July 12th, 2024

Canadian Pacific Railway honours long-time engineer on 100th birthday


By Dale Woodard on September 14, 2021.

Herald photo by Dale Woodard - Canadian Pacific Railway's Scott MacDonald, Greg Squires, and Brad Robertsonstand next to the custom-built CPR bench gifted to for Dan Rohovie, a CPR employee of 42 years who celebrated his 100th birthday Saturday. The bench will sit out front of Extendicare Fairmont, where Rohovie lives.

This birthday gift is right on track for Dan Rohovie.
And a themed, custom-built one bearing his name.
Rohovie, a long-time Canadian Pacific Railway engineer who grew up in Coalhurst and now resides at Extendicare Fairmont on Lethbridge’s south side, celebrated his 100th birthday on Saturday.
In celebration of not only the centennial mark, but also his 42 years of service with the CPR and his time served with the Royal Canadian Air Force, executives from CPR in Calgary made the trip down to Lethbridge to present Rohovie with his own CPR-themed bench, which will sit out front of Extendicare Fairmont.
Canadian Pacific Railway senior vice-president of engineering, mechanical and procurement Scott MacDonald, senior vice president of operations west Greg Squires and assistant vice president, mechanical car Brad Robertson learned of Rohovie’s birthday from an article in the Lethbridge Herald at the end of August.
“It was amazing,” said MacDonald. “Everyone at CP who read the article immediately knew we had to do something special for Dan with 42 years with the railway and service to the RCAF in the Second World War. This is the third bench in existence in the world and we thought it was a fitting tribute to Dan to his service to the country and the railway. It’s our honour and pleasure to be able to do something like this for him.”
Getting ready for his afternoon birthday party, Rohovie – who worked the south region in Alberta on a route that included the Crowsnest Pass, Calgary and Medicine Hat before being promoted to engineer in November 1949 – wasn’t expecting the gesture.
“It’s a nice bench,” he said. “It’s a just beautiful piece of work. It was a complete surprise for me.”
Rohovie joined the RCAF in August of 1942 and served with the RCAF until 1945.
He went back to work for the railway until his retirement on Jan. 5, 1982.
The bench is entirely railway themed.
“It’s a freight car wheel with the historic Canadian Pacific logo,” said Robertson, adding the bench arrived in Coalhurst Saturday morning after being hot shotted across the country from Toronto. “There are some finer touches. Everything is railway-inspired. There are the spikes on the ends and it’s really well put together.”
Upon being presented the bench Saturday, Rohovie was gracious.
“He was concerned he was putting us out because we had to drive all the way from Calgary,” said MacDonald. “We just said it was our absolute honour to celebrate this 100th birthday with him.”

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