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Tenny Whitfield

Tenny Whitfield

Born In: Glace Bay
Born: February 10th, 1951

Passed in: Edmonton, Canada
Passed on: November 10th, 2014

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
-Langston Hughes
Tenny was dreamer all his life and he followed his dreams - he never let them die. He was a purveyor of beauty from the mundane to the lofty. To know Tenny Whitfield was to know a man who truly enjoyed life, people, animals, art, rocks, nature and the world around him. On a clear winter morning, Tenny's dreaming came to an end when he passed peacefully at home with his family after a struggle with lung cancer.
Born on Cape Breton Island, he was a proud 'Bay boy' with a family heritage in coal mining and teaching. Tenny came to Edmonton with his family at age five and he lived there his whole life. He was a bright, curious child with a stubborn, cheerful nature. When he was six years old, Tenny had a stroke that left him with some right-side paralysis and a condition known as dystonia.
So many things and people played parts in this remarkable man's life. His photography and thirst for adventure took him to Vietnam where he was embedded on an aircraft carrier during the war as a correspondent for the United Press. After 14 months “in country” and getting shot, he ventured to Ansel Adams' studio to take a course on “how to see.” After graduating from NAIT as a social worker, Tenny worked tirelessly to help others; he was a passionate advocate for the rights of disabled people. Wherever he lent a helping hand — from homeless shelters to executive offices — Tenny cared and he made a difference. He was a photographer and journalist for The Spokesman newspaper, and Dialog magazine, and he worked with Lone Pine Publishing as an illustrator. He was an entrepreneur: operating his own Timberbear art shops in Capilano Mall and Whyte Avenue, and taking his work on the road to trade fairs all over Western Canada. Tenny was known as 'The Bear' — a name that originated from his time spent on Admiralty Island off the coast of Alaska, a place that is home to a handful of people and 5,000 grizzlies. Tenny won an arm wrestling championship in Bonn, Germany, and belonged to several fraternal organizations, most recently his “Men Without Hats” group which he really enjoyed.
Whether he was behind a camera lens or in his drawing studio, Tenny strove to capture all aspects of the world around him, as he saw them: through a lens of beauty and love.
Tenny was best known as a master pen and ink artist. His works of wolves, eagles, and the rest of what he called his “menagerie” are proudly displayed in private collections across Alberta and around the world. He left a photographic record of people, cabins, grain elevators, trees, flowers, abandoned cars — you name it. Some of his more famous subjects include Premier Peter Lougheed and Wayne Gretzky. He left us with a rich legacy of visual memories that resonate triumph over tribulation and are as manifestation of his life's dreams that we can all share. (His photo collection can be viewed at his website: www.timberbearart.com)
Tenny's love for travel was unparalleled. He was forever going somewhere. In his youth, he hitchhiked across the continent several times. Often, he'd take off to the mountains, just to go; in 2012 he took a solo road trip to the American Southwest, a place that was on his bucket list. In the last 15 years, with his beloved Karen, he travelled to Europe, Cuba, India, and, most recently, to Scotland, his ancestral home.
Tenny never stopped studying, learning, absorbing the world around him. His interests were eclectic. Whether he was studying the intricate world of aviation (had circumstances permitted, he would have been a pilot) or researching his next travel destination, investigating the workings of firearms or the structure of rocks, he was completely absorbed. Whatever Tenny took an interest in, he learned all about it. His chief interest, though, was people. When Tenny met someone, he wanted to know all about them; he saw the beauty of everyone's soul and was the greatest friend anyone could ever have.
Tenny leaves his memories to his survivors: his wife, Karen Berger, mother, Inez Whitfield, sister, Kendra Whitfield, stepsons, Justin and Jesse Berger, mother-in-law, Micheline Haydock, sister-in-law, Lynn Haydock, granddaughters, Faith and Mahiken Wilson and their mother Kim Wilson, and a myriad of extended family members and cherished friends including Uncle Don and Aunt Joyce Martin, the Carolina and Cape Breton cousins, and Melissa Valade, Jay Simpson, Cliff Pope and Alvin Fenton.
He was predeceased by his beloved grandparents Danny and Lydia Martin.
How can one encapsulate the life of a man like Tenny whose incredible essence now belongs to the earthly planet he so loved and to the universe he so embraced? Why, we'll do as he did and “Just get on with it!”. We love you, Tenny, and we take up the challenges and joys of life for you.
A celebration of Tenny's life will be held Saturday, Nov. 22 at McClure United Church, 13708 - 74 St., Edmonton. Viewing 11 a.m., farewell service at 12 p.m., lunch at 1 p.m. Interment to follow at Evergreen Memorial Gardens at 3:30 p.m.
To sign the book of condolences please visit www.evergreenmemorial.com.
Evergreen Funeral Chapel & Reception Centre, Cemetery & Cremation Centre, 780-472-9019.



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