ALBERT ERNEST PARNETTA
July 31, 1938 - February 28, 2019
Al passed away peacefully on Thursday, February 28, 2019 in Winnipeg, MB.
Al is survived by wife Trudy; children Catherine (Keith), Bill (Corie) and Ruth (Dan); grandchildren Kaleigh (Joel), Alex, Ashley, Zack, and Abby.
Albert Ernest Parnetta also known as Al was born on July 31, 1938 to Pauline & William Parnetta in Canora Saskatchewan. His first years were spent living with his parents and siblings Adeline, Violet and John on his paternal grandparents’ farm. He spent a year in Timmins ON, where his father worked in a gold mine, and Al attended the small country school called Antonia. At age 12 the family moved backed to Canora, where Al completed his elementary and high school. Part time jobs, including delivering groceries on his bike, supplemented his allowance and enabled him to afford the movies he loved to attend.
He was accepted into pre-engineering at Royal Roads Military College in Victoria BC in 1956. Unhappy with his choice of career, Al returned to the prairies and gained employment as a permit teacher for one year. The following year he obtained his Standard Teaching Certificate from the University of Saskatchewan.
In 1961, Al began a career in Education at Birtle Collegiate Institute (BCI) one which would span 32 years, 16 years teaching in the science program and another 16 years as Principal. His reputation would lend itself to be strict but fair. After eight years of summer school, degrees in Science and Education were earned from the University of Manitoba.
It was during these years that Al was involved in extra-curricular school activities as an official and coach in basketball, soccer and volleyball. He would proudly relate how the soccer team that he coached twice reached the provincials.
Civic duties were important to Al and he served as a town councilor, as well as on the provincial executive of the Manitoba Teachers Society (MTS) and as Secretary Treasurer of the Birtle Legion.
With all of that, Al still made time for hobbies. An avid fisher and hunter, his prizes of birds and deer were not always popular with the cook, who was expected to create something tasty from his catch. And of course, he enjoyed countless rounds on the golf course. In retirement many hours were spent on the Birtle Riverside Course, often with friends and grandchildren, but a round on his own was equally enjoyable, regardless of the weather.
Al dearly loved the wild terrain of the Birtle course and was an expert at finding lost balls in the rough and amongst wild flowers in bloom. When he once found a Gentian flower in its unique “closed bloom”, he made a point of trying to find it again in the ensuing years.
Change was often difficult for Al and leaving his beloved course to move to Winnipeg was not something that he looked forward to. However, it wasn’t long after his move that he became a member of the Wildewood Golf Club and continued walking the course almost daily for the last few season, making new friends along way.
Al filled his winters with sudoku, jigsaw puzzles and many hours logged on his computer. He was also an avid reader.
A Saskatchewan boy, Al never lost his loyalty to the Roughriders. There were times when he was the lone Riders supported amongst his Winnipeg family contingent and their Blue Bomber boasting. A son and granddaughter living in the west were his “Green” support group.
In 1962, Al married Trudy Guenther, a nurse from Yorkton SK, working in Canora. Their marriage lasted for 56 years, nearly 50 of those spent in Birtle. Three children blessed their marriage, Catherine (Keith), Bill (Corie) and Ruth (Dan). Al’s five grandchildren always brought a smile to his face and warmed his heart, Kaleigh (Joel), Alex, Ashley, Zack and Abby and he was eager to greet a soon to arrive great grandchild.
Al faced his heart issues over the years with grace and discipline. After he suffered his first heart attack in 1981 at the age of 43, he followed the strict advice of his cardiologist and made lifestyle changes that served him well. In 2004, his cardiovascular problems returned in the form of a stroke and then 2016 brought a second heart attack. Despite this, Al remained active throughout his life. On February 27th, a second stoke claimed his life. The previous day he had done his usual exercise routine, walking the halls and eight flights of stairs. Not bad for an agile and wiry 80-year-old.
The family is eternally grateful to have had Al in their lives and give thanks that he lived a full and varied life. The family will cherish the precious memories they have of Al to remember him by and will miss him dearly.
He’s now come to rest at the end of the nine lives his family claimed he’d been blessed with.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at the Harrow United Church, 955 Mulvey Street, Winnipeg.
Friends and relatives are encouraged to share in stories, and condolences for the family by commenting in the section on the right-hand side.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Siloam Mission.
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