Jack Aldred, Remembrance Day parade

Jack Aldred: A life of service

The intersection of Carlaw and Mortimer avenues is safer because Jack Aldred cared enough about people to fight for a crosswalk.

Aldred, 91, died at his apartment complex on Tuesday following a heart attack. Mary Fragedakis, councillor for Ward 29, (Toronto-Danforth) recognized Aldred’s community service.

“He is a great example of civic engagement,” she said. “He gave us all a sense of the problem at the intersection and how it impacts the kids.”

Aldred worked as a crossing guard for 23 years, and he understood the dangers. After nearly 10 years of petitioning, Aldred finally convinced the city, of what he already knew, and a lit, overhead crosswalk sign was installed at the corner.

“I feel that I’ve done something for the community… something positive, something that will affect other people rather than just something that I will enjoy,” Aldred said at the time.

Looking out and caring for others is something Jack Aldred has always done. He was a veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. And the pain of others bothered him.

“We were there to see the ships come in,” Aldred said of the aftermath of a naval engagement. “Right away, you are fearful of how many of the guys went down with the ship… how many were saved.”

Aldred recently published his book Tales of Todmorden Veterans. In it he shared anecdotes gathered form more than a dozen veterans of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 10. Again, he showed as much of an interest in everyone else’s story as his own.

His son, Jack Aldred Jr., recalled the feeling of growing up as hits father’s namesake.

“I hated my name when I was a kid,” he said. “One of my regrets is that my generation didn’t have any respect for veterans or what they did. … That realization came to me in my 20s. … When I learned about them, I found I was proud of Dad – and of my name.”

The funeral for Jack Aldred will be held at the McDougall and Brown Funeral Home, 2900 Kingston Rd. on Feb. 14. Visitation is at 2 p.m., with a service to follow at 3 p.m.