Medalta’s first ever employee passes

·2 min read

One of the key people who brought Medalta back to life has passed away.

Darcey Howells was the first person hired by Medalta in 1994, getting a role as site superintendent. Howells oversaw groups of workers who gave new life to the city’s Historic Clay District.

“Darcey was an amazing guy with a huge heart,” said Lorne Simpson, who worked with Darcey and sits on the Friends of Medalta board. “He was a guy who was full of common sense. He knew what needed to get done and started doing it.

“You’d hear about the roof needing work and Darcey would be on it making sure it got fixed.”

Howells was born Feb. 19, 1956, and passed away Jan. 21, just shy of his 65th birthday. He was married to his wife Carol for 44 years.

Before starting with Medalta, Howells was building grain elevators, which is where he got a lot of experience with carpentry.

“I wasn’t directly involved in hiring Darcey, but I know we were looking for someone who could do it all,” said Simpson. “He had the skills and the knowledge to lead teams doing different tasks around the buildings.

“There were many unemployed workers in the 1990s in Alberta, many of which didn’t have skills like carpentry or brick laying. Darcey was able to work with, and teach everyone how to do what needed to be done.

“He was the perfect fit and he will always be important to Medalta and Medicine Hat.”

On top of his extensive work bringing Medalta to life, Howells was involved at Top Hat Bingo.

Simpson says Howells loved Medicine Hat and fell in love with his job at Medalta.

Cody Weiss, the current site superintendent, says he met Howells nearly 20 years ago.

“I was 15 and I’d bike down to Medalta after school. Darcey would give me work,” Weiss said. “Darcey was a great person and he was always there for you, no matter what the time of day was.

“He was a real mentor to me, and he’s a big reason I am who I am today.”

Weiss says Howells was a great person to work for, and an even better friend.

“He was such a special person and he worked with so many people over the years,” he said. “I know he’s going to be missed by a lot of people.”

Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News