H.G. (Hal) Falkenberg

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Harold Gordon Falkenberg was born in 1931 in Edmonton, Alberta. His parents, Gustave and Herta Falkenberg farmed in the Fredericksheim district near Leduc, Alberta. As a farm boy he learned how to work the land with horses, pick rocks, milk cows, clean out barns, stook and pitch bundles and tend the large vegetable garden (so necessary for food).

Except for a year and a half attending Eastwood Elementary School in Edmonton for his grades three and four, staying with his grandmother, Gussie Falkenberg, Harold received his elementary education in the one-room country schools of Parkdale and Fredericksheim. He graduated from King George High School in Leduc. Again he was boarded by his grandfolks, this time by Gus and Minnie Domreis. He played on the high school hockey team and also filled in for the Leduc baseball team whenever they were short of players.

Harold enrolled at the University of Alberta in Edmonton in the fall of 1948 and graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Upon graduation he took employment with a survey firm in Edmonton and obtained his commission as an Alberta Land Surveyor the following year.

In December of 1953, Harold moved to a start-up survey firm from Calgary. This company was to become Midwest Survey & Engineering Ltd. of which he became a partner and general manager of their Edmonton office. The company specialized in surveying drilling locations and pipeline right-of-ways in the booming petroleum industry in Western Canada.

In 1960, he left Midwest Surveys to join Shell Canada Limited as their chief surveyor for all their operations in Canada. During his seven years with Shell, Harold had a varied and interesting work experience. This included surveys in the Northwest Territories as well as special assignments for navigational responsibilities for the first offshore explorations in Canada on the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Upon the deaths of his wife, Margaret and two daughters, Lisa and Jane, in July of 1967, Harold relocated to Calgary with his three sons. Shortly after, he was retained as a consultant to Panarctic Oils Limited starting petroleum explorations in the Arctic Islands of Canada.

He formed his own company, H.G. Falkenberg & Associates and experienced some of his most challenging and interesting times in his surveying career. This involved the location of drilling positions, conducting ice movement studies on the Arctic Ocean and locating and designing many air strips required by Panarctic on land and ice. All of this in most hostile and fiercest environment in the world with months of total darkness and up to -130F wind-chill temperatures.

In 1978, under a contract with Sheltech Surveys, Harold had his first foreign survey experience on a CIDA project in Zaire, Africa. By this time surveying technology had advanced to positioning by the use of satellites orbiting the earth. He also spent most of a year in Somalia surveying navigational control off the Gulf of Aden.

Before his retirement in 1992, Harold had also worked in Sudan, Spain and Greenland. One of his proudest achievements was his involvement with the survey of the longest railway tunnel in the Western Hemisphere for CP Rails in the Rogers Pass of British Columbia.

In 1992, Harold Falkenberg became a life member of the Association of Professional Engineers Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta and celebrated 50 years as an Alberta Land Surveyor in 2003.

Excerpted from "Our Falkenberg Family" by Lucille Effa.