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Farewell, my amazing Big Brother.
My loving condolences to Barbara, Linda, Rhonda, Doug, Richard and the rest of your large and beautiful family.
You were always known as “Bazooke” to me. I didn’t know where the name came from but to me Al was too simple a name for someone of such great character and vision and a man who had so much love and enthusiasm for life and family.
I regret we did not spend more time together during your lifetime. Our ten year age difference and your early move to Northern Alberta prevented us from spending more time together in our younger years. Then my relocation to Australia almost 55 years ago, combined with our deep involvement in family and business, resulted in very few visits together.
I can proudly and fondly claim that I was involved in your earliest entrepreneurial activity when you were a teenager and I was about 9 years old. At the time you came across an idea that would make you a fortune. You developed a plant pot that would gradually release moisture into the soil to reduce watering frequency. My job was to assist in making the pots and was your first employee. Slave labour with no pay but I was proudly involved with my Big Bro.
Sadly, the business turned out to be a financial failure but I am sure you learned plenty from that venture. As only you can, you persevered, and moved on to phenomenal accomplishments in the business world that has made such an impact on so many in the Northern Alberta community.
Hard to believe that your one devoted employee eventually turned into over 600.
You did not possess a university degree but you were wiser and more commercially savvy than most people who had a more privileged education. You made the most of life and accomplished so much – not only in business but in family.
You lived for and cared so much for family. You were always there – not only for your immediate family but also for your nine siblings and their offspring.
Bazooke, your legacy of ethical conduct and passion in business and community generosity is being continued with the same enthusiasm and zeal by Linda and Rhonda and the rest of your family and will do so for many generations to come.
Sadly, age and distance prevent me from being at the memorial. The Australian Sides will get together on the day to celebrate your amazing life at which time our thoughts and love will be with Barbara and the family.

Shared by Jim

A handful of the messages received following Al’s departure:

 

“Al was a good friend and mentor. We are so very sorry for your loss.  We have many memories of his friendship and support and we are very grateful to have known him”.

“His humble and soft-spoken demeanor did not mask his great mind and energy as one of Alberta’s great entrepreneurs.”

“Your dad was so darn good to me and I really missed our visits over those years. He had time for me. I loved his deadly sense of humor. He gave me insight into a time that I was just old enough to catch the tail end and witness but never fully understood. All the way around he was a special person.”

“He was one of a kind.”

“He was a great man.”

“He was a special man.”

“Al always seemed to have time for everyone.  He was indeed an incredible man”

“He was an amazing man with a drive and vigor for life that is enviable”

“He was so engaging.  You won’t find anyone better.”

“Al and all of your family were such an important part of our lives both personally and professionally.”

“Just two weeks ago Al came out to our shop and it turned into a beautiful hour long visit filled with laughter and memories.  Hard to believe he is gone.”

We heard about Al  For some reason it sounds strange to me to say your Dad because he has always been Al. Nothing can be said to ease the loss but Oh what a legacy!”

“He was always such a good friend and always fun to be with.”

“I’m deeply saddened to hear about Al.  In our short time together he taught me lessons, gave me bits of wisdom and provided counsel that has changed my life for the better.  I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to work on your farm and to be able to build a relationship with his family. You are incredible people.  I’ll cherish the time I got to spend with him for the rest of my days.”

“I really enjoyed the time I spent with him and truly admired his work ethic and vision”

“Your Dad was always just the same as when I met him over 20 years ago.  He never really aged to me after that.  He was a wonderful man with a wonderful family.”

“I had the pleasure of meeting Al for the first time at RU this year and he was so engaging.”

“What a worthy tribute that matches the unique individual that he was.”

“He made a huge impact on all of us and we will remember him.”

“He truly was such a gentleman and a pillar of our community.”

“Losing a father is a profound and painful experience, and I can only imagine the grief you must be going through.”

“I wanted to reach out and share my condolences for the passing of Al Side. I know I enjoyed my relationship with him over the years.  It was always interesting to me to see how many times our paths crossed in doing business in Alberta. After a while I would chuckle when I went into a room, AGM, or business meeting at how unsurprising it was to see Al Side supporting and believing in the same companies as I did.”

“Al was a pillar of the Grande Prairie community, and he will be sorely missed. He made this world a better place.”

“You and your family know more than anyone what a community builder and visionary he was and more importantly your parent/Dad!”

“I have memories of seeing him in the community and also at the golf course and he was always kind and had a special smile and friendly eyes and a hello.”

“Al was such an amazing man – intelligent, caring, fun and always optimistic. Life seem to bring him daily joy – his love of family and friends always present.”

“Al was a long time friend and a mentor to many, including me. He was a giant in his space and helped many of the area entrepreneurs do amazing things during good times and tough times. I have  great memories of times spent with him, flying around in old airplanes with a wild pilot called Fred.

We will miss him.”

 

Shared by Friends of Al

Dear Linda,

I am writing to express my condolences to you for your sad loss.  Your father was an iconic figure in Grande Prairie and I feel privileged to have known him and to have worked with him.  Al made an impact on the business community as well as on the lives of many people.

I’ve had time to pause and reflect on the years I worked at Visa.  Al was a man who may not have been large in stature but he was a giant in so many ways. I’ve worked for some fine people over the years, but there was no one whom I respected and admired more.  I think its indisputable that he was a giant in cerebral matters too, and he must have gone to bed every night wondering where the next opportunity to start a business would present itself.

I still see the laughter in his eyes when he handed me a slightly risque Dear Ann Landers joke and waited for me to react.  He had such a wicked sense of humor and he was just fun to be around.

No one enjoyed a golf game more, especially when he played well, or just a brief visit from someone stopping in at the office.  I think he was not just a keen businessman but also a man who enjoyed people, particularly smart people.

I wonder how many people benefited from being mentored by Al Side and how many he quietly supported or offered a helping hand. I say again, what a guy and what a legacy he leaves.

Not only was he involved in countless business ventures, he was also a hero to his outstanding family. I know how proud he was of you and thought you were capable of anything and everything and it seems you have lived up to those expectations.

Such is the human condition, we live our lives the best we can, and then we go on to the next life.  Al lived his life, he was an exceptional man, happy in his success but always humble and self-deprecating. I’m so grateful that I knew him and his family, that I had the opportunity to work for him and that I considered him a friend.

Please give Barb and Rhonda a hug for me and tell them what they already know. That Al was an exceptional man and his passing will leave a huge hole in your lives, as well as in the lives of many.

With sincere sympathy to all of you,

Pearl

 

Shared by Pearl Fee

Memories! Oh Yes! We have them!

If we could have bottled up Al’s enthusiasm for life – we could give it to people who need – a “boost” in life.

He was a true adventurer – seeking out life – like an explorer – choosing his twists and turns on the “river of life” and when people say Al was “one of a kind”, they weren’t kidding. There was only one Al and there will only ever be one.

Al made the world a better place for a lot of people – and sometimes treaded on places – where others feared to go.

Al had the ability to see things in a different way – and to change them for the better.

He lifted up people in his presence and became a part of their lives – some through business, friendships, or humanity.  Always with a unique sense of humor.

He will be greatly missed by all!

Elmer & Merne Arndt

Shared by Elmer & Merne Arndt

Always enjoyed taking Al on the boat. He was always a good time. Will miss his stories.

Shared by Randy Gulick

Always felt very welcomed in this man’s presence. I say that about the entire family as well. Have always enjoyed my time at the Side’s place. Rest in peace Al and heart felt condolences to all the family.

Shared by Ninette Laliberte