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ALLEN JAMES BAEKELAND

Born: Nov 06, 1959

Date of Passing: May 23, 2020

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ALLEN JAMES BAEKELAND
November 6, 1959 - May 23, 2020

Far too soon we have lost Allen Baekeland - loving husband, cherished son and brother, uncompromising mentor to a vast community of musicians in Calgary and Toronto.
Born in Calgary to Roger and Lee Baekeland (nee Janssens) of St. Boniface, Manitoba, Allen's wide-ranging life featured formative stops in the UK, New York, Toronto and Greece. Each left its mark on a career that included community radio, film and television production and, most notably, music. He spent his teens in London, soaking up the nascent punk scene before returning to Calgary and finishing high school at Bishop Carroll. Next came the University of Calgary, studying political science while joking that his real major was CJSW, the campus / community radio station. Along with friends, Grant Burns, Bill Reynolds and Nick Diochnos, he was a driving force in turning the station into a hub of the Calgary music and art scene in the 1980s. That's also when his deep knowledge and love of music extended to live performance and a lifelong journey in musicianship.
Earning a Masters degree in Television, Radio and Film from Syracuse University's Newhouse College, Allen moved to Toronto in 1985 and worked briefly in those fields. However, once performing became his focus, he decided that being a letter carrier for Canada Post would be more conducive to the lifestyle. A close friendship with Terry Tompkins sparked the formation of the band Lost and Profound, and to his ongoing passion for country music. Allen continued broadcasting as a popular programmer at CIUT, the station where he met fellow DJ, Jennifer Norfolk, and proceeded to sweep her off her feet.
They wed in 1992. Missing his roots, Allen brought Jennifer to Calgary in 1995. He reconnected with Nick and became enamoured with the intricate rhythms and melodies of traditional Greek music, culminating in the formation of the Rembetika Hipsters, with whom Allen recorded and toured for over 20 years.
Allen leaves behind his adoring family: wife Jen, mother Lee (Roger passed away in 2015), brothers, Steven (Holly) and Gregg, and nieces, Page and Kamaren. There's also a loving contingent of aunts, uncles and cousins in Edmonton, Fernie, Winnipeg and Lethbridge. He will be dearly missed by his brother-in-law Jeff Norfolk and parents-in-law, Luella and Don Sine, plus an enormous group of friends, acquaintances and musicians across the country and around the globe.
Our deepest thanks extend to the healthcare staff who cared for Allen this past year at Foothills Hospital, especially Dr. Dean Ruether and nurse Dania and the Tom Baker Oncology team. Calgary EMS and Palliative Care rushed in to help just when needed; thank you Nicki, Robin, Lindsay, Amy and Dr. Szeto. Special thanks to our cherished friend, Dr. Paula Fayerman, who tenderly helped us say goodbye, and to Sharon Stevens and the Union Choir, who heroically staged a Covid-respectful procession just to sing him off under a blue Alberta sky. Allen was a true legend, whose radiant smile and gentle spirit will forever be remembered.
Donations may be made in Allen's name to Kids Cancer Care, L'Arche Calgary, the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary Health Trust or the charity of your choice. When the spirit moves you, please sing loudly and long. Allen would love that.

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on May 30, 2020

Condolences & Memories (2 entries)

  • My deepest condolences to all of you. Allen was an incredibly talented and passionate man. Lisa spoke of him often. May you find comfort in each other during this heartbreaking time. Wanda Kolida (nee Groening). Friend of Lisa Baekeland. - Posted by: Wanda Kolida (Friend ) on: May 30, 2020

  • On behalf of the Devodder family we are sending our deepest sympathy to the Baekeland Family. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Uncle Walter, Emily & Dave, Marjorie - Posted by: Marjorie (Devodder) Koskie (cousin) on: May 30, 2020

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