CALGARY — Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice was remembered by his daughter Friday as deeply thoughtful, generous and a man of great humility.
Cassia Prentice spoke at the state memorial for Prentice, 60, who was killed in a plane crash earlier this month in British Columbia.
"My father was so much to so many and he was absolutely everything to our family,'' she told 1,500 politicians, business colleagues, friends and members of the public gathered at the Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary.
Cassia Prentice speaks at the state memorial for her father Jim, the former premier of Alberta, in Calgary. (Photo: Jeff McIntosh/CP)
She reminded everyone that his life and accomplishments were based on "a pledge to his parents — one of integrity, kindness, hard work and community.
"Those principles and the man who embodied them were bedrock to our family,'' said Prentice, who also lost her father-in-law, optometrist Ken Gellatly in the crash.
She said Prentice was a doting father, treasured his grandchildren and loved his wife, Karen, deeply.
"I am still not ready to say goodbye to my father, to our bedrock. But because my father cared so deeply about this country, this province and the people in it, we know that we do not grieve alone.
"Broken and shattered, we must all today stand tall on the foundations he laid ... most importantly the love of family.''
Watch the memorial for former Alberta premier Jim Prentice:
Federal and provincial politicians attended the memorial. Speakers included Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and former prime minister Stephen Harper. Prentice served in Harper's cabinet and Harper remembered him as gracious, capable and never unpleasant to his colleagues.
"We gave the hardest assignments to the people who could best handle them, and Jim was always one of those people,'' said Harper.
"He always gave Canada and Alberta his very best. That is how is deserves to be remembered.''
Former prime minister Stephen Harper speaks at a memorial service for former Alberta premier Jim Prentice in Calgary (Photo: Jeff McIntosh/CP)
A table at the front of the auditorium displayed a hockey jersey with the Alberta crest on it, a buckskin jacket, a cowboy hat and boots and several books.
The memorial began with a piped-in processional and members of the Black Otter Singers of the Siksika First Nation performed an aboriginal honour song. Singer Laura Brandt sang the moving Puccini aria O mio babbino caro (O My Beloved Father). Country singer George Canyon sang "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone).''
People were lining up outside the auditorium hours before the service. Doreen Brown and Shirley Koroluk arrived nearly three hours ahead of time.
Personal items belonging to former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice are displayed on stage before the beginning of his memorial service in Calgary. (Photo: Jeff McIntosh/CP)
The women volunteered on two Prentice campaigns — once when he ran for the leadership of Alberta's Progressive Conservatives and again for his May 2015 provincial election campaign.
Brown and Koroluk recalled that after the 2015 election loss to Notley's NDP, Prentice invited volunteers to his home for a barbecue.
Prentice still had the potential to do great things, Brown said.
"In my heart, I always thought maybe there's a chance he's going to run again somehow and we'd get him back.''
A book of condolences for former Alberta premier Jim Prentice is on display at the McDougall Centre in Calgary. (Photo: Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Prentice, Gellatly and two other men were killed when a twin-engine Cessna Citation crashed shortly after takeoff from the Kelowna airport on Oct. 13.
Prentice had stepped away from federal politics before entering provincial politics to take over as leader and premier of the PC party in Alberta.
His final foray in the public arena as Alberta premier lasted about eight months and ended when the NDP toppled the Tories after more than four decades in power.
Also killed in the crash were Calgary businessman Sheldon Reid and former RCMP officer Jim Kruk, who was the pilot of the aircraft.