It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of one of our dear and lifelong members, Stanley MacDowell (Mac) Elder. He passed peacefully on the morning of November 14, 2022, at the age of 94.
Born in Bassano Alberta, on July 22, 1928, he grew up in the depression on a farm near Standard. He rode a pony to a one-room school and was always proud of his roots. In 1947, 18-year-old Mac Elder traveled to Jasper for a summer job outfitting with Jack Hargreaves. He returned the following year, but this time instead of taking the train, he made a 3-week pack trip riding from Sundre to Jasper with his best friend Russel Cooper. Mac spent the next 10 years guiding and outfitting in and around Jasper, with pack horse trips as long as 120 days.
Mac was recruited to join the Warden Service in the fall of 1957, living in and patrolling the Brazeau and Willow Creek Districts of Jasper National Park. Mac married Catherine Stephenson in 1964 and started their family at Maligne Lake and Jasper. In 1975 Mac became the Chief ParkWarden at Pukaskwa National Park in Ontario and then Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in 1977. Mac and Cathy retired to Cochrane in 1991, after 34 years with the Warden Service.
Mac became an active member of the Western Heritage Centre and the Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation. He volunteered for 20 years with the Calgary Stampede, driving teams and buggies in the Stampede Parade and the downtown attractions. He was a proud and active grandpa. Mac was well known for his memory, his way with people and with horses, and for his storytelling of his many adventures with mountains, pack horses, and grizzly bears.
Mac is survived by Catherine, his loving wife of 58 years; his two children, Craig Elder and Fiona (Favour) Simoongwe; grandchildren, Shayne, Matiala, and Reyna Simoongwe; sisters Patricia (Hal) Minton and Norma Camman; as well as many nieces and nephews and extended family.
Mac was predeceased by his father, Ronald Elder (died Oct. 1928), brother Jim Elder, killed in Holland at the age of 22, stepfather Alex Buckley, brother Bob Elder, mother Lois Buckley (nee MacDowell), and brother Ken Elder.
Celebration of life to be held at the Cochrane Ranche House, at 1:00 pm Friday, November 18, 2022.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation in his honour are welcome.