Brenda Alberts — wife, mom, businesswoman, hockey fan and tireless champion of numerous local causes and charitable events — was honoured Friday morning at the Fort Langley Community Hall.
A section of roadway in Fort Langley is now known as “Brenda Alberts Way” in memory of the art gallery owner and community volunteer, who passed away in July after a short battle with cancer.
A portion of 96 Avenue between Billy Brown Road and Glover Road was dedicated with commemorative street signs at each of the five intersections along that route.
This was made official during a ceremony that saw Brenda’s husband Kurt, son Nick, and roughly 160 friends fill the hall to remember her.
The ceremony included words of remembrance from Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese and gallery artist Margo Harrison, a presentation by Bedford Rowing Society president Barry Dashner, the unveiling of the signage, and some brief closing remarks from Kurt Alberts, former mayor of the Township.
As well, Kevin Kelly and his son Michael Kelly Gabriel from Kwanten First Nation sang and drummed an honour song for the Alberts family.
Froese said following Brenda’s passing, Township Council and the community wanted to find a way to recognize her and all that she contributed civically, culturally, and personally to Langley.
“With the support of council, Brenda Alberts Way is now a reality,” Froese said. “I want to thank everyone who had a hand in that.”
Froese said this signage is a wonderful way for Brenda’s memory to live on, “and to remind our residents what she meant to all of us, and to our community.”
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Harrison also had kinds words for her friend, who she described as a “cheerleader and a promoter of causes.”
She noted that Brenda and Second World War veteran Gord Gillard were instrumental in bringing Remembrance Day services back to Fort Langley, starting Nov. 11, 1999 with just the two of them at Fort Langley Cemetery, and growing to a service that draws thousands.
While the ceremony was going on, Froese pointed out, Brenda Alberts Way signage was being installed by Township crews.
“Certainly when you do leave,” Froese said, “take the time to walk or drive past the signs. It’s something that the Township of Langley hasn’t done that often — renaming a road — and there are a lot of roads that are named after people in Fort Langley. But when a road already has a name, to come back and rename it…, it doesn’t happen that often. It’s a rare event. I think that it’s fantastic we were able to do this for Brenda.”
Kurt closed out the ceremony. He said he got choked up just thinking about what he was going to say about his wife.
Kurt thanked Froese along with Langley Township Council members for their efforts. “This is a wonderful, wonderful honour.”
In recognition of the support provided by Kurt and Brenda to the Bedford Rowing Society, the society’s York Boat is being renamed the “Brenda A” after Brenda .
This ceremony takes place on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the compound adjacent to the Marina Park boat launch and the public is welcome to attend.
With respect to the society’s gesture , Kurt had a confession.
“Brenda didn’t like boats,” he said, causing the attendees to erupt with laughter.
“It’s not really that she didn’t really like boats, she had a fear of being in boats. And especially if they were on the water.”
Kurt closed by saying, “Once again, Brenda has gotten her way.”
With those words, the audience roared in delight.