September 10, 2023
In Loving Memory (1949-2023) ~
After a life overflowing with love, loyalty, and providing for his “flamly”, years of unprecedented work ethic and strength, and a lifetime of brave, wonderous, and breathtaking adventure, Brian Ronald Veer went to our family’s Heavenly home, the “happy hunting ground”, to be with Jesus on September 10, 2023.
Brian was born in Herbert, Saskatchewan to Bill and Ella Veer in 1949. The family lived in nearby Chaplin until they ventured west to Calgary in 1949 and Wainwright in 1954 where they farmed throughout Brian’s childhood and teenage years.
Brian’s life passions were evident from the time he was a precocious little boy. When Brian was six, he saved up his money and went to the local auction by himself and purchased his first gun, a single shot Cooey 22, for $3.00. It was the official beginning of a lifelong passion for hunting and the great outdoors, and the adventurous life that the two would give him and his future family. As a boy, Brian would gallop through the fields on his much-loved horse Patsy with his knife and gun buckled at his side, hunt for crow and gopher tails to make a bounty to buy more bullets, dig and build in the dirt, go on fishing expeditions, and save money for generous Christmas presents for his ma.
Brian attended school in nearby Irma, and met his soul mate Melba when they were in grade six at Irma School. When Brian was a teenager, he bought a black Mustang and would spend Friday nights hot rodding in downtown Wainright and taking Melba on dates to school dances.
Brian and Melba later married on October 16, 1971 in Irma. He and Melba moved to Edmonton in 1971 where Brian began his career in construction. They had their first daughter Marti (“my eldest daughter” and mini-Brian), in 1973 while living in Edmonton.
Brian and Melba moved to Red Deer in 1977 where Brian built the family home on Neville Close. Tara (my “middlest daughter”) was born shortly after the move to Red Deer, and Kelly (“my littleist daughter”) was born in 1980. They raised their three girls in Normandeau until 1990, and home was the backdrop to cozy and loving family life of every pet the girls wanted, sleepovers in the playhouse Brian built where he’d scare the neighbourhood kids away with a bear rug, flashlight, and well-timed roar, magical Christmases where Brian insisted Melba buy more presents, elephant rides and bedtime stories with distinctive sound effects, snow forts with a labyrinth of tunnels, making bullets for the weekend gopher hunt, showdowns with neighbourhood bullies, hockey games, church picnics, Friday night dates with Melba, trips to “Emile of Many Guns”, rides in the backhoe bucket, bike rides and quad rides, warm blankets from the dryer while watching “The Littlest Hobo”, and a lifetime of hugs and “I love you more”.
Brian started the family business, Brian’s Excavation & Trenching, in 1973 in Edmonton and continued to serve the Red Deer community and region from 1977 until his retirement in 2021. Brian was a fair and respected businessman with an incredible work ethic, taking great pride in the quality of his work, mentoring the many guys who worked for him over the years, “ciphering” complex calculations in seconds, honouring his word, looking people in the eyes and making handshake deals. Brian was incredibly adept with the backhoes, excavators, and dozers, and his loyalty to John Deere was often recognized by the company internationally. He never inflated his prices in the good times, knowing that customers would remain loyal in the bad times. Brian prided himself in “making a good living for his ‘flamly'” and providing for his loved ones, and we honour him for the legacy of his hard work and many acts of service.
Brian and Melba acquired land in 1989 on what was then the eastern border of the city, where Brian built their dream home and acreage that would be the home to decades of visits with family and friends around the kitchen table, fires in the backyard, and the place of every life celebration imaginable as well as the equipment for the “construction empire”. Brian loved nature and planted every tree that surrounds the acreage. The “homestead” was the backdrop to evening horseback, quad and sled rides in the countryside, getting the boat ready for fishing trips, loading the guns in the truck for hunting season, eating raw peas and turnips from the garden, witnessing newly born horses find their shaky legs, and late nights reading hunting books, watching westerns and war movies, calling in wildlife from the field against harvest sunsets, and enjoying a smoke and family visit with one of Brian’s many loved dogs nuzzling his leg in search of a pat on the head.
Brian loved large, and just when he thought his heart couldn’t be fuller, his grandchildren Dakota, Kaiden, and Paige were born, bringing new life, new adventures, and a new generation to tell the same stories over and over to. Papa delighted in teaching the grandkids to shoot, hunt, fish, horseback ride, love animals, do the right thing, work hard, and cherish quality time with family. Brian was a generous and loving “papa”, taking toddlers on tractor and horse rides, willfully ignoring orders to not give the kids sugar and to get them to bed at a decent time, and carrying on the generous, strong, and loving legacy he had given his three girls.
Brian was an avid, passionate, and fearless hunter, horseback rider, fisherman, and outdoorsman throughout his life. His lifetime of adventure included: hunting bear, cougar, and lynx out west, and deer, moose, and geese out east. Brian loved to fish in local lakes and ponds as well as nationally and internationally, and often spent Saturdays teaching kids to shoot gophers and coyotes in preparation for big game. Brian anticipated the fall so he could head east to Wainwright for his annual deer hunt, dropping in to visit his beloved sister Dinny on his way home, with the family gathering upon his return home to marvel at the latest hunt and help skin the deer for meat. He lived with contagious excitement for horseback riding trips to the Ya Ha Tinda and in preparation for bear hunting camping trips with family and friends in the spring.
The pinnacle of Brian’s hunting accomplishments was the fulfillment of his lifelong dream to hunt game in Africa, a dream realized in indescribable adventures in South Africa with his kids, grandkids, and his prized Browning Medallion 375 H & H. Brian hunted numerous African plains game, with his greatest achievements including the conquering of the elusive “grey ghost” (kudu), a wildebeest, a black sable, and the bullets of all bullets, his lions. Brian’s hunts contributed to multiple conservation efforts in Africa, including preserving the endangered black rhino and the meat feeding multiple African villages and children’s orphanages. Brian loved and treasured every memory made on these adventures of a lifetime.
Brian lived with generosity of spirit, deeply sharing people’s sorrows, jubilant in other’s happiness and victories, and being quick to open his well-worn wallet to generously give to those in need. He was the greatest of storytellers, always had a joke at the ready, and spoke his unfiltered mind and then some. He was soft hearted and kind, principled and wise, would run into danger to save others, was an iron wall of defense and safe place for his family, quick to help, and would bring swift (sometimes frontier) justice to those who thought they could lie, cheat or steal. He had incredible physical strength and power, profound perspective and always knew exactly what to do, and we cannot even begin to describe his incredible personality. Brian’s faith governed his life as he worshipped God in the great outdoors, and it was his hope that everyone he encountered would find faith in Jesus, be reunited in Heaven, and live eternal life.
Our lion-hearted, one-of-a-kind, character, larger-than-life, and an absolute legend of a husband, dad and papa was met at the gates of heaven by his favourite horse Drifter, and his many pet horses and dogs which were dear to his heart, but especially his childhood dog Bullet and dogs Mason and Marshall, among loved ones who have gone before him.
Brian leaves behind his shattered love-of-his-life and “beauties” Melba, his three absolutely broken-hearted daughters Marti (“Marti-knock-a-lookie Paige”) and son-in-law Tim (“Timothy”), Tara (“TT”) and Pete (“Peet-a”), and Kelly (“Kelly Britt Britt”), and his heartbroken grandkids Dakota (“Kots”) and Jayce (“Jayco”), Kaiden (“Taid-en”) and Paige (“Paigeykins”).
Brian also leaves to mourn his special sister Dinny, elder brother Stan and younger brother Greg, numerous brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, cousins, many, many hunting partners and close friends, the construction community, employees and loyal customers. Brian was predeceased by his one-of-a-kind, deeply loved “ma”, Ella Veer, in 1990 and father William Veer in 1999, and his brothers Bobbie and Dickie who passed in childhood.
The girls have lived their entire life dreading the day they would be temporarily separated from their deeply loved dad, fearing that he would be mauled by a retaliatory lion or gouged by a charging cape buffalo in front of them with dad shouting “shoot, shoot!” and that they would miss the most important shot of their life. In the end, Brian took a final breath knowing how immeasurably loved he is with loved ones by his side, holding his hard-working, giving, strong, and kind hands. Brian told his girls “Don’t be sad when your dad goes. I’ll be riding Drifter in the happy hunting ground and your dear old dad led a good life”. Melba, his girls and grandkids have been unable to heed his request as they are devastated and cannot imagine life without the man who is the heartbeat of our “flamly” and the measure of life itself.
His family is planning a celebration of life that will try to capture the life of an absolute legend and the heart and character of a man loved more than any husband, dad, and papa has ever been. Our efforts will no doubt fall short. If you shared life with Brian or would like to support the family, you are invited to celebrate his life on Friday, September 22, at 1:00 p.m. at Living Stones Church at 2020-40 Avenue in Red Deer. Guests are invited to honour Brian’s life and legacy by wearing camouflage, plaid or blue to the service. A live stream of the service will also be available at www.livingstones.ab.ca/live.
For those interested, donations will be accepted at the service for the Tshepo Foundation, a children’s orphanage in Bloemfontein, South Africa, a cause Brian gave generously to in life when he visited there, or Make-A-Wish-Foundation Canada.
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