A.J. Spence

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Allan Spence, ALS

Allan John Spence passed away at the Rockyview Hospital in Calgary on June 4th 1999, at the age of 81 years. A Memorial Service celebrating Allan's life was held at Central United Church on June 12th, 1999.

He was born in Calgary on July 22nd 1917, son of William and Grace Margaret Spence. He had two brothers and one sister, all of whom predeceased him. Allan completed Grade 12 in June, 1937 and then wrote to the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association requesting information on examinations and articles. His wish was to serve articles with his grandfather, A.P. Patrick, ALS, DLS, DTS.

He enrolled in first year university at Mount Royal College and was awarded a scholarship towards the study of Civil Engineering at the University of Alberta.

Allan served DLS articles with Harry S. Day, ALS, DLS from 1944 to 1946. He worked on miscellaneous road and other surveys for the department of Public Works in various locations in northern Alberta. During the war, Allan participated in a Canadian Army University Training Program, (COTC) and became a commissioned officer in 1945.

On May 15th 1946, he graduated from the University of Alberta with a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering. His articles were transferred from Mr. Day to Seabury K. Pearce, ALS, DLS He served Mr. Pearce until December 1st 1947, where he gained experience in the survey of roads and rights of way, damsites, and river and lakeshore traverses for Calgary Power Ltd. in the Seebe, Kananaskis and Lake Minnewanka areas.

Allan started his career with the Land Titles Office in 1949 under the direction of his uncle, James C. Glenday, Manager of the Survey Department. His DLS articles were accepted by the Association, and on the strength of his engineering degree, he was exempted from all preliminary and intermediate examinations, as well as a number of the finals. He was required to sit six exams before taking the oral examination. Allan and I were preparing to write the limited final exam in May 1952, and we studied together on several occasions. He shared his knowledge of the Land Titles Act and descriptions with me, and I helped him prepare for the examination on astronomy. Allan was registered as an Alberta Land Surveyor on June 26th, 1952 - commission no. 173 - and was subsequently appointed Surveyor to the Land Titles Office.

Allan retired in 1979 after thirty years of service with the Land Titles Office and became registered in the Association's inactive roster. Rumor has it that Allan owned a car, but he preferred to ride his bicycle to work everyday, no matter what the weather. He was very athletic, having played hockey at the university level and was an excellent handball player. His lunch hours were often spent playing handball at the YMCA. Allan also enjoyed golfing.

In 1969, he ventured into the publishing business, producing a forty-eight page book on Descriptions of Land which sold for $2.00 a copy! Allan was a believer in brevity in description writing and this is reflected in his examples. Explanatory notes were appended to most descriptions for the benefit of the reader.

He applied to resign his commission, which Council approved with regret in early 1980.

Following his retirement, the Southern Regional Group of the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association held a dinner and social evening in his honour at the Calgary Winter Club. An account of this event was published in the Summer 1979 issue of ALS News. Allan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in March 1998, but fortunately was able to remain at home, thereby maintaining a measure of quality of life.

This gentle, courteous man will be sorely missed by those members of the surveying and legal professions, and others who had the privilege of knowing him during his career at the Land Titles Office.

The assistance provided by Barbara Ward, Army MacCrimmon, ALS (Ret.) and Syd Loeppky, ALS is greatly appreciated.

W.A. Wolley-Dod, ALS