October 22, 1923 – September 9, 2018
Born to Thomas and Margaret Dorothy Usher in Scollard, AB, Les and his elder brothers Tom & Dave, and sisters Margaret & Jean grew up on the family ranch in the Big Valley area. He attended the two-room Scollard school before heading to University School in Victoria and graduating in 1942. Les completed the NO. 1 Canadian Army Training Course when joining the army, where he served as 2nd Lt. in the field artillery. Upon returning from WWII he completed his Agriculture degree at the U of A in 1949, and soon found employment as Assistant Supervisor of 4-H Clubs with Alberta Agriculture.
In 1955, Les met and married Lillian May Popoff, and began a family in Edmonton producing two children, Laurel and Thomas and a granddaughter, Kelsey; they celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary in August. In the 1970’s, Les served proudly as Deputy Minister of Culture under Horst Schmid, and Peter Lougheed, and oversaw the robust development of Arts and Cultural resources, heritage festivals, and historic sites. He last worked as Manager of Program Implementation with Agriculture Canada before retiring in 1993. Highlights of a fulfilling career of public service include: Deputy Minister of Department of Youth in Alberta; President of 4-H Clubs in Alberta and Canadian Council of 4-H Clubs; Member of Board of Governors & Senate at UofA; National President of IPAC in 1976; President of Alberta Forestry Association & Jr. Forest Wardens; President of Alberta Institute of Agroligists – Edmonton; and People’s Warden at All Saints’ Anglican Cathedral. An avid weekend rancher and founding shareholder of Usher Ranching, Les’ love for this province was rewarded in receiving a Century Ranch recognition in 2004, and in the creation of the Rumsey Ecological reserve on former Usher Ranch lease land. His commitment to his Anglican faith and his church community was something that he nurtured throughout his life. His pride in his family and his heritage was recognized by any who knew him passingly, and lives on in those he leaves behind. He departs this life richer for sharing his grace and humble respect for this land, and for the people who inhabit it. His wife and family miss him. Friends, family and colleagues are all welcome to attend a Memorial Service at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 29, 2018 at All Saints’ Anglican Cathedral, 10035 – 103 street, Edmonton.
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