Longtime Surrey resident Al Cleaver was photographed chatting with friends and colleagues during a park dedication in his name near 119A Street and 100 Avenue.

Former Surrey Fire Chief helped preserve city’s heritage

Retired Surrey Fire Chief and Surrey Civic Treasure, Al Cleaver, is mourned with heavy hearts.

Al Cleaver, a former fire chief of Surrey who championed the city’s history and heritage, passed away Thursday morning at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

He was 88.

That afternoon, the Surrey Fire Fighters Association announced the passing of the 2010 Surrey Civic Treasure “with deepest regrets and heavy hearts.”

Cleaver, who retired as Surrey Fire Chief in 1986 after serving 28 years, was also the Surrey Fire Service’s first training officer.

In retirement, he continued to embody community service and volunteerism, earning recognition as a Surrey Civic Treasure in 2010.

His nomination was put forward by the Friends of the Surrey Museum and Archives Society, Surrey Heritage Advisory Commission, Surrey Historical Society and Surrey Professional Fire Fighters Pioneer Association.

Cleaver founded the Friends of the Surrey Museum Society, which raised more than $1 million for the Surrey Museum capital campaign.

After the new museum in Cloverdale opened, Cleaver continued to lobby for phase II – a commitment he stuck with until his dying day.

The original project was scaled back on the understanding a second phase would follow within 10 years.

But in 2011, the society asked the city to return more than $200,000 plus interest from a $450,000 reserve fund.

With the money, Cleaver and the Friends Society launched an endowment and a sponsorship program offering free admission to the museum.

Just last week, Cleaver seemed brightened by some promising news from City Hall on phase II from fellow “Friends of the Museum,” the society’s vice-chair Ursula Maxwell-Lewis told the Reporter. He had been too ill to attend the meeting in person.

Cleaver was a past president of the Cloverdale Rodeo and Exhibition Association, had chaired the Surrey Heritage Advisory Committee and the Heritage Services Community Advisory Board, and served on the Surrey Tourism Association.

He hosted heritage week bus tours, worked on heritage commissions, and helped the Surrey Professional Pioneer Fire Fighters Society raise money for a fire fighters’ history gallery in the Surrey Museum.

Al Cleaver Park in North Surrey is named after him.

In early November, he was pictured on the hustings supporting another Surrey Fire Service alumnus – city council candidate Mike Starchuk, who won his seat.

Follow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Best of Cloverdale’ contest returns

Voters can cast ballots once a day until Sept. 5; enter to win $250 gift card for Save-On-Foods

Man arrested in ‘after-hours club crackdown’ in Whalley, Surrey RCMP say

Police say they received information about clubs, parties ‘springing up’ at commercial properties

Wrong-way driver triggers multi-vehicle collision on Highway 99 in South Surrey

Police received multiple reports of vehicle heading north in southbound lanes

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

PHOTOS: Moving day for 110-year-old Fraser Valley heritage house

Chilliwack heritage house makes 1.7-kilometre journey to new location

Plainclothes Abbotsford police officer deletes cellphone video after drawing gun on innocent man

‘They never asked me what I was doing there, strictly came out with guns, threatening to shoot me’

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for Aug. 7

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Construction underway on Langley’s new hospice residence

The new 15-bed facility is slated for completion in summer 2021

50-year-old time capsule unsealed at Abbotsford International Airport

Capsule sealed by former PM Pierre E. Trudeau in 1970, when event became ‘Canada’s National Airshow’

Most Read