Edmonton Petroleum Club. In keeping with this spirit, family and friends will be invited to a memorial service later this summer once it is possible to honour Fred’s life with the large and lively celebration he would have wanted. In the meantime, pour a glass of dark rum & Pepsi and raise a toast to the example of a life well lived. Donations in Fred’s name may be made to Catholic Social Services Sign of Hope.