Albert Ian CROSS
Albert “Ian” Cross
June 21st , 1951 – November 7th , 2022
On Monday, November 7th, Ian passed away suddenly at home. He was 71 years of age.
His wife and best friend Bonnie and his daughter Jacquelyne are heartbroken, but they are also extremely grateful for the many extra decades they were given with Ian as he prevailed against all odds through numerous heart attacks and cancer.
Ian was predeceased by his mother Mary Manifold, his brother Michael James Cross and his father-in-law Steve Gregorwich. He will be forever in the hearts of his loving wife of forty-five years Bonnie Gregorwich and his daughter Jacquelyne Gregorwich, sister Marilyn Sigvaldason (Dale Zacharuk), sister Judy Cross, Mother-in-law Anne Gregorwich, brother-in- law Larry Gregorwich (Anneli Gregorwich), Don Gregorwich (Joan Gregorwich), sister-in-law Wendy Gregg as well as numerous nieces and nephews and many dear friends.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Ian was transferred to Edmonton in the mid 70’s to assume the role of Regional General Manager for the Edmonton Pizza Hut locations. That position inspired a 50-year career in the hospitality industry, in which he managed the kitchens of Tumbleweeds, Cook County, Early Stage Saloon and many more. During that time, he lent his knowledge and experience to consult and mentor in the industry as well as helping to develop the Hospitality program at the Westerra Institute of Technology, until finally opening the doors to his own operation in Stony Plain. He called her B.K’s Eatery after the love of his life Bonnie, and she took up residence on Main Street Stony Plain for 15 years.
He quickly became known for excellent food, with his amazing breakfasts, mouthwatering homemade burgers, and heartwarming soups. Ian’s love for his craft quickly made B.K’s a destination spot in town, a place for gathering friends, filling bellies and creating community. He was proud of his business, and it was apparent in the elaborate holiday installations he created by hand throughout the year, leading up to an always original and impressive annual Christmas display that would bring neighbors to the windows nightly to peek in on what Ian was doing.
Music was a large part of Ian’s life. He was a soulful man, with a natural rhythm that he shared with his daughter Jacquelyne and he was known to clear the dance floor in his disco days. A whistler, quiet times in the game room upon retirement lent a variety of sounds, from battleships and cannon fire to Ian whistling Amazing Grace. Those were the sounds of his happy place.
Ian also had a beautiful voice and couldn’t, or rather wouldn’t, wait until December to sing carols to Bonnie while they worked. As far as he was concerned, the first snowfall meant it was time to spread his personal brand of cheer.
Ian was an artist, and one of many mediums. Whether plating food with an effortless beauty or carving extravagant fruit trays for his catering company, it was apparent that his talent would allow nothing less than amazing in his presentation.
Those who knew him well, were awed at his ability to take mundane and (found) items turning them into craft masterpieces. Every November, when Ian was healthy, the house would transform into Santa’s Workshop, where he would create his visions to gift to lucky friends and family. When the elfing was complete Ian would turn his attention to decorating the home for his own family, enveloping them in a holiday wonderland, often with multiple trees and moving parts but always in lights of blue. Inspired by his wife’s passion for the season, Ian’s festive displays were things of legend and love.
For decades Ian created cake showpieces, decorating them for special occasions, for family and friends, large corporate events and even a country star or two. His favorite was a four-foot 3D fire breathing dragon, though his daughter argues that his most memorable was a two-foot-tall full scale haunted Halloween gingerbread house complete with multiple rooms, lights and floating Spector’s.
As Jacquie’s favorite holiday was the spookiest, Ian found himself once again immersed in the magic of a season. Partnering with neighbors to create haunted blocks to amuse the adults and terrify the toddlers. Wherever Ian was, became the scariest house on the street and he was not above a prank or two spooking the unsuspecting. “Why we would have so many large pots if not to put children in?” he would say, a tradition that carried into the restaurant where naughty children were presented a pot and instructed to “Get In” much to the delight of giggling children and weary parents.
Upon retirement Ian turned his attention to making his wife’s surroundings a more beautiful place and tried his hand at landscaping. It was no surprise that there too he excelled. Pushing his knowledge to the limit he constructed stunning garden after garden, creating ponds, fountains, and whimsical displays to reflect Bonnie’s love of the outdoors and give them space to relax and entertain their core group of friends and loved ones. In truth, to provide them a quiet place to watch the squirrels together as he had an unsung love of all animals. Few things bothered Ian quite like injustice to those that can’t fight back, and it seemed the wildlife had a moment of rest in Ian’s sanctuary. He extended that safety to the inside of his home as well, where many an unagreed to family pet found comfort in his arms. It was a common sight to see Ian sharing a morning cup a coffee with a favorite feline on the dining table despite Bonnie’s opposition.
Ian gave of himself to make life better for others without expecting accolades or praise. He just gave quietly. Whether he spent weeks stenciling “little cups of care” on mugs to fill with his heartwarming soups and selling them to raise funds for palliative care or sitting quietly in the garage with a dear friend whose health was failing, Ian would show up with grace. He spent weeks creating a giant “Haunted” gingerbread village to auction for charity and days creating a special flower bed for a friend to enjoy on his last summer. He gave of himself freely, and without pretense. Ian genuinely cared and there was rarely a moment when he was not busy with a “project” for someone when he was able.
Though he was known as a quiet man there were many that knew his true nature, None so much as his Wife and Daughter. Ian wasn’t much for talking. As the only Man in his immediate family, he had long learned the value of keeping the peace, a skill honed by raising his only daughter. He preferred an easy life and demonstrated his love by making things simpler for those he cared about. Quietly fixing the things Jacquie had again broken and working behind the scenes to lighten Bonnie’s load. He was a master of raising the spirits of his girls. Seldom not by his wife’s side, Ian would “tag along” on particularly tough days to help where he could, even if all he could offer was a song and a hug. Ian was steadfast in his wishes to make Bonnie’s life, easier. He could often be found on the deck delicately harvesting flower seeds for next year’s projects or tending to the gardens and greenhouses, so Bonnie didn’t worry about the babies. Their long love was measured in a series of gestures both large and small and he was there for it all, making drudgery a joyful experience, his gift was laughter.
Laughter in the most unexpected places. Laughter to lighten the load, to bask in the moment or to soothe a broken heart. Laughter to burst your seams and release pent up tears. Laughter to heal all wounds.
Not boastful or proud Ian was a gentle man, and yet the world is a much quieter place without him.
As per Ian’s wishes his cremation has taken place. This summer when his flowers are in bloom, an informal gathering will be held at home, to celebrate his life with friends, family, food, music and laughter.
“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” ~Thomas Campbell,
Scottish poet 1777-1844