In Memory of




Obituary for Walter George Kalev

Heaven gained an angel with a distinctive laugh, well styled hair, and a love of music and dance. Walter George Kalev of Eckville, Alberta passed away peacefully, at the Rimbey Hospital and Care Centre, Rimbey, Alberta, on Friday, January 26, 2024 at the age of 88 years. He was born to Nikolai and Hilja (nee Raabis) Kalev on August 1, 1935 in Bentley, Alberta. Their family was complete with the addition of a daughter, Edna Marie born in May of 1937. Nick and Hilja farmed a quarter of land north of Eckville NE.23.40.3W5, where they built a house, barn and farmed their land until Nick’s sudden passing in 1951. Walter took over the family farm at the age of fifteen upon the death of his father. Thankfully, the Raabis family had a cousin who worked at the License Registry who gave Walter’s mother a driver’s license, even though she had never been behind the wheel of a vehicle. This enabled Walter to get his learner’s license, so he could drive his mom and sister back and forth to town.
Walter connected with his future wife, Tiiu Koppel at a dance at the Gilby Hall. She relented to his charming ways, Walter and Tiiu started dating and were united in Marriage at the Lutheran Church in Red Deer on October 17, 1964.
Walter and Tiiu established a successful Mixed Farming Operation north of Eckville. Walter took pride in his animals and loved working the land. He was fortunate to have neighbors rent their land to him which enabled his farming operation to grow over the years. Walter promised Tiiu one day he would build her a new house-and he did…but did it his way. The shop was built the first year, followed by the steam bath, and then the house, in 1986. Walter was proud of his Estonian roots and heritage, and they often hosted visitors from Estonia.
Walter’s presence filled the room. He had a large physical stature, a loud laugh and big personality. He was known for his quick wit, open hospitality, and generous nature of lending a hand, or a piece of equipment to a neighbor in need and was always inviting anyone and everyone in for a meal and a visit. As soon as Tiiu saw someone drive in the yard, she would put on a pot of coffee, bake a cake, or add another potato to the pot for supper. Walter was a man with many friends and acquaintances near and far. Walter loved spending time with family and friends, hunting, fishing, camping, playing cards and having a general “BS” session. Playing cards with friends topped off with a beverage or two were special memories for Walter.
Walter loved music and came from a genetic line of musicians, where his father could play any instrument and his mother loved to sing. He enjoyed the music his special uncle, Waldo Raabis played and loved to dance. Walter and Tiiu spent many years at the Kimberly Accordion Festival with friends, and several winters down in Yuma, Arizona. These were treasured times for them both as they enjoyed these trips immensely.
Walter always said he would die on the farm, and in true Walter fashion, stayed true to his word. Walter was able to remain on the farm with the assistance of Tiiu and the Eckville Home Care Office, and the staff from West Country Family Services, until he had a health episode on January 19, 2024. Walter did have a small bit of stubbornness and a whole lot of pride. The family wishes to extend their heartfelt thanks to all those that provided care to Dad and the friends that took the time to visit with him.
Walter is survived by and will be dearly missed by his wife of fifty-nine years, Tiiu, his son, Brian, his daughters, Lori (Rick) Sparrow and Myrna (Oscar) Kleppe, his eight grandchildren, Cole (Alyssa), Brendan (Hannah), Austin (Taylor), Denver (Kassidy), Ethan (Kaeden), Lexi (Tony), Evan (Danielle), and Reed (Madeleine), and his one great grandchild, Kayce. He will also be sadly missed by his sister, Edna (Boyd) Oborne of Red Deer. Walter was predeceased by his father, Nikolai (1951) and his mother, Hilja (2000). In lieu of flowers, if desired, Memorial Donations in Walter’s honor may be made directly to the Eckville Home Care Office, PO Box 150, Eckville, Alberta, T0M 0X0 or to a Charity of the Donor’s choice.
A Come and Go Memorial Celebration in Walter’s honor will be held at the Gilby Hall, Gilby, Alberta on Saturday, February 3, 2024 from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. A special Tribute and Slide Show will begin at 11:30 a.m. Condolences, memories and photos may be shared and viewed at Arrangements in care of Parkland Funeral Home and Crematorium, 6287 – 67 A Street (Taylor Drive), Red Deer. 403.340.4040.