“Conservation efforts were very, very important to D. J. and he spent countless hours working with the Pembina Valley Conservation District.”
– DONALD ORCHARD
Don (D. J.) Alexander, one of Manitoba’s conservation leaders, died January 20 at his farm home near here following a brief illness. He was 74 years old.
Alexander, chair of the Pembina Valley Conservation District from 1989 to 2007, also chaired the Manitoba Conservation Districts Association from 1997 to 2001.
“D. J. impacted the lives of many people over his nearly three-quarters of a century of living and did so because he wore so many hats,” said local farmer and former MLA Donald Orchard in his eulogy for Alexander.
Some of those hats included farmer, high school science teacher, high school pr inc ipa l , muni c ipa l councillor, reeve and chair of the Morden, Stanley, Thompson and Winkler planning district.
Alexander’s work could not have been done without the support and help of his wife of 50 years, Thelma, Orchard said.
“Conservation efforts were very, very important to D. J. and he spent countless hours working with the Pembina Valley Conservation District,” he said. “And he was very supportive of the establishment of our Deerwood Soil and Water Management project, which has emerged as a leading North American conservation soil and water management project.”
Alexander’s favourite quote was from United States president John Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
And he did just that, volunteering for countless local organizations from the curling club and local United Church, to the Trans Canada Trail and the South Central Cancer Resource (centre).
“He had an amazing capacity
to work for the common good and a commitment to people, land and family and friends,” United Church Minister
Allison Halstead said during a celebration of Alexander’s life Jan. 27.
Alexander’s deep understanding of, and commitment to agriculture, helped him come up with ideas to deal with some of the challenges farmers face with taxation, water management, soil conservation, animal husbandry and municipal planning, Orchard said.
Late last year the Pembina Valley Conservation District named a park three miles west of Miami on top of the escarpment “Alexander Ridge Park,” in honour and memory of Alexander’s dedication to conservation and the
environment. It will be officially dedicated at a ceremony in June.
Besides his wife, Thelma, Alexander is survived by four children and six grandchildren.