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Mackenzie Highway pioneer passes away

MANNING, Alta. -- One of the last of the Mackenzie Highway pioneers has died.

MANNING, Alta. — One of the last of the Mackenzie Highway pioneers has died.


Fred Lorenzen, lately of Grimshaw but more famously from Manning, Alta., will be laid to rest on Feb. 3 after a ceremony in Manning.


According to Gord Cooper, a friend who races and collects trucks from his base a few acres east of Chestermere, Alta., Fred and his wife Bernice were the stuff of legend in the area. Cooper knew Fred Lorenzen for the last 10 years or more, initially through the Alberta chapter of the American Truck Historical Society.


“Fred and his family go back to early days of the Mac highway,” Cooper says.


Cooper says he, Fred and Bernice used to run the truckers’ reunion near Grimshaw in the late 90s, “getting old pioneers from the Mackenzie highway together.”


The annual summertime gathering, Cooper says, included events such as oil field pipe competitions and show and shines. “They ran a top notch get-together for all the old truckers and their families,” he remembers.


Fred, Cooper recalls, “always had a collection of antique International trucks and after running the reunion for a few years, bought a place in Grimshaw where he started up the Mile 0 Museum.” 


Cooper says the town welcomed the museum, which the Lorenzens decided to sell a couple of years ago.


“Real neat folks,”  Cooper says fondly. “Among the last of the pioneers of the north.”


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