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Born: Dec 02, 1933

Date of Passing: Sep 21, 2020

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Al Owen Dyregrov passed in the early hours of September 21, 2020, with family by his side.
Al was born in Winnipeg on December 2, 1933 to Olga and Ole Dyregrov. He grew up, alongside older sister Ina, in the West End of Winnipeg, where he enjoyed hockey, playing cards with friends, and when he was a teenager, building the family cabin with his father at Brereton Lake. The cottage is still in the family.
Al went on to study engineering at the University of Manitoba graduating with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering in 1955, followed by a Master of Science in Soils and Foundations in 1957. Engineering was not only a career for Al, it was a 56-year passion. Al's career started with the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority in Montreal and the Federal Department of Public Works in Banff. He returned to Winnipeg in 1960. Most of the major structures in Winnipeg since have been touched by his expertise: The Trizec Development, Portage Place, Kildonan Place, St. Vital Mall, Kildonan Crossing, the MTS Centre, the TD Tower, the Winnipeg Airport Authority, and the Provencher Paired Bridges Project. Rural projects include the Churchill Townsite Development, the Thompson Open Pit Mine, the Brandon Simplot Fertilizer Plant and the McCains Potato Processing Plant in Portage La Prairie. Al also set many of the engineering standards and practices that are still in use today.
Some of the highlights of his career include being a founding member of the Winnipeg Geotechnical Society, being instated as a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, being a founding member of the Consulting Engineers of Manitoba, being named an Honorary Life Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and receiving a Life Time Achievement award for his many contributions to the field.
In spite of all his achievements and accolades he remained humble and always willing to mentor others.
A car ride with Al through Winnipeg was always an educational experience, as he would discuss the soil and structure of all his many projects.
Al married Heather Forsyth in December of 1956 in Winnipeg and went on to have his two children, Brett and Kristin. Al married Reenie in September of 1986. Together they enjoyed their love of alpine skiing where he was on the executive of the Mount Alpine Ski Club, enjoyed scuba diving, travel, time with family, and time at Falcon Lake until Reenie's passing in 2002.
Al will be dearly missed by his family: Brett (Sabine), Kristin (Robert), Jodi (Rick), Gord, Rick, Mark (Maria), and his nine grandchildren, Nicole, Cole, Morgan, Scott, Cameron, Shae-Lynn, Keaton, Avery and Alessandra.
In his quiet, gentle and kind way Al was a cornerstone to his family. He will be remembered for his humour, patience and wisdom. As news of his passing spread, many people's comments had similar sentiments; not only was he an excellent engineer, but a gentleman, and a flat-out great guy.
Although dementia is terrible disease, it was never able, not even at the end, to steal from Al who he was at his core: creative, funny, kind, and a class act.
The family will be setting up a memorial scholarship through the University of Manitoba. The scholarship will be for Geotechnical Engineering students. Those interested in contributing can contact the family for further details.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Sep 26, 2020

Condolences & Memories (10 entries)

  • I knew Al through Reenie. I was her niece. My sincere sympathy to to all of Al’s family. He was a true gentleman. He and Reenie were so kind and supportive when I had cancer and would visit just because. I so enjoyed his quiet and cryptic sense of humour, his intelligence and his soft spoken wisdom. His death is a great loss. Lorena McManus - Posted by: Lorena McManus (Friend) on: Oct 10, 2020

  • Alf Dyregrov was the very first supervising engineer I had at UMA Engineering when I joined the firm in 1964. Under his direction we implemented the rebuild of the roads in Assiniboine Park using lime to stabilize the frost susceptible silts in the sub grade - a first at the time. He was always a thoughtful and knowledgeable mentor to work with - and always a gentleman. My sincere condolences to his family. David Chalcroft, P.Eng. Calgary - Posted by: David Chalcroft (Engineering colleague at UMA) on: Oct 03, 2020

  • I had the privilege to work with Al at the beginning of my career – he was a patient and kind mentor with a great sense of humour. I continued to occasionally see him at various geotechnical events and alpine ski fundraisers, and eventually collaborating on projects. This is a tragic loss to the engineering community and Al’s loved ones. My sincere condolences to the Dyregrov extended family. - Posted by: Michel Gregoire (mentee/colleague) on: Oct 01, 2020

  • My condolences go out to all of Alv's family and in particular to Kristen, whom I have know personally. I have nothing but great memories of your father. He was such a sweet man. We always had such interesting conversations during all the many years I worked for him. He is greatly missed. - Posted by: STEFFI RICHTER (Accountant) on: Sep 29, 2020

  • I have fond childhood memories of great times spent at my Uncle Al & Auntie Heather’s home on Red Robin Place along with cousins Brett and Kristin. I also recall summer visits at their Brereton Lake cottage. I remember my uncle as a soft spoken laid back man and always fun and positive. In later years I was lucky enough to experience consulting with Al on projects involving his professional expertise. This was a great and unique experience. My deepest sympathies go out to Brett & Sabine, Kristin & Robert and their families. Al’s memory and legacy will live on. - Lindsay Forsyth (nephew and cousin) - Posted by: Lindsay Forsyth (Nephew) on: Sep 28, 2020

  • What a tragic loss for Al's family and his extended family of geotechnical practitioners, educators, builders, and contractors. Al was a great friend, mentor and inspiration to so many and he will truly be missed. I had the good fortune of sharing many a cheeseburger with Al and will always look back fondly at those times where stories about all things geotechnical and life in general would be shared. Rest in peace Al. - Posted by: Ken Skaftfeld (Friend and colleague) on: Sep 27, 2020

  • Al Dyregrov was a close friend to my Mom and Dad. When I started engineering in 1972 I quickly became discouraged about the workload and the frustration. One evening he and I were discussing engineering and how important it was that I learn from this experience and persevere with my studies. He was the one who told me how the Faculty would weed out the less determined students and once through that process that the next 3.5 years would be very rewarding....and they were. I’ve now gone in to spend nearly 45 years in the profession all over the world and I always look back on those conversations. And so did Al every time I saw him again over the years. He has left a lasting legacy for me and my oldest son who is also a successful engineer. - Posted by: Greg Coleman (Mentee) on: Sep 27, 2020

  • I had the pleasure of working with Al as a client on many occassions. Al was an engineer's engineer. He always held the safety of the public first and the needs of the client second, which is how it should always be. He always provided good advice, bolstered by decades of experience and a strong technical background. And as noted in the obituary, he was a quiet, gentle and kind man. I am truly sorry for your loss. Please cherish all of the wonderful memories that Al bestowed upon you, May he rest in peace. Tom Pearson, P Eng (Ret) - Posted by: Tom Pearson (coworker) on: Sep 26, 2020

  • A Winnipeg institution. Condolences to the family. - Posted by: Valdene (Buckley) Lawson (Industry colleague ) on: Sep 26, 2020

  • Al was a great friend, mentor and colleague. When we started working together and had to go to a meeting he would always drive, no one knew how to navigate around Winnipeg like Al. Always got a history lesson along the way, who knew there used to be a horse track at the Polo Park mall site? Al knew! After he was not able to drive his own car he used the transit bus, I teased him that he probably sat behind the driver telling him to turn here or there, it is quicker this way! And he knew where to get a good burger, no matter where he was in the City. - Posted by: Gil Robinson (friend and business partner) on: Sep 26, 2020

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