Gone, but not forgotten
It was with great sorrow we heard, that one of the best in our community was suddenly taken from us. Albert Kergl succumbed to cancer last month in Hamilton.
Understandably it was quite a shock to most of us who knew him, since he was hiding his suffering very well.
Albert was a great friend and guide to many, and it is almost impossible to list all of his accomplishments in one fell swoop. I am leaning very heavily on David Simon’s eulogy for the information on this larger than life personality.
Albert was first and foremost a family man. 55 years with Ruth, his true love, life companion and sweetheart speaks of that. Albert often mentioned his two sons, Albert and Stefan, and his daughter Carmen. He was proud of them all. Albert and Stefan after all were building a business that he knew, and he admired them for their work ethic, drive and determination. Carmen worked in the hospital and still found time to help her brothers in the office.
He was also proud of his adopted country Canada. He loved the Canadian flag and all it stood for. Whenever he went on a trip he packed Canadian flags and label pins to give away to people he met on the way. He took pride in the fact that he had met Lester Pearson, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, John Turner and other dignitaries.
He was also proud of the City of Hamilton. He pushed to have functions at the Hamilton Convention Centre whenever possible, including Mardi Gras events from Alberta, Manitoba & BC. This city and its mayors from Lloyd Jackson to Victor Copps, Bob Morrow and Larry Dilanni were always on his loyalty list.
He was loyal to and proud of the Germania Club that he had joined in1958. He was a long time vice-president, did a stint as president, and was recognized for his work for the club by being made an honorary member of the club.
He meant so many things to so many people. Almost everyone associated Albert with the Germania Club. He represented the club well at all occasions, always being positive and always recommending the club whenever he could.
We should not forget Albert’s sense of humour. "Joe’s pool hall, Joe speaking" was how he often answered his phone. His idea was "if I extract a smile of someone else, by making a fool out of myself, then I’ve done my job". He was the main funny man at the Narrhalla, the club’s Mardi Gras group in which he was a president, honorary member and honorary president. He always had a way of finding something funny.
Albert was a positive person. He didn’t appreciate "negative talk" as he would say. He insisted that those around him always thought positive. Even when his health was letting him down, he remained positive. This should be a life lesson for us - from Albert Kergl. Be Positive!
Of course one of his great loves was "Karneval", or Mardi Gras. That fascination and love started in Germany, when he was 10 years old, with the children’s Karneval. He progressed through his home group, and when he moved to Canada he brought this fascination with him and joined the newly formed Narrhalla ‘58.
They recognized his talents right away and elected him President and Jester President almost immediately. He helped found the German-Canadian Mardi Gras Association, and was awarded the Honorary Jester Hat for his efforts from the German Mardi Gras Association. Two years ago he received the highest medal that the Mardi Gras Association in Germany can bestow, the Gold Medal with Diamonds. You can only earn this award for 50 years of involvement in leadership positions with Mardi Gras, or Karneval. If we would have had more dedicated carnival enthusiasts like him, this movement might still be as strong as it was in the past.
A last Alaaf and Helau, Albert!
Dick Altermann and the team at Echo Germanica
We thank David Simon for the use of his eulogy.
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