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

Surrey seniors call Seniors’ Centre Without Walls, a new-to-B.C. program

‘Crazy coincidence’ saw program connect soon after COVID-19 pandemic hit

Surrey pushing the poor out of Whalley, public hearing speakers say

‘There is a war on the poor here in Surrey,’ resident Dave Diewert tells city council

IHIT investigating death of Surrey woman

Injured woman was taken to SMH early Tuesday morning

Charges laid in 2019 single-vehicle crash in Surrey that killed young soccer star

Dilpreet Sandhu, 19, faces eight charges in early morning crash that killed Brandon Bassi

Surrey Mounties seize guns, drugs and cash from Guildford residence

One man was arrested but no charges have been laid as investigation continues

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

COVID claims 23rd Langley Lodge patient, making it the deadliest outbreak in B.C.

Coronavirus kills another senior at Langley care home, bringing B.C. total to 166

Family of dead B.C. football star urge changes to mental health policies in hospitals

Uko family disappointed in actions of Regina hospital, hosting public funeral service this weekend

Help the ‘Cloverdale Reporter’ continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Maple Ridge woman fights WorkSafe BC over police widow’s pension

Dalila Vroom says husband, Const. Rob Vroom, died as a result of PTSD from time with Abbotsford PD

Most Read