Dave Padgham passed away on Saturday, June 18 at Northcott Lodge in Ponoka from natural causes. He was 88 years old. Dave was born in High River, the 3rd of 6 children, to Cecil and Edith Padgham who immigrated to Canada from England in 1930 to build a new life. Dave spent most of his childhood on the family homestead near Westerose, attending Pigeon Lake School and doing various odd jobs to help support his family. One of these jobs was to start the fire in the wood stove at the school every morning.
He ventured out on his own at an early age to drive trucks with his lifelong friend Wen. Later he worked on seismic crews and went on to study at SAIT, then NAIT to become a heavy-duty mechanic. He worked on equipment for several years before deciding to follow his entrepreneurial spirit and start his own business. He bought a backhoe and started Dave’s Backhoe and Construction Ltd. He worked from the Calmar area but travelled far and wide and was well known and respected as a reliable contractor. Later he became the Town Foreman in Calmar and worked for this community from 1981 until his retirement in 1998. After retirement Dave filled his time with hobbies and family and was known to say he didn’t know how he’d ever had time to work!
Dave’s life spanned a pivotal era in our history. He grew up in a time (not that long ago) when there was no central heat, running water or electricity. His whole family worked to grow a garden to sustain them. Their lives were difficult. He often recalled how he would haul water with his older brother from a spring on the family homestead (affectionately known as the ‘stump farm’) with a team of Shetland ponies. He took pride in being a hard working and self-sufficient man, and he carried these values through his life, imparting his work ethic on his children and grandchildren.
Dave believed in giving back to his community. His neighbours near the Calmar farm could count on Dave to help when called upon, from clearing snow, thawing wells, or fixing cars, he would help if he could. Family and friends appreciated his carpentry, his handyman skills, and his generosity. He donated time to his church community in the Calmar and Thorsby areas and, among other things, served with the ‘Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International’ in the Leduc chapter for many years. Dave and Elaine invited people into their home; it was not unusual for 15 or more people to come over after church on Sunday for lunch and fellowship and laughs. His faith in God deepened over the last 40 years of his life and he was always ready to share this faith with someone.
Dave was devoted to his family. He wanted his children to have every opportunity he did not have. When grandchildren came along he was thrilled to share his love of gardening, animals and wood working. He is survived by his wife Elaine, his son Travis Padgham (Carolyn), and daughters Rhonda Price (Dwight) and Renee MacKenzie (Ken), grand children Sarah Greene (Matt), David Price (Nicole), and great grand children Sydney, Finley, Emma and James. He also has many nieces and nephews who are dearly loved.
A small memorial will be held in keeping with Dave’s wishes. If you wish to remember Dave, please donate to the Heart & Stroke Foundation or make a donation to your local food bank.
Serenity Funeral Service, Wetaskiwin