On Tuesday evening at Council members unanimously approved a recommendation from the Community Identification Committee to name the amenities building at Snye Point Park in honour of Rex Terpening, a 103-year-old former northern bush pilot who spent much of his childhood and his early aviation career here in Fort McMurray.
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Council also had the unique opportunity to present the honour to a member of Terpening’s family. His son came to council to accept the ceremonial street sign on behalf of the family and of Rex Terpening himself.
“A brief note from dad who would love to have been here, but at 103 travel’s not quite what it used to be,” said his son.”Dad says: It is with humility and great pleasure that I acknowledge the honour bestowed upon me by the city of Fort McMurray, Alberta, in naming the building at the Snye ‘Rex Terpening Landing’. My days spent working at the Snye were among the happiest and most rewarding of my aviation career and to be recognized in this way by the citizens of Fort McMurray is very gratifying. Please accept my sincere gratitude. Yours truly, Rex Terpening.”
Terpening lived in the community as a child and attended school here until he was in grade nine. He played near the river when he lived in town and later served the community as one of the first members of the northern bush pilots in the 1930s when, according to the approved recommendation, “return trips were not certain and even end destinations were precarious.”
The building will now bear the name ‘Rex Terpening Landing’ in honour of his ties to the community as a resident, a trapper, a pilot, and a flight engineer.