D.E. (Doug) Barnett

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Doug Barnett, ALS (Hon. Life)
Known for Honorary Life Member (2002)

Mr. Doug Barnett of Edmonton, Alberta, formerly of the Stettler, Alberta area, passed away in Edmonton on Saturday, January 9th, 2016 at the age of 82.

Doug was born on February 25th, 1933 in the family home north of Spruce Grove, Alberta. He married Rita (nee Crowe) of the Stettler area in Christ King Catholic Church on August 15th, 1959 and thereafter resided in Camrose.

Doug’s love of education led to two provincial land surveying commissions (Alberta and Saskatchewan), as well as the federal commission as Canada Lands Surveyor.

From Camrose, his young family moved to Edmonton in 1966 and Doug became the founding chair for the newly-formed Survey Technology Program at NAIT In order to benefit both the survey program and his students, Doug went on to graduate from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Education degree in 1973.

All the while he worked hard to successfully establish the Survey Technology program as a Canada-wide accredited program. His dedication and care for his students prompted approximately fifty young men and women to pursue and obtain their professional designation as Alberta Land Surveyors. His eldest son Bruce was one of these who obtained two land surveying commissions.

Doug retired from NAIT in 1995. In 2002, Doug received the prestigious Honorary Life Membership Award from the Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association and in 2010 was recognized again by his peers as they celebrated his fifty years of serving the public as an Alberta Land Surveyor.

Doug is survived by his three loving sons, Bruce (Patricia), Donald and Ken (Diyette). He was predeceased by his wife Rita in 2006. Doug’s early retirement years were spent loving and caring for Rita at home in Edmonton, while dementia took its course with her over a period of ten years. This self-sacrifice for the love of his wife was beautiful proof of Doug’s great soul. His example was one the family members will never forget. Doug dedicated his life fully to his family, his students and his profession. He will be remembered for his faith lived out in gentleness, kindness, generosity and leadership.

By Ken Allred, on the occasion of the presentation of Honorary Life Membership to Doug Barnett in 2002 and updated in 2005

Doug Barnett was born February 25, 1933, SE1/4, Sec. 26-53-27-W4 (just north of Spruce Grove). He received his commission on May 30, 1960 and was an active member for 27 years. Doug was also a Saskatchewan Land Surveyor and a Canada Lands Surveyor.

Doug was articled to Don Williams and George Walker and he articled current Alberta Land Surveyors Brent Murray, Albert Rachynski and Francis Prefontaine.

He graduated from SAIT's surveying and drafting program in 1954 and obtained a bachelor of education degree from the University of Alberta in 1973.

His survey experience included the Department of Mines & Technical Surveys doing topographic surveys in southern Saskatchewan in 1953, Stewart, Weir from 1954-1956, Walker & Newby from 1956-1957 and W.D. Usher & Associates for seven years - part of it managing their Camrose office.

Doug, of course, is best known for setting up the two-year surveying program at NAIT in 1966. He also set up, administered and taught in the two year Cooperative Education Program at NAIT (Survey Tech) 1975-1985. He retired from NAIT in 1995. Approximately fifty students who went on to become Alberta Land Surveyors attended Doug's classes, including his own son, Bruce.

Doug's work with the Association includes serving on Council in 1979-1981, the Board of Examiners, the Continuing Education Committee and the Historical & Biographical Committee.

Mr. Barnett addressed the luncheon as follows:

Mr. President, Council members, fellow surveyors, ladies and gentlemen:

It is indeed a pleasant surprise to be awarded this membership. I thank all who saw fit to forward my name for consideration of this most cherished award.

It has been a privilege to contribute to the growth of the Association as a practicing surveyor and as an educator. Working with Stewart, Weir and George Walker as an articled student and later with Dave Usher, exposed me to a broad range of surveying experiences which was invaluable in my later teaching experiences at NAIT. I am also grateful for a short period working with the late Charlie Snell from Red Deer and, of course, for Jim Clark who captured my interest and taught me the basics of surveying at SAIT. In looking back over the history of the Association, I am impressed that the spirit of the profession has been maintained over the years-a proud part of Alberta's history. We can go back as far as David Thompson who almost single-handedly surveyed and mapped the west over two hundred years ago. Records of the Association since then show that the spirit of David Thompson lives on as the same meticulous accuracy in observations, the same patience working out of results, the same dogged determination in overcoming obstacles and rising to the challenge, permeates the work of land surveyors today in serving the public interest as it did for David Thompson two hundred years ago.

I am proud to be part of an Association that has shown great change and progress since I became a land surveyor forty-two years ago. It is a privilege to be part of a great transformation in a challenging profession and especially to have contributed to the education of aspiring young surveyors at NAIT for thirty years - many of whom are practicing Alberta Land Surveyors today. I am pleased to have opened the door for them from which they seized the opportunity for further education and training and went on to successful and challenging careers in land surveying. In conclusion, thank you again for this prestigious award. It will remain a highlight in my career as a surveyor and educator and still a student.