This December 10th is a very special day in the City of Lacombe. Howard Fredeen, a codeveloper of the Lacombe Pig, and local heritage hero is turning 100-years-old.

“The Lacombe hog was part of an extensive animal breeding and genetics program at Lacombe which was recognized by various awards. The more notable awards include the Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada and the Award of Excellence of the Genetics Society of Canada awarded to Howard Fredeen in 1967 and 1978, respectively, and Jack Stothart' s induction into the Alberta Hall of Fame in 1983. They were both awarded Fellowships of the Canadian Society of Animal Science,” it states in Lacombe Research Centre: history in images, courtesy of the Government of Canada.

The Lacombe Pig was developed at the Lacombe Research Station that was genetically selected for its rapid growth, docility, and several other factors. The pig is known to be white and medium sized.  

In addition to Fredeen’s work on the Lacombe Pig, he also penned books relating to agriculture as well as Lacombe’s History.

Howard Fredeen being recognized as a heritage hero by the Government of Alberta. Photo Courtesy Alberta Culture & Tourism (2016).

Due to the pandemic and in an effort to keep things simple, Joan Fredeen, his wife says celebrations will be carried out over a couple of days.

“We're going to have a very sort of spread out party for a couple of days so that we get everybody included. Friends are coming in just one or two at a time and staying for a cup of coffee and going then, the next batch coming in and that sort of thing. When our family all gets here, it's going to be quite a bunch, but they will go down and visit with Howard periodically and be in and out is the idea,” said Joan Fredeen, his wife.

She says several members of their family are flying from all over North America to see and celebrate Howard. Joan noted that it’s been around 30 years since Howard has been able to see some of his family and friends.

Although Howard suffers with bad arthritis and struggles with his hearing, Joan says he’s in great mental health.

“His mind is still very good for his age and he can quote you all sorts of poetry and stories and that sort of thing. He just finds it very difficult now. You can't get around do the things you used to, for certain. That's always hard he was always very active,” said Joan.

Howard and his wife Joan have been together for 68 years of marriage. Joan says that she and Howard have a strong family that help out when the going gets tough. She says she is very proud of her husband’s accomplishments.

“Well, you adjust. I mean we're good friends and we discuss things. Sure, you have the odd little argument, but it's nothing serious and you just enjoy one another's company and carry on. We have a good family so everybody around helps a lot,” said Joan.  

Jack Stotthart, Howard Fredeen with Lacombe Hog at the Lacombe Research Station. Image courtesy of the Lacombe and District Historical Society.

In addition to his studies and writing, his wife says he enjoyed singing in the Centennial Choir and the Male Chorus Choir both of which no longer exist.

“It’s long gone. Everybody is gone but Howard sang in that group and he just enjoyed living. We had a really good life,” added Joan.

Fredeen has lived in Lacombe since 1947 and Joan has lived in Lacombe since 1952 and she says they’ve enjoyed having several friends in the community.

“It really is a very nice town. When we came, we knew everybody pretty much. It was a very small place, but as it's grown, there are a lot of people we don't know. We've had very good friends, and it's a very good time in Lacombe. People are friendly, at least we found that,” added Joan.