O.P.Godin's Store

Family Histories, Part 10



Finlayson, Bert and Rhoda

<Bert and Rhoda Finlayson>


Bert and Rhoda Finlayson

Edwin Albert Wright (Bert) the youngest son of Mr and Mrs William Finlayson was born in Wimmer, Saskatchewan in 1920.

Rhoda Phoebe Genevieve the second daughter of Sandy and Phoebe Allen was born March 17, 1921, in the Quill Lake area. Rhoda is a sister to Stella Hartnett and Marjorie Ingram.

Bert and Rhoda were married in Saskatoon on April 5, 1943. They farmed in the Wimmer area until 1950 where they owned and operated the Bjorkdale General Store. Bert worked for the Department of Highways. After their store and home burned in 1963 they moved to Tisdale for a short time before moving to Big River in 1964. Bert continued to work for the Department of Highways and Rhoda at Waite Fisheries.

Bert and Rhoda had three sons, Randy (died in infancy), Kurtis (Marilyn) and Allen (Dorothy Juker). They have one granddaughter Shannon, and three grandsons, Robin, Trent and Travis. Bert passed away on August 29, 1984, and Rhoda December 12, 1986. They are both buried at the Quill Lake Cemetery.


Flint, Ralph and Edna

Ralph Flint family.

Back Row: Roy.
Middle Row: Ruth, Ralph, Edna, Susan.
Front Row: Robert, George (1990).

Ralph and Edna Flint moved from their home at Riding Hill in the North Battleford area, where they had farmed for several years, to Bodmin in August of 1964. Their new home was formerly owned by Mr and Mrs George Halter.

Edna, Ruth and Susan arrived at Bodmin ahead of Ralph, George and Roy. The men stayed behind taking off the crop and doing the final clean up at their old farm.

We didn't have long to get settled before school started. Ruth and Susan both attended school in Big River. It was a busy fall and a very wet one. We had a lot of rain and managed to get the car stuck in the yard quite a few times.

Shortly after Edna and the girls arrived, the cattle also came. It was interesting getting fences fixed so we could keep the animals in. There were many times we had to call on good neighbours to help us out.

Mr and Mrs Herb Beattie were our closest neighbours. We have a lot of good memories of our time spent with them. There was also Marcel and Betty Lamothe. A few of our other good neighbours were Il Isaacson, Si and Clara Kennedy, Dan and Betty Braidek, as well as Bill and Audrey Donald and their families. There were many more families in the area that will never be forgotten.

Ralph became involved with the School board, Church board, and also, in a small way, politics. Edna was kept busy looking after the home, growing big gardens, and working in the fields picking stones, roots and bales and whatever else that needed doing. She was also involved with the Big River U.C.W. She helped serve many meals for weddings and other occasions.

Robert, the oldest, never moved to Big River. He moved to and still lives with his family in Smithers, British Columbia. George and Roy both helped out on the farm. George, for a short time, worked at the Big River Sawmill. He enjoyed his time there but moved away to Victoria, British Columbia in October of 1965. He had several jobs but ended up working in the Dairy Queen, where he remained for many years. He is now retired and living in Port Alberni with his wife Lynne, and family.

Roy had several jobs in the Big River area, as well as helping with the farming. In February 1970, he married Linda Becker. They lived in many places, but have settled in Saskatoon where they own and operate a Mailboxes Etc. Both his sons are doing well.

Ruth graduated from the Big River High School in June of 1967. She also went to other places before ending up living in Victoria, British Columbia, where she presently lives with her husband Martin and family.

Susan graduated from Big River High School in 1972. She worked for a while at Yurach's IGA. Then in 1975, moved to North Battleford and started working for the Woolworth Co. She is presently employed in North Battleford at WalMart.

Ralph and Edna remained farming until they retired and sold the farm in April of 1976, and moved to North Battleford where they spent several years enjoying retirement. Ralph enjoyed doing woodwork and Edna spent time enjoying her garden and yard. They moved back to their original area as they had many friends there. Ralph passed away on August 30, 1992. Edna and Susan still reside in North Battleford.


Fonos, Arnold Ivar

Jean and Arnie Fonos, 1987.

Jean and Arnie Fonos, 1987.

I was born on the farm now owned by Zinovich's on December 5, 1940, the fourth child of Ivar and Mary Fonos (nee Giesbrecht). I attended school in Big River using the horse and cutter in the winter and walking three miles in the summer. Life was good on the farm. We were close to Cowan Lake so swimming and fishing areas were close by. Dad sold the farm in 1950 and we moved to the Forks, as it was known, at the junction of the Big Jean, Arnie. (1987)

River and Dore Lake roads. A forest fire had burned the area in 1949 and there was a lot of pulpwood to be cut. This was the same year that the Saskatchewan Timber Board built the sawmill in Big River. I remember our class from school went down to hear the speeches at the opening of the mill. We were also treated to ice cream cones and a ride on the paddlewheel boat, which was used to bring the booms of logs from the landing at the north end of Cowan Lake. This was a real treat for us kids!

Living at the Forks made it very hard for us to attend school. We tried correspondence school, driving the thirty-five miles to Big River each day with the pulpwood trucks, as well as staying in town with relatives. None of this proved very satisfactory, so in 1953 we moved to Big River.

I quit school in 1957 and went hauling pulp with my dad. At that time a lot of pulpwood was shipped to Wisconsin and New York State in the United States. At that time the steam train was still coming to Big River and we would work furiously trying to load the gondolas before the train would take them away. Many times there were loaded gondolas lined up from the station to past the railway crossing on First Street North.

In those days a lot of circuses came to town. They would erect the big tent on the Sports Ground (the present site of the High School). On one occasion they took a brand new 40 Cockshutt tractor (supplied by the Paul and Les Colleaux Dealership across the street from the Post Office) and they hitched it to an elephant for a tug of war. There was no contest as the elephant dragged the tractor spinning backwards all around the tent!

I met my wife, Jean Kulick, in June of 1964 and we were married on November 14, 1964. Jean was born and raised in the Blaine Lake area. It took some getting used to coming to Big River from the prairies. The trees seemed to get in the way of everything, and she said she never saw a town with so many half-ton trucks. She was also not used to shopping for groceries by asking for them over the counter and having almost everything wrapped in brown paper.

We raised five children in Big River. Four of them were born in the old hospital on the hill with Doctors Eaton and Young in attendance.


Darryl Wayne was born on August 21, 1965. He finished high school in Big River. He married Kella Watson of Prince Albert on September 15, 1984. They live in Saskatoon where he works for Energy Doctor. He is also caretaker of the Assembly Hall Complex which is used for assemblies and meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Darwin Leroy was born on March 6, 1967. He also completed high school in Big River. He married Tyla Paluck of Melville on November 14, 1987. They live in North Battleford and are employed at A&W, janitorial work and apartment caretaking. They have two daughters, Trapheana and Nekoda.

Glenda Colleen was born on September 27, 1968. She moved to North Battleford after completing high school where she met Thomas Popowich. They were married on August 13, 1988. They live in North Battleford in the summer but go to Mexico for the winter where they devote their time to Kingdom Hall construction and Bible Education work with the Jehovah's Witness Organization.

Derek Malcolm was born on January 29, 1970. He graduated from SIAST after taking a heavy-duty mechanics course. He married Nikki Dooley of Prince Albert on February 20, 1997, and they have two children: Ryley and McKenzie.

Heidi Heather was born on July 12, 1976. She graduated from Big River High School. She married Jeremy Cobb on December 18, 1999, and lives in Regina where Jeremy is employed as a carpenter in his father's company. Heidi and Jeremy have spent considerable time in the Caribbean on the islands of Haiti and Curacai on construction assignments of branch offices of Jehovah's Witnesses.

There were not many steady jobs in Big River so you had to take what you could get. Over the years I've worked as a truck driver, tower man, patrolman, sawyer, logger, salesman and a farmer. I presently work for S.E.R.M. as a fire protection worker. We still live on the farm we purchased from Bill Miller in 1966. We still have some crop each year and put up some hay for sale. My wife, Jean, still loves to grow a big garden and giving away tomato plants to good homes each spring, gives her a lot of pleasure.

My parents and family have supported the local congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Big River since the early forties and we continue to do so. The faces have changed over the years; some have moved away, some have passed away and some have accepted the faith and became part of our congregation. We were able to renovate our Kingdom Hall in 1989 and again 2002, the interior was given a face-lift. The public is always welcome at the Kingdom Hall.

One thing I recall as a young boy in Big River is seeing old men sitting on benches beside OP Godin's store swapping stories. I often wondered why they had so many stories to tell and now I know, for I find myself telling stories just as they did. Years of experiences teach us many things. Young people benefit from listening to these stories.


Fonos family.

Back Row: Derek, Arnie, Darryl, Darwin, Tom.
Middle Row: Nikki holding Ryley, Jean, Heidi, Jeremy, Kella, Mary, Tyla, Glenda.
Front Row: Trapheana, Nekoda.

Fonos, Ivar John
Submitted by Arnold Ivar Fonos

Mary and Ivar Fonos.

Mary and Ivar Fonos.

Ivar John Fonos was born in Rendal, Norway on February 22, 1903. He was the youngest of eleven children born to Hansine and John Fonos. While Ivar was still very young, his sisters: Karen, Paula and Johanna and his brothers: Peter and Otto immigrated to the United States. At the age of twenty-four, Ivar left Norway and landed in Halifax on May 8, 1927. He planned to join his brothers and sisters in the United States, but there was a quota restriction in effect at the time and he was told he would have to remain in Canada for one year.

Ivar told many stories of his coming and living in this area. On the train trip west, the train stopped in Winnipeg and Ivar and several other Norwegians went to a restaurant to eat. Having no knowledge of the language they would listen to what other people would order and tried to say the same, not knowing what kind of food they would get. From there he went on to Govan, Saskatchewan where he worked on farms in the area. It was a good place to go since it was a Scandinavian community and the language was not a problem. While at Govan, he suffered an appendix attack. He was taken in a Model T Ford, over very bad roads to Regina where he spent three months in hospital. Ivar was one of many people who went north for the winter to go fishing and trapping. He fished on many northern lakes, Dore Lake, Lac La Plonge and La Ronge to name a few.

Ivar got a job working for Nels Edson on his farm in the Big River area (now owned by Robert Halsall). One day he was breaking land with six horses when he ploughed up a bee's nest in the ground. Both he and the horses got stung many times that day. He also told a story of the morning at breakfast when Edson's youngest son, Ivan, did not want to eat his porridge. Trying to encourage him to eat, Ivar said, "Eat your porridge, Ivan, and you'll get big like me." Ivan replied, "Have big ears like you, too, Ivar"?

It was while working for Nels Edson that Ivar met Mary Giesbrecht, who was working for the John Swanson family next door. They were married on March 23, 1936. It was unusually warm that day so after the wedding, they walked from Big River to the Edson farm. On the way, Sam Lyons came out to the road to wish them all the best and gave them a glass of wine.

Ivar, Mary and their eldest son, Otto, spent three years on Lac La Plonge when Otto was a baby. They travelled by boat up the Cowan Lake, through the dam, down the Cowan River to the Beaver River and up to Beauval. This was in September and Mary recalled how she would bathe the baby between the sunshine and the campfire. The blueberries were like a carpet and the water so clear you could see the bottom in forty feet of water.

They also had a cow at Lac La Plonge. When I asked Mom how they came to have a cow that far north she told me this story. While she was still working at Swanson's she loaned her sister, Tina, $12.00 to pay the priest to bury a baby that had died. Since they had no money to repay her, they gave her a heifer calf, which they brought to the Swanson farm. Later, this calf, which was now a cow, was taken to La Plonge in a scow. This must have been quite a trip! The cow became a real pet and Ivar had a hard time getting away from camp without the cow following. One day the cow was hot on his trail so he hid behind a windfall but the cow tracked him down, put her head over the windfall and snorted in his face.

On one occasion, Ivar almost lost his life while trying to get back to a camp that he had with a partner. He was on a raft and had a short stretch of water to cross when the wind shifted and took him out in the lake. It turned cold and ice formed on the raft. All night he struggled to stay on the wind-tossed frozen raft until the wind shifted again and brought him to the spot where he had been going. He had been wearing new coveralls and new underwear but by now the clothes were worn to the bone and he was so stiff he could not get up. He rolled himself into the cold water to thaw out and struggled to get out of the water and to the cabin. When he arrived, his partner could not believe it. He said, "Ivar, I thought you were dead"!

Ivar and Mary raised six children on the farm presently owned by the Zinovich family on the SE 25-56-8-W3. Their children are Otto, John, Naomie, Arne, Karen, and Paul. Some of the neighbors in our area were Gus and Viola Swanson, the Briggs family, Tom Downing on the NE-25-56-8W3 where Len Zinovich has his gravel pit, Rider and Anna Lomsnes, Nels Edson, Jim Hartnett, Nap Chenard, Joseph Caisse, Fred Larence, Ted Wychodzew, Max Beggar, Leo Grieple, Jesse Leverton, Oscar Reed, Joe and Ludwina Billinger, Joe and Hulda Stuesser, Hans Grimmler and Hans and Carl Feldmeier (now the Hyllestad farm). Life in those days was much simpler than in 1950 when I was ten years old. In the summer, we walked three miles to school in Big River. In the winter, we took the horse and cutter, using the ice road on Cowan Lake.

Dad also told of tough times. While working for JK Johnson in a sawmill in Big River, he got $1.00 for ten hours of work but there was no money to pay wages. They were given a credit slip which they took to the store and traded this for groceries and supplies. Cash was very hard to come by.

During his lifetime, Ivar fished, farmed, trapped, logged, cut and hauled pulpwood, ran a service station and store near the Cowan Dam site, ran a road grader, ran a sawmill and the last job he had was working at the Big River Tree Nursery from which he retired. Ivar never fulfilled his dream of moving to the US, but in July of 1972, Mary and Ivar took a trip to Norway. He got to visit his homeland again forty-five years after leaving it as a young man. They spent five enjoyable weeks visiting old friends and relatives.

Ivar Fonos passed away on July 4, 1982, at the age of seventy-nine and Mary passed away on Jul 31, 2004, at the age of ninety-one.


Fonas family.

Arnie, Naoma, Paul, Mary, John,
Karen and Otto Fonos

Fonos, Jonathan, Tara,
Johnathon and Jennifer

Jonathon and Tara Fonos.

Jonathon and Tara Fonos.

Jonathan is the son of John and Marcella Fonos of Big River and he was born in 1962. Jon grew up in Big River, Sled Lake, Clark Lake and Dore Lake. He has five brothers: Howard, Ken, Arnold, Gerald, and Kelly.

As a child, Jonathan spent time trapping and learning how to commercial fish with his dad. As an adult, he lived in Big River and worked in the bush. In 1995, Jon moved to Rabbit Hill (just west of Sled Lake) where he started trapping, as well as commercial fishing on Dore Lake. In 1999, he began working on the Rabbit Hill fire tower for SERM. In August 2000, Jonathan and Tara were married in Sled Lake.

Tara is the daughter of Chuck and Bernice LaBrash of Shellbrook and she was born in 1976. Tara grew up in Parkside, Kelowna, and Fort McMurray. She has two sisters: Marni and Amy, as well as a brother, Jeffrey. She moved to Big River in 1998 where she worked at the pharmacy for two years.

On December 22, 2001, Johnathan Ivor was born. He is a busy two-year-old who loves his cars. Jennifer Mae was born on June 13, 2003, and she enjoys anything her brother does.

We just built a new house on Dore Lake. Jonathan still works for SERM in the summer, commercial fishes in the fall and winter and traps in the winter as well. Tara stays at home with the kids and keeps busy with a community newsletter she puts out every other month. She is also involved in the Recreation Board in the community.


Jennifer and Johnathon Fonos.

Jennifer and Johnathon Fonos - "The Little Rascals"
("The Little Rascals" - added by Webmaster, as they are just too cute!!!).

Fontaine, Kathleen
Praise and views of Big River

On July 1, 1984, I arrived in this beautiful town at my destination: Cowan Court, on Mill Avenue and Main Street, in Big River, Saskatchewan. My home was in Unit six and this was such a contrast from my wee three-roomed apartment in the Bliss Block in Prince Albert. I owe my many thanks to William (Bill) McKnight who was a manager then of the Big River Housing and to my daughter, Vivian Zinovich, for arranging such a comfort for me.

I was soon an active member in the Legion and also the church for two short years when I had to depart in 1987 to Spiritwood, Saskatchewan to look after our mother.

"Catastrophe" health-wise, hit me... so into the Spiritwood Lodge went my mother and as "Lady Luck" would have it... I was able once more to obtain one of these homey residences, Unit nine at Cowan Court. From my back door at this beautiful spot, I look down on the dock and adjoining park and the banks of Cowan Lake with seasonal interests of viewing.

Such sharing, caring persons that make up this town and district cannot be truly justified with "Thank you", but with deep appreciation.


Forbes, Donald

Donald Craig Forbes is the youngest son born to Jim and Georgena Forbes on February 21, 1949. He lived and went to school in Big River until he graduated from Grade Twelve. He earned his money by trapping, setting snares, and hunting. He sold his furs. He enjoyed doing wood burning projects, was a great amateur artist, and he enjoyed writing poetry. Don lived with Grace (sister) & Lester Cromartie periodically.

Don met Valerie Ann Baynton in October 1972. Valerie was a hairdresser working in Big River where Russell and Alice Coates had their hair business. She was from Carlton. Don and Val were married on November 10, 1973. They purchased the'house at 108 2nd Avenue South in Big River. (Bruce Neufeld presently lives there). Their children are Georgena, Donald, and Lillian. As a family, they were very sociable, enjoyed playing cards and board games and the outdoor fun with the skidoo.

Georgena Ann (called Gena) was born October 18, 1974. She presently lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia. She has one class left in April to complete her practical nurse program. Georgena has two children; Nicholas John Pippin born December 18, 1993, and Brianna Edith Marie Henderson born December 16, 1999. Georgena presently works for Home Care.

Donald John (called DJ), was born January 9, 1976. He presently lives in Saskatoon and works at Saskatoon Fresh Pack. He is unattached.

Lillian Elaine was born on October 27, 1977. She presently lives in Aldergrove, British Columbia with her husband Terry Weibe. They were married on June 29, 2002, in Las Vegas. Lillian and Terry have one child, Mathew Daniel John Weibe born June 6, 2003.

Don and Val separated in 1980 and divorced some time later. Valerie had the kids with her in Saskatoon for several years and then moved to southern British Columbia in May 1993. Don worked in Lloydminster for a few years and then he took many different jobs around Alberta and British Columbia. He drove heavy equipment and worked for different oil companies and road construction gangs.

He met his second wife, Eileen Demery (Pratt) and they were married on May 14, 1990. Eileen had three children; Connie, Tammy, and Calvin, none living at home: Don and Eileen lived in Shellbrook and Prince Albert for short periods before moving to their present home in Saskatoon. Don still travels and enjoys the same type of work but work is irregular.

Don and Eileen enjoy their six children and eleven grandchildren. Don is a grateful member of AA for 23 years now. Don still likes to dabble with woodworking and continues to be an avid book reader.


Forbes, Grace (Gunderson)

Grace Forbes and family.

Back Row: Howard, Grace, Pat, Nancy, Bud.
Front Row: Alanna, Morgan.

Gladys Grace (Gunderson), daughter of Roy and Mildred Gunderson, was born on March 6, 1947, in Big River in what is now George and Liz Johnson's house. At that time it was a boarding house that belonged to Joe Friedman. Mom was assisted by Dr Afanasieff.

I left school in Grade Ten to go out to work for mothers with new babies and families. I also did some waitressing in Saskatoon before Bud and I were married.

Bud and I were married in Big River in the St. Martins Anglican Church in October 1965. We lived at Cutbank trailer court in an 8 ft x 36 ft house trailer, which was our home for the next twelve years. Bud was working at the Gardiner Dam in 1965 until 1967 when he then went to Road Construction for a few years. He then went to work at the mill for Saskatchewan Timber Board. He has retired now as of May 2002 from Weyerhaeuser Lumber after 31 years in the lumber work. He also went to Kelsey at the age of 57 and got his certificate for Parts person.

Bud is the secretary-treasurer for the Big River Elks Lodge and also an executive member for the Local Crooked Creek Cattle Co-op.

I stayed home and looked after our two boys until they were both in school and then I became an Avon representative, which I still am and have been for 25 years. I am also working part-time for Maisie Krienke in her T-shirt shop and Liquor Vendor and have been for a few years. I also am involved with the Anglican Church and the Hospital Auxiliary Ladies Groups.

We now live on our farm west of Big River where we have been for 25 years raising our cattle and our family and pets.

Our first son, James Patrick (Pat) was born at Outlook, Saskatchewan on October 30, 1966. He attended school in Big River and later went to work as soon as he finished school. Pat is married to his second wife, Nancy Hodgson from Leoville, Saskatchewan. She is the daughter of Albert and Shirley Hodgson. Pat and Nancy have two children, Morgan, a boy, born on September 9, 1991, and Alanna born on August 26, 1994. They live in Big River. Pat had two other daughters, Crystal born January 1984 and Daphne born February 1988. Crystal lives in Big River now and Daphne is in Saskatoon with her grandparents Gordon and Audrey Laliberte. Pat worked in the oil fields in Russia, in Siberia, from 1992 till 1995. The Russian workers there thought Pat was a criminal as that's where some of their criminals went to work. He wasn't!

Our second son, Howard Roy was born on December 22, 1972, in Big River. He also graduated from the Big River High School and was working before he finished school and has been working different jobs since he has finished school.

Pat and Howard both live in Provost, Alberta and work for the family trucking business, Tri Forbes Ent. Inc.'. Our daughter-in-law also works for the family business.


Crystal and Daphne, 2001.

Crystal and Daphne, 2001.

Forbes, James Andrew and Georgena
Submitted by Lorraine Forbes

Jim and Georgena Forbes.

Jim and Georgena Forbes.

Jim was the eldest son of James Stitchel and Agnes Forbes. He was born in Kinistino, Saskatchewan on March 28, 1913. On June 22, 1937, he married Georgena Marie Anderson, the sixth child of George A. Anderson and Mary Ellen Burton. Georgena was born in North Battleford on April 21, 1916. Jim and Georgena had seven children: Doris Ellen, born October 13, 1938; James Austen (Bud), born July 29, 1940; Grace Elaine, born December 7, 1941; Gladys Mary, born June 2, 1946; Kenneth Stephen, October 3, 1947; Donald Craig, February 21,1949 and Lorraine Ruth, August 21, 1952.

Georgena lived in Denholm with her family, until they moved to Big River in 1926. She obtained a Grade Eleven education, which was all that was offered there at the time. She had a mathematical mind and may have been a great accountant had she had access to higher education.

Georgena worked hard to raise a large family with very limited financial resources. She grew a huge garden and did lots of canning and pickling. She was a wonderful cook and baked bread and buns regularly; cakes and pies appeared only on special occasions. As her health failed, she had to depend more and more on her children for help.

Georgena was a talented musician. She played the piano mostly, but also organ and Hawaiian guitar. She had a strong voice and loved to sing. She attended services at the United Church regularly and was a charter member of the Royal Purple.

The family moved into the J.S. Forbes home in the fall of 1960, and for the first time in her life, Georgena had hot and cold running water, indoor toilets, oil heat and a propane and wood cookstove. By that time, her health had seriously deteriorated and she died of a heart attack on Jan 20, 1962, at the age of 45.

Jim got most of his schooling in Big River, until Grade Ten, which he got in Prince Albert. He earned a living in various ways. He freighted with horses, trapped, raised livestock, delivered milk in the village, operated an abattoir, worked for Albert Hannigan, Waite Fisheries and for commercial fisherman in the north, ran a dray in the village, worked at the mill and planer, was occasionally a jail guard and ran a funeral home business.

Alcohol played a prominent role in Jim's life. For many years he was an avid consumer. When he finally decided to quit, he started an AA group. Later he tried his hand at retailing alcohol and did quite well until the RCMP put him out of business.

Jim had other interests. He enjoyed gardening, winning card games, bingo, horse races, selling lottery tickets, and reading western novels.

Several years after Georgena's death, Jim cast his eye on Jean Luke, who was teaching school at North Battleford. He had met her many years earlier when her brother-in-law, Bill Williams was stationed in Big River with the RCMP. Jim and Jean were married on Sept 3, 1966. Jean taught for one final year at Rosthem before retiring to Big River.

Jean was the youngest daughter of Jim and May Luke, born Dec 7, 1911. She enjoyed painting in oils, writing poetry, playing the piano, and attending horse races. She took an interest in the funeral home business and made artificial sprays for sale. She was interested in the church too, and several times had teas in her home with proceeds to the church. Jean's mother lived with them for a year or two before her death. Jean died suddenly at home of a heart attack on July 28, 1979, at the age of 67 and is buried at Rosthern near her parents.

Jim developed emphysema about that time and symptoms grew increasingly worse over the years. His last couple of years were spent in his daughter Grace's home when he was not in the hospital. He died Jan 28, 1987, at the age of 73. He had planned for his family to conduct his funeral and is buried in Big River beside Georgena.


Forbes family.

Back Row: Ken, Doris, Don, Gladys.
Front Row: Lorrie, Bud, Grace.

Forbes, James Austen

I was born on July 29, 1940, in Big River, Saskatchewan to James Andrew and Georgena Marie (Anderson) Forbes. I was born in a house on the hill just south of the Catholic Church, known as Jack Rae's.

After failing Grade Seven in high school, I returned the next year, only to find that I disliked my school teacher, so I quit school and went to work in the bush for Andy Sundby, horse logging up the east side of Delaronde Lake in 1956.

In 1957 and 1958, I worked in a sawmill approximately twenty-five miles out of Clinton, British Columbia. In the fall of 1959, I returned home and started working for Eikel and Lomsnes in a sawmill north of Meadow Lake and on road construction in the summer. This continued until the summer of 1963.

In 1963, I drove down to the Gardiner Dam to see just what was going on down there. I decided to sleep in my car and stay there until I got a job. After about a week the Superintendent of Piggott Construction decided to hire me to operate heavy equipment and I worked there until the fall of 1967.


Forbes, James Stitchel and Agnes

Jim, James, Agnes and Bob Forbes.

Jim, James, Agnes and Bob Forbes.

James S. Forbes was born of Scottish descent in Belfast, Ireland on October 24, 1886. He was raised in Scotland and immigrated to Ontario, Canada with his parents in 1901. Later he took out a homestead at Plunkett, Saskatchewan.

James arrived in Big River in June of 1911 to work at the sawmill. In September that year, he lost his foot in a mill accident and later had to have his leg amputated above the knee. After recovery, he found work as an assistant in the Post Office. He was appointed Postmaster in 1914 and held that position until his retirement in 1952 at the age of sixty-six. Before 1948, the Post Office was also an accounting office, and James did all of that work alone. Twice he lost his home by the fire, including the Post Office, first in 1923 and again in 1939. Each time he rebuilt in the same location. He also sold insurance for The Home Insurance Company of New York for at least twenty-five years.

James met and married Agnes Jarvis. Agnes was born of French descent in Eganville, Ontario on April 1, 1885.

She came to Prince Albert as a young woman, where she did domestic work until their marriage. James and Agnes had three sons: James Andrew (Jim) born March 28, 1913; Robert Cole (Bob) born in 1916; and Austin, who died in infancy. When the boys were small, they and their mother lived at Plunkett to satisfy the requirements of the Homestead Act, while their father lived and worked in Big River. James and Agnes separated about 1921. James kept Jim (then eight years old) with him in Big River, and Agnes took Bob (then five years old) with her to the Yukon and British Columbia.

James was very community-minded and served in many and varied capacities. He was a charter member of the Elks Lodge and given a life membership in 1957. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge. He helped incorporate the village in 1923. He was secretary of the village from 1928 to 1948; secretary of the Board of Trade; and Red Cross secretary and a representative from 1914 until his death. His first term on the School Board was 1923-1925, and he served many more terms including secretary-treasurer of the School District for years.

James enjoyed his spare time. He loved gardening and grew many beautiful flowers and fruit trees as well as vegetables and berries. In winter, he enjoyed playing bridge and other card games. He also read a lot, which is how he educated himself, having had very little formal education.

James was active in his church, first as a Presbyterian and later as a member of First United Church. He served on the Church Board as secretary-treasurer as well as various other capacities including Superintendent of Sunday school. He was a friend and advisor to all the student ministers, extending his hospitality to each. He was in Regina attending the annual meeting of the Saskatchewan Conference of the United Church when he collapsed with a gallbladder attack. He had surgery there and passed away a few days later in June of 1958 at the age of seventy-two. He is buried in Big River.

Agnes and Bob went to Whitehorse, Yukon where Agnes made a living cooking in mining camps. Later they went to British Columbia where she cooked in logging camps and restaurants. Bob became a pastry chef and worked in big hotels in Vancouver and Seattle. He married Doris circa 1944 and they had a daughter Darlene. Bob died in June of 1987 in Seattle.

Agnes visited Big River several times over the years. One of her visits lasted a year. She was a big help to the family, she loved to cook and they loved to eat! She also enjoyed gardening, needlework and teacup reading. She made a quilt for each of her grandchildren and was working on one for each great-grandchild at the time of her death.

Agnes died in Vancouver on September 14, 1973, at the age of eighty-eight years. She is buried beside her husband in Big River.


Forbes, Kenneth Stephen

I, Kenneth Stephen Forbes, was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on October 3, 1947, the fifth child of James and Georgena Forbes. All my life I have lived in the Big River area.

My life became very eventful in the fall of 1953, when I became a victim of the Polio epidemic. I spent some time at home with my whole body paralyzed. They did not know what was wrong. I was sent to the Prince Albert Hospital for about ten months where I spent some time in an iron lung. I must say that I have had a very powerful will to live! Polio had distorted my whole body, leaving me all crumpled up and the Hospital staff had to undo me, a most painful program. The treatment was that if the patient was not screaming then you were not forcing the muscles hard enough. When the polio subsided I had lost muscle on my left side, my left leg and my right arm. My left leg and right arm are one inch shorter than the other side. These muscles have come back only partially. Because of no muscles on the left side, my body became doubled-over to the right. I tried doing the recommended exercises to straighten my body but was relatively unsuccessful.

There were many assessments by doctors as to what to do with me. They would talk and compare notes in my presence as though I was only a specimen. They said that I would not live because of the distortion of my body and that when I would grow my body would not hold my organs. There were many of these consultations in my recovery and they would always say that I was lucky to be alive and that I would not mature. Even after my treatments, they would say: "He will never live to see twenty". It was very hard to deal with.

I was taken to Regina in 1954 to participate in a full-body cast program to hold my body straight until I matured enough to do a Spinal Fusion. Due to a low family income the United Church Minister, Dave Bould, had transported me a few times and the Royal Purple and Elks bought bus tickets and gave me spending money. These trips went on for seven years getting my cast changed and my body cleaned!

I remember these trips as long, lonely times with much fear of getting lost. It was a sixteen-hour bus trip then. The drivers were always good to me by assuring me but I was still always afraid of missing the bus at some stop and would not get off to go to the washroom or for refreshments. Sometimes my sister, Grace Cromartie, would meet me in Prince Albert while I was transferred to the Saskatoon bus.

Then at Saskatoon, my Uncle Glen Anderson would meet me and stay till my transfer to the Regina bus took place. At the age of fourteen when they thought I had matured, they gave me two spinal fusion operations with bone from a bone bank. This fused it from top to bottom to hold it straight. I wore a cast for only a few months after the fusions. I had to wear a corset with back support for some time after because my back was so weak. The fusions worked well and that has given me no trouble.

Most people in the community knew me as "That kid with the big body cast". I liked to fish and spend time by myself because I could not keep up to the other kids. They were always running and wrestling and doing things that I could not do in my twenty-pound body cast.

Two major problems came about from this treatment. The first one occurred because I was not mature at fourteen and I continued to grow another twelve inches taller but the fused spine would not grow. This caused pain and discomfort from overcrowded ribs that grew down past my hips. My organs overfilled my chest and caused my stomach to protrude.

Secondly, the process of straightening my spine took place by pressing on my shoulder and hip on one side and my ribs on the other. My back was forced into a straight position while I hung on a frame with a strap under my back for some support. I was then stretched by the head and feet until I screamed. This process was unsuccessful and as a result, my chest was accidentally crushed and caved in. Many years later the doctors found that I had lost 75% of my lung capacity.

I was kind of the oddball at school and was frequently teased by the other children as they put stuff down my back under my cast, just in fun. My cast was shaped like a funnel at the back of my head. Sometimes I could not get these things out. I have a scar from a pencil that grew into my skin after being down there so long. These full body casts were extremely hot and uncomfortable and smelled bad. I did suffer a lot from the heat and weight. Large calluses would build up on my hips and shoulders, wherever the cast rubbed most from movement.

Like the rest of the children in the family, I had to work for money to help pay my expenses. I worked from the age of twelve. I ploughed gardens in the spring for two dollars a garden with my father's tractor and plough. I hauled wood from the sawmill refuse chain in the summer and sold it in the winter. I babysat for three local families and made twenty-five cents an hour before midnight and fifty cents after. They said they liked me because I cleaned house and did dishes as I could not sleep on the job. I worked at the age of sixteen (1963) for a local farmer, Albert Hannigan, putting up silage for six dollars a day while sometimes working with pigs for his brother, Garth, for two dollars an hour. I worked for Kirk Wilk and John Fonos for two dollars a day (plus some cigarettes) - cutting, hauling and delivering firewood. I worked hauling firewood from the local sawmill for four dollars a cord, cut and delivered. I cut, bucked and hauled firewood from a local burn for eight dollars a cord.

I did not do well in school because of my illness, missing school, and partially due to my attitude to life. I did graduate grade ten in 1967 at the age of nineteen. This allowed me to enter a Mechanics Course at Kelsey, paid by an Employment Insurance program. I completed that course and did very well but never did get a mechanic job. I worked at the local service station, Weirs' Enterprises, for some time as pump hop and shop helper.

In 1973, at the age of twenty-six, I married Ann Reimer, daughter of Henry and Thelma Reimer. We did have a beautiful daughter, Loretta Marie Forbes, born on July 5, 1975. She is now married to David Nelson of Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. They have two wonderful sons, Joshua Bradley Nelson, born on May 13, 1995, and Jamie David Nelson, born on December 26, 1996. Ann Reimer had two children previously, Marvin and Yvonne Meyers. The marriage ended badly after nine years due to my alcoholism and my poor problem-solving skills.

I got a job driving truck for the local truckers: Ross and Bob Dunn, Ted McKenzie, Less Dunn and Max Wilson. I hauled freight, logs, gravel and asphalt for $350 to $425 a month. I started employment as a truck driver for Saskatchewan Forest Products in 1973, hauling chips to the railway. I was later employed in the sawmill on various labour jobs: trimmer person, tailing the head saw, piling lumber, operating the sorter and operating a debarker.

I worked hard and tried to prove that I was as good or better than the next person. In trying to prove that, I destroyed my body. I was not as good as others, a hard lesson to learn!

In 1976, the medical specialists determined that I was physically unable to be employed any longer due to extremely poor lung capacity and working around sawdust. My health continued to deteriorate. Finally, it was discovered that I could not breathe properly when I was sleeping. I had lost the ability to automatically breathe at rest. I was given a permanent Tracheotomy in 1979 to decrease the length of my airway and attached a ventilator with an oxygen supplement for breathing whenever I rest or sleep. This has improved my quality of life immensely! For many years I had spent 20% of my life in the hospital mostly due to chest/lung infections and more than once in hospital I had simply quit breathing and needed to be resuscitated.

My ventilator was a huge machine and not portable so I was restricted to being at home every night. In 1981, the Kinsmen gave me a portable ventilator that would even run on car batteries. I was very grateful! I was able to get out and about. There back was so weak. The fusions worked well and that has given me no trouble. Most people in the community knew me as "That kid with the big body cast". I liked to fish and spend time by myself because I could not keep up to the other kids. They were always running and wrestling and doing things that I could not do in my twenty-pound body cast.

Two major problems came about from this treatment. The first one occurred because I was not mature at fourteen and I continued to grow another twelve inches taller but the fused spine would not grow. This caused pain and discomfort from overcrowded ribs that grew down past my hips. My organs overfilled my chest and caused my stomach to protrude.

Secondly, the process of straightening my spine took place by pressing on my shoulder and hip on one side and my ribs on the other. My back was forced into a straight position while I hung on a frame with a strap under my back for some support. I was then stretched by the head and feet until I screamed. This process was unsuccessful and as a result, my chest was accidentally crushed and caved in. Many years later the doctors found that I had lost 75% of my lung capacity.

was kind of the oddball at school and was frequently teased by the other children as they put stuff down my back under my cast, just in fun. My cast was shaped like a funnel at the back of my head. Sometimes I could not get these things out. I have a scar from a pencil that grew into my skin after being down there so long. These full body casts were extremely hot and uncomfortable and smelled bad. I did suffer a lot from the heat and weight. Large calluses would build up on my hips and shoulders, wherever the cast rubbed most from movement.

Like the rest of the children in the family, I had to work for money to help pay my expenses. I worked from the age of twelve. I ploughed gardens in the spring for two dollars a garden with my father's tractor and plough. I hauled wood from the sawmill refuse chain in the summer and sold it in the winter. I babysat for three local families and made twenty-five cents an hour before midnight and fifty cents after. They said they liked me because I cleaned house and did dishes as I could not sleep on the job. I worked at the age of sixteen (1963) for a local farmer, Albert Hannigan, putting up silage for six dollars a day while sometimes working with pigs for his brother, Garth, for two dollars an hour. I worked for Kirk Wilk and John Fonos for two dollars a day (plus some cigarettes) - cutting, hauling and delivering firewood. I worked hauling firewood from the local sawmill for four dollars a cord- cut and delivered. I cut, bucked and hauled firewood from a local burn for eight dollars a cord.

I did not do well in school because of my illness, missing school, and partially due to my attitude to life. I did graduate grade ten in 1967 at the age of nineteen. This allowed me to enter a Mechanics Course at Kelsey, paid by an Employment Insurance program. I completed that course and did very well but never did get a mechanic job. I worked at the local service station, Weirs' Enterprises, for some time as pump hop and shop helper.

In 1973, at the age of twenty-six, I married Ann Reimer, daughter of Henry and Thelma Reimer. We did have a beautiful daughter, Loretta Marie Forbes, born on July 5, 1975. She is now married to David Nelson of Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. They have two wonderful sons, Joshua Bradley Nelson, born on May 13, 1995, and Jamie David Nelson, born on December 26, 1996. Ann Reimer had two children previously, Marvin and Yvonne Meyers. The marriage ended badly after nine years due to my alcoholism and my poor problem-solving skills.

I got a job driving truck for the local truckers: Ross and Bob Dunn, Ted McKenzie, Less Dunn and Max Wilson. I hauled freight, logs, gravel and asphalt for $350 to $425 a month. I started employment as a truck driver for Saskatchewan Forest Products in 1973, hauling chips to the railway. I was later employed in the sawmill on various labour jobs: trimmer person, tailing the head saw, piling lumber, operating the sorter and operating a debarker.

I worked hard and tried to prove that I was as good or better than the next person. In trying to prove that, I destroyed my body. I was not as good as others, a hard lesson to learn!

In 1976, the medical specialists determined that I was physically unable to be employed any longer due to extremely poor lung capacity and working around sawdust. My health continued to deteriorate. Finally, it was discovered that I could not breathe properly when I was sleeping. I had lost the ability to automatically breathe at rest. I was given a permanent Tracheotomy in 1979 to decrease the length of my airway and attached a ventilator with an oxygen supplement for breathing whenever I rest or sleep. This has improved my quality of life immensely! For many years I had spent 20% of my life in the hospital mostly due to chest/lung infections and more than once in hospital I had simply quit breathing and needed to be resuscitated.

My ventilator was a huge machine and not portable so I was restricted to being at home every night. In 1981, the Kinsmen gave me a portable ventilator that would even run on car batteries. I was very grateful! I was able to get out and about. There is no way to even estimate how many times I have used this over the years! Alcohol became a problem for me early in my life but I wasn't ready to recognize it and do something about it until stopping drinking with help on January 6, 1981. I also quit smoking in April 1982. I am proud to say that I have abstained from both since the initial stop date. I have learned to take care of myself and my body and have not been hospitalized since 1981.

In 1983, I married Anne Herdman, the daughter of Charles and Mable Herdman, of Debden. We had another beautiful daughter, Ellan March Forbes, born on March 16, 1983. Ellan later legally changed her name to Wolf March Herdman. Tragedy struck our home and it was completely burnt down by fire in the fall of 1988 while I was away and Anne and Ellan were alone. They were safe when I got a call at three a.m. with the bad news. Our home was replaced by insurance. We got a lot of help from people in the community that cared about us and supported us by giving us supplies and money to get by. Anne and I were married for eighteen years. We were divorced in 2002. With this separation, I lost my farm and acreage on Bodmin Hill that I had purchased in 1973 and had lived there for twenty-eight years.

I was on the Big River United Church Board as the Presbytery representative for four years and I was on the United Church Conference Interview Board for five years. I was a United Church Conference resource person for five years and did some workshops with Saskatchewan Church congregations that asked for help.

I continue to have a strong will to live and I am taking care of myself both physically and emotionally. I enjoy gardening, mastering the computer and tinkering with carpentry. I like to socialize and I enjoy camping and fishing. I have been fortunate enough to have a new love in my life, Cindy McLean, the daughter of Jack and Joan McLean. We are living together at her house, south-east of Bodmin. Cindy is employed by Weyerhaeuser at Bodmin and works as a grader at the planer.

I am very thankful to a lot of individuals, different organizations, Doctors and all categories of hospital staff who have helped me over the years. I do enjoy my LIFE.


Forbes, Lorraine

Lorraine and Earl.

Lorraine and Earl.

I am the youngest child of Jim and Georgena Forbes. I have some vague childhood memories. Saturday evening was bathtub night for the family. We had a galvanized bathtub where we would bath one at a time, using the same water, starting with the youngest and going to the oldest. We hauled water from the outside well. We got our wood, chopped it and used it in the cookstove and the coal/wood furnace.

On cold winter mornings, we would huddle around the open oven door, or sit on the oven door if you got there first, to warm up. We had an outdoor toilet and we did use newspapers, catalogues and magazines for the wipe. We had a chamber pail or was it a five-gallon pail, to use at night and it would be emptied into the toilet. I remember sliding down the hospital hill on a sheet of cardboard. Sometimes we would go all the way down, cross the road and end up in Mrs Burt's yard. I also remember the fun I had running down the sandhill, above the railway tracks, just out of town. The swimming hole on Cowan Lake was fun too - one day I cut school and went fishing there all by myself.

I have vague memories of my mom who died when I was nine years old. I do remember Mrs Minnie Hoehn and Mrs Mary Michel who would look at my things when the parents were invited to the school.

Before I started babysitting, I got an allowance of 25 cents every Saturday. It would pay my way to the show plus a treat. Just before I turned twelve, Gladys left home, so I became "chief cook and bottle washer" for a cranky father and two older brothers who wouldn't help. Every penny of grocery money had to be accounted for. Once or twice a year, I would get to go to the United Church Thrift Shop and buy all I wanted and Dad would pay for it, no questions asked.

I left home the day after Grade Twelve finished. I worked in Regina as a nurse's aide in a nursing home and then in Saskatoon. For a time, I lived with Linda and Marlene Hoehn in Regina and with Therese Normandeau, Gloria and Kathleen Hiebert in Saskatoon. My starting wage was $1.25 and I got by. I became a single parent when Michael Don Forbes was born Dec 22, 1973, in Big River. I got the standard twelve-week maternity leave from my job. When Michael was thirteen months old, 1 started the nursing assistant program at SIAST in Saskatoon. My hospital training was in Estevan. My first job as CNA was in Weyburn, where I lived some time with Linda (Hoehn) and Leo Champigny. My next job was at the Shellbrook Hospital when I moved closer to home in 1979. I purchased a 12 x 48 mobile home and parked it at Doris (sister) and Bruce Wreford's Farm west of Canwood.

On Sept 2, 1989, I married a widower, Earl Stewart, of Shellbrook. I moved into his newly built, but unfinished home on an acreage just east of Shellbrook. Earl had two adult children and two grandchildren. Earl is a self-employed logger to lumberman.

I am still working full time at Shellbrook Hospital. My title has changed from a Certified Nursing Assistant to Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). I have been, and continue to be, very active with my nursing career; participating on various committees, provincial association council and national association council as well as taking educational programs. I taught CPR for nine years. I am presently on a committee within the Parkland Health Region.

Caroline works for Hostess in Lethbridge. Her daughter, Darlene, is married with three daughters of her own and Caroline's son. Bill, is living independently. They all live in Coaldale, Alberta. James and Vickie, with their four children, live near Rocky Mountain House in Alberta. James is a self-employed oil field welder. Michael lives and works in Shellbrook as a Journeyman Electrician. He is unattached.

So, Earl and I now have six grandchildren and three great-granddaughters. We are still living in our unfinished home on Hazel Ridge Road. Earl said if he finishes the house then 1 will want renovations done. Earl had a stroke in 1999 and fortunately fully recovered. He is presently RM councillor. I have osteoarthritis and continue to do the best I can. Four more years until early retirement! Laughter and good humour have gotten us through life so far, and hopefully, it will continue!


Fortier, Cheryl (Smith) and Maurice

Outdoor Rink behind Elk's Hall.

Back Row: Maurice. Middle Row: Shantelle, Cheryl.
Front Row: Ben.

Cheryl Fortier (Smith) was born August 8, 1960, to Bertha and Frank Smith in Big River Lfnion Hospital and lived in Big River until June 1978 when she graduated. She married Maurice Fortier of Debden in September 1978 and they made their home in Prince Albert until February 1984 when they moved to Warman, Saskatchewan, where they still reside.

In July 1986, their daughter, Shantelle, was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and she is presently in Grade Twelve at Warman High School. Their son. Ben, was born in June 1989 and is in Grade Nine at Warman High School.

Cheryl has worked as an Educational Assistant at the Warman High School for five years after many years of doing office work in Prince Albert and Saskatoon. Maurice presently works for Whiting Equipment as Product Support Representative for the Province of Saskatchewan.

The whole family enjoys camping in the summer. Shantelle plays her piano and Ben loves to play soccer and golf with his dad and also with his friends. Maurice and Cheryl celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in September 2003.


Fraser, Lynne Alice (Coates)

Lynne graduated from high school at PACl in Prince Albert. She then went to work as a dental assistant, but after a few years, decided to change careers and took a business course. After completion, Lynne went to work at SaskTel in Prince Albert where she met her future husband, David Fraser. They both continued to work at SaskTel in Prince Albert for a while. Lynne resigned to stay at home with their children, and Dave's career took them to live in several different cities. The Fraser family lived in Regina, Moose Jaw, Saskatoon and Dalmeny, where they reside today. Dave and Lynne had two sons: Shawn Russell Douglas, who is working at Reptile World in Drumheller, Alberta; and Cameron Scott, who is going to college in Burnaby, British Columbia. Lynne passed away on October 8, 2003, after a courageous battle with cancer.


Fraser, Mr and Mrs Peter
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

The Fraser family came to Big River in the spring of 1914. Mr and Mrs Peter Fraser had four children: Milton, Harold, Kenneth, and Gordon. Mr Fraser worked at the sawmill that unfortunately burned down in the summer. It was reconstructed and took the name Big River Sawmill. Later, this was changed to the Ladder Lake Lumber Company owned by the Winton Brothers of the United States. Mr Fraser was millwright in the new mill until the last year it ran in 1920. The Frasers moved to a new homestead at the southeast end of the lake. These two sections were later sold to Bob Wood.

Kenneth left Big River in 1929 and took up residence in Prince Albert. He married Florence Crawford in 1932, and they had two children.

Milton joined the army in 1914 to fight in the trenches of France. He returned to marry a Big River schoolteacher, Miss Luella Shaw. The two later moved to Ontario.

Harold moved to Idaho after marrying his high school sweetheart, Edith McLeod.

Gordon married a girl from Ladder Valley, Nellie Garner. He took a job on the railroad at Eldred, then moved to Medstead.


Freer, Ernest

Submitted by Leonard Young

Ernest Freer was born in England in 1887. He came to Canada at an early age and settled in the Marcelin area. Ernest was a carpenter by trade and he worked at several places mostly on the construction of elevators. In 1928 he homesteaded on the SE 33-55-6-W3rd, where he lived until his health failed him in 1964. He passed away in Saskatoon in 1965.


Friedman, John (Joe)
Submitted by Aileen Daley

Joe Friedman.

Joe Friedman.

Joe Friedman came from Romania to New York. His brother, Jack, and sisters, Anne and Rose, stayed in the United States. Joe and his brother, Rueben, came to Canada. In 1918 Joe came to Big River, where he and Rueben operated a General Store. Joe moved away several times, but he always seemed to come back.

At one time his store was on the south end of the Big River Hotel, with a warehouse at the back end next to the tracks, and a hitching rail along the side. Some of his employees were: Jim Dawson, Kathy Kresney, Blanche Newton, Tom Huxted, and Louis Herdman. He must have been a good boss and teacher as Kathy, Tom, and Blanche later owned stores of their own.

Joe also operated out of what was known as OP Godin's Store, some of his employees there were: Aileen Daley, La Donna Sundby, Therese Kazmiruk, Joe Dougherty, George Otte, and Tom Miller.

Another business venture he was part of was Big River Lumber Producers.

Joe took an active part in the community. He was the first Exalted Ruler of the Big River Elks #256. He liked to sing, play cards, and was a very sociable man. He met his wife, Clara, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They had two sons, Cyril and Perry. Perry was on C.B.C. Television for some time, later going to East Germany to entertain. All are now deceased.


Friesen, Loretta (Neubuhr)

Jim and Lori Friesen and family.

Jim and Lori Friesen and family.

Hi! I am Loretta (Lori) Friesen (Neubuhr). I am the sixth child of Herman and Agnes Neubuhr. I was born and raised in MacDowall, Saskatchewan. We moved to Big River when I was six years old.

In 1976, I married Eli Mike Jr. and we have four children: Eli III (Vivian Sigurdson, son, Brent), Winnipeg, Manitoba.


Curtis, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Amanda (Darren Sylvester), Turner Lake, Saskatchewan (children, Caitlin and Fabian, both live in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan)

Kerrie (Quinton Sylvester), Prince Albert, Saskatchewan

We were divorced in 1984. In 1994, I married James Friesen and he has a family of seven children:


Travis (Valerie, Jarred, Morgan, Tristan, Billy, Charlene), Grande Cache, Alberta

Trent (Theresa, Curtis, Joshua, Brooklyn, Dillon), Calgary, Alberta

Mark (Keri, Alysha, Mark Jr), Grande Prairie, Alberta (Mark passed away in 1995 and Mark Jr. passed away in 1996)

Michael (Zoelyn, Boedergard, Shyanne), Red Deer, Alberta

Jennifer (Jason, Reanne), Red Deer, Alberta Laurie (Wayne, Desiree, Jayden), Red Deer, Alberta

David (Jamie), Red Deer, Alberta

James and I live on an acreage at Grovedale. I work at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and manage the acreage business, "The Modern Day Noah's Ark of Wee Big Things and Fine Feathered Friends". I still play the guitar and sing country gospel music. Before our move to Grovedale, we lived in Grande Cache for three years where James worked at the underground coal mine, Smokey River Coal.


Fyfe, Jack

Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

Mr Jack Fyfe arrived in Big River in 1910. The family came from Scotland to join him in 1911. Mr.Fyfe worked at the company store.



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