Dennis A. Lindberg, P.Eng., who in April completed his term as President of APEGGA, died July 23 in Edmonton.
His death followed a diagnosis of a brain tumor earlier this year, while he still was serving as President of the Association. Mr. Lindberg’s courageous effort to complete his term, despite his illness, were eulogized as about 300 members of his family, friends and professional associates gathered in a southside Edmonton church for a memorial service on July 28.
Those in attendance also were reminded of Dennis Lindberg’s willingness to give his best; his devotion to his family, friends, community and his profession; his modesty; his ability to listen; his keen powers of observation; and, above all, his sense of humor.
Speaking of his late brother, Garry Lindberg, also an engineer, said he was "a wonderful caring person who gave his all to his work, his community, friends and family" and "who generously shared his gifts with all".
It was, he said, impossible to speak of Dennis without mention of his wife, Jacquie, adding so much of what they accomplished they did as a team. "Dennis would not be Dennis without Jacquie," and, said Garry Lindberg, with their children they provided "a wonderful example of what a family should be".
Former APEGGA president, Fred Otto, P.Eng., PhD, paid tribute to many contributions by the man who succeeded him as President. In his eulogy, Dr. Otto noted the valuable professional leadership Mr. Lindberg made not only within APEGGA but also through groups such as the Geotechnical Society of Edmonton, the Engineering Institute of Canada and the Alberta Chamber of Resources. In addition to serving as an APEGGA Councillor, 2nd Vice President, 1st Vice-President and President, Dr. Otto noted that Mr. Lindberg had taken on numerous tasks on the Association’s behalf, such as piloting through changes to the discipline process, improving government relations, developing a specified scope of practice and continuing professional development program, and revamping the Association’s administrative structure.
Calling his former APEGGA Council colleague "an example for others to emulate", Dr. Otto added "Dennis was special" and "his life is an inspiration for all of us". He drew special attention to the resolve Mr. Lindberg demonstrated — though weakened by his illness — at the Summit Award presentations in April when he accepted an honorary life membership in APEGGA.
Murray Harris, P.Eng., a longtime associate of Mr. Lindberg’s at Thurber Engineering Ltd., which Mr. Lindberg formerly headed as managing director, recalled a gifted manager and a "man of the soil" who "got his hands dirty". The latter true both in terms of his family roots in farming, which led him to run his own farming operation as a teenager, and subsequently as an expert in his chosen discipline of geotechnical engineering.
While Mr. Lindberg succeeded in building Thurber into a major presence in the geotechnical field, he was, Mr. Harris suggested, "never more happy than when he was scrambling around in the field" seeking a solution for a geotechnical problem or gauging the impact of an occurrence such as a landslide.
His Thurber associate, said Mr. Harris, was meticulous in surveying a situation, took great delight in developing solutions but "never lost sight of the big picture".
Those attending the memorial services also heard moving tributes from Mr. Lindberg’s niece, Susan Vasilev, and by a long-time friend Jack McCracken. They spoke of the support and inspiration he provided for his immediate and extended family, and as a leading member of Southminster-Steinhauer United Church.
"He was a learner, who never shut the door," said Mr. McCracken, remembering a man who "faced death with courage. His sense of humor stayed with him right to the end."
Dennis Lindberg was born in Rimbey, AB, in 1937 and lived on a farm near Hoadley. During his teenage years, he was active in the local 4H Club and his early accomplishments included winning a national grain judging competition in Toronto. He was a competitive cross-country runner and after completing Grade 11 at Bluffton, attended Vermilion Agricultural School with a view to following the family tradition of farming. He farmed his own quarter section for a while, but returned to complete Grade 12 in Red Deer in 1957. He went on to study civil engineering at the University of Alberta, where, before graduating in 1962, he was active in the undergraduate students’ society.
His first engineering position was with the production department of Shell Canada Ltd. He returned to the U of A to obtain an M.Sc. in geotechnical engineering in 1964. He then joined R.C. Thurber & Associates Limited in Victoria, beginning an association with that firm which was interrupted only by five years spent in Prince George as a regional materials engineer with the B.C. Department of Highways. He returned to Edmonton in 1970 to open Thurber’s Alberta office, participating in a major expansion of the firm’s activities and presence in the province. From 1983 to 1989, he was Thurber’s managing director, and he remained a principal of the firm until 1991. Since then, he was associated with the firm on a contract basis as a consultant.
Mr. Lindberg was elected to APEGGA Council for a three-year term in 1990, served as 2nd Vice-President in 1994-95 and in 1996 was elected 1st Vice-President. The following year, he was installed as President and completed his term this past April.
In addition to his wife Jacquie, and his mother Irene, Mr. Lindberg is survived by three children, Terry, Grant and Janis, three grandchildren (Riley, Christina and Evan), as well as by brothers Garry and Vern, and a large extended family.
In lieu of flowers. the family requested donations be made to the Cross Cancer Institute (11560 University AV, Edmonton, AB T5G 1Z2) or the Southminster-Steinhauer United Church Building Fund. P