Norman Leslie Reid

Norman reached peace early on a late April morning of his 95th year. Survived by his wife of seven decades, Theresa, and three children, Winnifred Armstrong, Maxine Reid, and DC Reid, Norman has, as he described his ultimate destination, ‘gone to the big airfield in the sky.’ He also leaves four grand daughters, Tara, Amanda, Samantha and Vanessa, and one great grand daughter, Joleen.

Norman is remembered as a man of bridges, both for destroying them, and building them. His most formative education came in his first score of years, as a navigator, aboard Wellington bombers, in WWII. He was the man who put his crew on target on nights made bright by German flack. 41 times he put them unerringly where they would break enemy communication links. On his last mission, he was shot down – for the second time – over enemy territory, in Yugoslavia, and was recovered by Chetniks loyal to western-friendly general Mihailovich. Norman was secreted and moved until the Americans, in a daring escapade, rescued him and other downed fliers, requiring chopping down a tree in a field, so the DC3 could land.

And there are the bridges he built. Graduating with an engineering degree and an all-around math wizard, he went to work building underpasses and overpasses all over Alberta; this includes the Crowchild Expressway in Calgary. He had joined Haddon, Davis and Brown, after his formal education, and became president of Reid Crowther Engineers that grew to eight pan-Canada offices, plus additional international engineering offices.

Reid never grew tired of the war and purchased a Tiger Moth in his 70s, the bright yellow and black biplane all pilots trained in when he was 17. He and instructor, Ray Scott, flew 4400 km across Canada in short hops, only in the day light – vintage biplanes have no night vision. In a tornado in High River, they had to hold the plane on the ground by the wings and ride it out, or it would have taken off without them.

Retirement came to rest with Norman on Coles Bay, where Malahat storms, crossed ‘the fetch of the bay’, something an Edmonton boy would not have thought would come his way, the magic of tides, the ocean advancing and retreating like chessmen. Reid will never be forgotten by his children, and those who knew him best.


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