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Remembering our Parents-Pandemic Assisted Loneliness Death and Life


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Someday, we will all lose our parents, grand parents, and friends.

If we are parents, our children will ‘lose’ us when we are called Home.

The great senses of loss we expererience are as different as colours in the world of nature, or our unique set of characteristics.  How we grieve is directly related to our relationships with our family, to the recently deceased and also intimately telling of how we ourselves view the afterlife.  Also, in our present state of (what is deemed to be) pandemic, how often we spent time with and what kind of quality time we spent with our loved one.

It has been said that time heals all wounds, but that adage is only as accurate as our internal grieving.  My father died 7 years ago, and while our family has grieved, we have moved forward to live our lives.

It is interesting what can trigger us to revisit our mourning and cast our minds back to those in our past.  For me, it was Facebook, and a notice that August 25 would have been his 80th birthday.  It just so happens that I had driven by the graveyard he is interred at the same day and while I wanted to stop, I did not.

Later that night when I turned on Facebook, that dreaded notice came up, and the whole experience became more odd.

If he had been alive, there would have been a birthday party, and his great grandchildren would have played around his feet.  His grand children would have sat beside him and talked about their weeks and days, and he would have smiled and listened as he was more wont to in his later years.  His children would have probably popped by for a visit a couple of times this week and as was his custom, sipped coffee from Darth Vader.

But, despite his absence, we still have customs that help us remember.

If there are family pictures on our walls, we look and recall the good times.

If there are family movies, we turn them on and watch/listen to moments captured in time.

Or we call our mom and share a memory and talk about her day, week, and events.

During the course of any family funeral, you get the opportunity to open the book of the life of your loved one and see what they really left behind.  Bills, bank accounts, letters, cards, computer files and email are all laid bare for someone to see.  Boxes that sat in the attic or garage are now opened and sorted and appreciated.

That is when you really get to know your father/mother/grand parents.

But if there are any questions after seeing their stuff and making hard decisions, you cannot ask but relatives become a resource.

My family has been blessed with a wealth of life material from parents and grand parents, so when we sorted and separated, we saw my father as a young boy, from his baby clothes to his glasses and wallet contents.

It was a great experience to be able to share my father’s life with his friends and mothers relatives.  His funeral drew people we had not seen for many years, and it was a time that we did not appreciate until later.

My mothers last memories of my father are sweet.  He had gone outside onto the garden swing and told my mom that he could hardly wait for spring so he could go outside.. By morning he had passed into eternity.

Experiences like that have been verboten since March, and thousands of seniors have died lonely, isolated, and abandoned by family members, all encouraged by public health policy and abusive facility regulations deemed to protect.

There was an experiment I saw recently that had a child under 1 year old interact with his mother actively, then being told to ignore the child.  That child reacted negatively with anger, frustration and screaming until the mother re-engaged with the child.  It only took 2 minutes for decreased contact and lack of encouragement to recoil and act out.  Imagine months of toddlers and pre-schoolers being told that they cannot play with their friends, or socially active individuals to be allowed interaction?

This video was very enlightening, and gave this treatment a name….Child abuse….Elder abuse….

Since Covid19 was deemed a pandemic, citizens of the world have been shut out, shut up and shut down world-wide.   What was once normal is no longer so, and instead of a desire to be social beings we are told to be fearful of everyone because they may carry the virus that might kill Aunt Sadie.  The truly sad comment is that this campaign of callousness has been so severe that some people will never recover and re-engage public lives again.

It seems that intelligence, logic, and good statistics are now also forbidden when discussing Covid numbers and penetration.  Passion and fear have overwhelmed facts, and in the process, people lose and policy is imposed with questionable ethics.

Lonely is safer (and recommended) than social gatherings with positive relationship outcomes.

In fact, as some have pointed out, Nazi Germany under Hitler practised the same tactics to near global domination.  In some ways, I do not think that comparison is not far off.

Back to my point, by trying to protect the vulnerable among us we have sentenced them to death by isolation.  Our medical officials and government officials are guilty of something so dreadful it should not be said.

My father, like so many who died before this disease hit us, would not recognize our world of fear and paranoia.  In some ways, neither do I.

May God have mercy on our souls.

Tim Lasiuta

Originally published August 29, 2020

Tim Lasiuta is a Red Deer writer, entrepreneur and communicator. He has interests in history and the future for our country.

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History of Red Deer’s Second Courthouse

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It has been witness to a great many events and stories in the 90 years it has stood on the corner of Ross Street and 49th Avenue in Red Deer.

The Gaetz Company building as seen in 1912. It was the courthouse for the region from 1916-1931. It is the current site of Mason Martin Homes. Canada’s first female juror served in this courthouse in 1922.  Photo courtesy City of Red Deer Archives photo.

As the solidly constructed anchor for both provincial and the Court of Queens Bench for 52 years, this sturdy structure has also been a sanctuary for artists, the setting for movie productions and most recently home to numerous professional offices. It also was the backdrop for the last murder trial in Alberta which saw the defendant sentenced and hanged under capital punishment in the province.

Construction of the new courthouse well underway. City of Red Deer Archives photo P2610

This readily recognizable icon celebrated the anniversary of its official opening earlier this month and is showing no signs of retiring any time soon.

View of the Lyndall Limestone columns in the Palladian Style entrance. Photo by Duane Rolheiser.

This was the second courthouse for the steadily expanding central Alberta city. The earlier one had opened in 1916 after having been converted from a coverall factory. Talk about being adaptive and creative!

Construction of the “new” courthouse was significant for many reasons. The Great Depression was in full swing so this project provided a much-needed injection of both money and jobs into the community along with a sense of pride that such a fine building would bring to the region.

Brick exterior with Lyndall Limestone detailing. Photo by Duane Rolheiser

This would be the last courthouse built in the province until the 1950s, the final version  of a series of Alberta courthouses built in the classical revival style. Both Wetaskiwin and Medicine Hat received similar structures during this era.

Testament to the quality of the design and materials used in construction of the building is the fact that it remains steadfast after more than 8 decades of use.

Constructed using hot riveted steel beams, brick and mortar, then graced with pillars shaped from the legendary Lyndall Limestone from Manitoba, this grand historical resource will stand for a great many more years to come.

Original 1912 era boiler. Converted from coal to natural gas.
Photo by Duane Rolheiser.

In the spirit of the type of practicality and resourcefulness often seen during the depression, heating for the building would be provided by a boiler built in 1912 and  repurposed from a ship!

It was converted from coal burning to natural gas in 1949 and has since been replaced by modern, efficient boilers yet it still remains in the building as evidence of a different era.

Every building of a certain vintage usually carries a story or two about otherworldly spirits or energies. Why not the old Courthouse? It was thought that the ghost of Robert Raymond Cook inhabited the building.

On one particular evening, the caretaker for the courthouse was heading into the boiler room to grab some tools. When he flicked on the lights, they popped briefly and went dark. Despite this, the caretaker walked alongside the boiler in the direction of his tools when suddenly he was slapped in the face by an unexpected soft force! Was it the apparition of the hanged murderer?

When he had regained his composure a time later, the caretaker investigated the boiler room once more to discover the source of the slap in the dark. A frightened pigeon had flown up in his face when startled in the boiler room!

Judge bench in the original courtroom. Photo by Duane Rolheiser

This magnificent building was the home of the judicial branch of the province for the Red Deer region from 1931 to 1983 when its replacement was constructed just down Ross Street to the east.

A law office has made good use of the original architecture. Photo by Duane Rolheiser.

The courthouse was the venue for a great many legal tales over the years but probably none more famous than the 1959 murder trial for 21 year old Robert Raymond Cook of Stettler, AB who was accused of murdering all 7 members of his family in a most violent manner.

RCMP mugshot of Robert Raymond Cook, 1959. Photo used with permission by Legal Archives Society of Alberta.

His trial began on November 30th, 1959 and Cook was found guilty and sentenced to hang for his crimes. His defense appealed the conviction and a second trial was held in Edmonton but his conviction was upheld on June 20th, 1960.

On November 14, 1960, Robert Raymond Cook was hanged. His death sentence was the last ever carried out in the province of Alberta.

the actual witness bench where Robert Raymond Cook would have sat Photos by Duane Rolheiser.

Numerous books were written about this trial as the murders captivated and horrified the population who followed the course of the investigation and trials.

Even a dramatic play was created, called “The End of the Rope”, reenacting this historic trial which was developed and was even staged in the actual courtroom where the all too real drama actually took place all those years ago.

exterior of the courthouse while it was home to the Community Arts Centre in the 1980s. Photo courtesy Red Deer Archives.

In 1983, the  building was sold to the city of Red Deer for a dollar and turned into the Old Courthouse Community Arts Centre. The grand structure housed painters and potters among numerous artistic pursuits for 18 years

An artist displaying his works during a Christmas arts fair in the courthouse, 1987. Photos courtesy City of Red Deer Archives.

The old courthouse has seen real life dramas and reenactments of legal dramas including being the location for filming  scenes from the TV Movie, “While Justice Sleeps” starring Cybil Shepherd in 1994.

Even a dramatic one-man play was created by Aaron Coates called “The End of the Rope” in 2003, re-enacting this historic trial. It was developed and staged in the actual courtroom where the all too real drama actually took place all those years ago. Cook’s lawyer, David MacNaughton even answered questions from the crowd after the performance.

Promotional ad for the TV movie “While Justice Sleeps” starring Cybil Shepherd. Photo from IMDB

The old courthouse made its most recent transformation in 2001 when it was purchased by Jim Dixon and Dick McDonell.

Interior details.
Photos by Duane Rolheiser.

The new owners invested close to a quarter of a million dollars in upgrading the building including installation of new boilers, restored doors, energy efficient windows and new flooring  throughout. 1930s era lighting was sourced to replace fluorescent fixtures, giving the rejuvenated structure a proper historical feel.

Today this 90-year-old icon of downtown Red Deer proudly carries on as the home to numerous professional organizations from lawyers to architects and with its new owners and numerous upgrades, this beautiful structure should be proudly welcoming people to downtown for a great many more years to come.

Red Deer’s old courthouse sits as the centrepiece of Red Deer’s historic downtown and is celebrating its 90th birthday. Come spend some time downtown. Visit the city’s unique Ghost Collection, many of which are within a few blocks of the Old Courthouse.  For more information on leasing opportunities in this beautiful building, please email Davin Kemshead or phone 403-318-6479.  


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Central Alberta

Evaluation Assistant – Part-time Casual

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Evaluation Assistant – Part-time Casual

The Evaluation Assistant will be part of the Evaluation Team at the Red Deer Primary Care Network (RDPCN) working under the direct supervision of the Evaluator. The main responsibilities include data collection, data entry, as well as supporting both analysis and reporting for a broad spectrum of RDPCN programs and services. The successful candidate should be competent at working both independently and in a team environment; accurately managing data, and contributing to high quality reports and other deliverables.

Key Strengths of Candidates;

  • Bachelor degree in social sciences or health-related area
  • Experience in applied research or evaluation, quantitative and/or qualitative (minimum 2
  • years preferred)
  • Excellent command of Microsoft Excel, Word, Power Point and Outlook
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Detail orientated and organized
  • Able to work flexible hours with some evenings
  • and/or weekends.
  • This position is part-time casual, with varying hours

Act now. APPLY

Submit your curriculum vitae to [email protected] (with “Evaluation Assistant” in the subject line), or by fax to 403.342.9502. A full job description can be found at

Closing date: April 19, 2021 or until a successful candidate is found. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

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