At its annual general meeting on April 21, the members of the Alberta Estonian Heritage Society elected Bob Kingsep as the new president by acclamation. The inaugural president, Bob Tipman, resigned after two years at the helm. A card of thanks was signed by all present, in appreciation of his leadership. Both men played major roles at the 1999 centennial of Estonians in Canada, celebrated at Stettler, and have continued to volunteer with Albertans of Estonian descent since then. .
Bob Kingsep's grandfather was the first known Estonian to settle in Canada. Others soon followed him to central Alberta. Eventually three Estonian communities developed here. Subsequently, three centennials have been celebrated: 1999 Stettler, 2001 Gilby/Eckville, and 2004 Barons.
AEHS members are trusting that Bob will be more attuned to the wishes of the local Estonian community than his grandfather was. A multi-talented leader of Alberta Estonians at the beginning of the 20th Century, Hendrik Kingsep was known among other things, for his long speeches, typically lasting two hours or more. According to old minutes, at one meeting when Hendrik was absent, the community passed a motion restricting his speeches to a maximum length of half an hour. However, as his grandson's career is with computers rather than verbally based, the AEHS has no qualms about Bob's leadership style.
Bob Kingsep is on his way to Estonia for the first time, at the beginning of May, to meet his long lost relatives after some recent Internet activity enabled a wonderful, surprise reconnection.
New president for Alberta Estonian Heritage Society