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.

Just Posted

Lord Tweedsmuir cruises to big playoff win

Panthers down the W.J. Mouat Hawks 57-7, advance to quarterfinal game

White Rock to ‘embark on a new direction’ for city’s management

Dan Bottrill has been the city’s chief administrative officer since 2012

‘Slight’ arsenic increase noted in White Rock water: city

Challenges in plant commissioning cited, testing underway

Parents, students asked to weigh in on Surrey school-catchment options

Consultation sessions for South Surrey, Clayton get underway next week

Coastal FC Walking Soccer program takes first steps

South Surrey recreation program held weekly at BMO Coastal Soccer Centre

Disney Plus gives Canadians a streaming platform that nearly matches U.S. version

The Walt Disney Company’s new subscription platform unveiled a comprehensive offering of nearly 500 films

Bill Murray dons iconic Hudson’s Bay scarf to watch Canucks game in Vancouver

Murray is in Vancouver to film The Now, a mini-series directed by Peter Farrelly

Canadian allergists’ group wants Benadryl behind the counter due to side effects

Some doctors say the medication is over-used because of its easy availability

B.C. government grappling with multiple labour disputes by public-sector unions

Public-sector unions may have expectations of a labour-friendly NDP government

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Birthday boy: Pettersson nets 2 as Canucks beat Predators

Vancouver ends four-game winless skid with 5-3 victory over Nashville

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Bargaining to resume in Metro Vancouver transit strike as bus driver overtime ban looms

Both sides might be headed back to the table to prevent new overtime ban

Most Read