Submitted by Nioma (McNabb) McCully
Nioma McNabb, Laura Gould, Olga Glowaski.
My parents moved to Big River in the early 1920s. My mom came as Pearl Anderson with three children: Elenore, Floyd and Wilfred.
Later mom married my dad, Dalton (Ted) McNabb, and seven more children were born: Laverne, Nioma, Norman, Gordon, Clifford, Nova and Larry.
My mom and dad ran a boarding house down by Yurach's store and Mr and Mrs Gould's house. Dad also worked on the freight train hauling supplies and fish from the north; first with horses and then with tractors. Dad also spent two years working on the Alaska Highway in the early 1940s.
In 1935, Dad built a house close to the highway going into town and across from the old school. I think the house is still there.
In 1957, mom and dad moved out to Nanaimo, British Columbia. Dad worked at various jobs and mom and her sister ran the concession at the curling rink for several years. They loved their jobs, cooking and baking and meeting people. They were happy and had a good life. When we (their children) started moving out to Nanaimo, they were overjoyed.
Dad passed away in August of 1976 at the age of eighty-five years, and mom passed away in April of 1977 at the age of seventy-five years.
Elnora and Clarence stayed in Big River with their five children. Clarence worked on the freight trains and various jobs. Norte worked at the hospital and was also very active on several committees in town. Norrie passed away in October of 2001, and Clarence still lives in Big River and is doing well. Their daughter, Clarice Hunter, also lives in Big River.
Floyd joined the Navy during the Second World War. After the war, he remustered to the army. When he retired he moved to Nanaimo with his wife and children. Floyd passed away in 1983 at the age of fifty-nine years. His wife and family live in Winnipeg.
Wilfred, Maudie and their family moved to East End, Saskatchewan where Wilf worked for many years. They then moved on to Calgary where, even after he retired, he still worked out of his garage fixing engines. Wilf also passed away in 2002 at the age of seventy-two years. Maudie and family still live in Calgary.
Laverne and her son, Gordon, moved to Nanaimo shortly after mom and dad moved. She remarried and had two more children. She started selling Real Estate, and still lives in Nanaimo. Her children live in Vancouver.
I left Big River in 1952 when I married Lorne McCully, who was in the Air Force. We lived in several places across Canada and also in France for three years. We have five children. Two of our girls live in Fort Nelson, British Columbia. One of our sons lives in Red Deer, Alberta; one son lives in Victoria, British Columbia and our other daughter lives in Courtney, British Columbia. We have retired and also live in Courtney.
Norman and Edna moved to Nanaimo with their six children in the late 60's and owned Sun Glo Lumber. He is now semi-retired and still lives in Nanaimo. Their six children also live there.
Gordon and Hope and their children moved to Nanaimo in the late '50s. Gordon had trucks and hauled logs to the mills and in later years he hauled chips to the mills. Hope and Gordon also have storage rentals. They still live in Nanaimo, and their three children live in British Columbia.
Clifford and his wife, Phyllis, moved to Nanaimo in the late 1950s. Cliff had his own electric business and was very active with the Clippers hockey team. Cliff passed away in 1994 at the age of fifty-nine years and his wife passed away in 2001. Their three children still live on the Island.
Nova moved out to Nanaimo at the same time as Laverne. She married and her husband owned a drug store in Williams Lake. They later retired to Nanoose, British Columbia. They have five daughters who also live on the Island.
Larry moved out west when Mom and Dad moved. He played hockey with several teams in the USA and was also part owner of the Clippers, along with Cliff. Larry and his wife, Dodie, live in Nanaimo and have three children who live in Vancouver. He also is now on the Nanaimo Town Council.
I have many fond memories of Big River. We were in the United Church and sang in the choir. The Canadian Girls in Training (CGIT), the many Christmas concerts, the sleigh rides down Tower Hill and then the long walk back up, skating on the lake, tin can alley, run sheep run, and lots of things we enjoyed.
I know things were hard for our parents making ends meet, as it was for other parents in Big River, but these were also fun and happy times and we all managed to turn out OK.
I can remember all the picnics we went on across the lake. They were work picnics, as we had to pick a few pails of berries before we could eat. But it was fun and the berries sure tasted good in the wintertime after mom canned them, along with all the vegetables they canned.
Norman was born in Canwood, Saskatchewan in 1933 to Dalton and Pearl McNabb. He had all of his schooling in Big River and was always active in sports.
The winter sport of hockey was always his favourite and after leaving school, with the encouragement of Ivory Newton, he tried out and then played for the Prince Albert Junior Mintos. He then played Senior Hockey in Saskatchewan and Alberta before returning to Big River, where he married Edna Sundby - daughter of Andrew and Mayme Sundby.
Norman and Edna have six children, all born in Big River: Darcy, Lance, Shelley, Terry, Tanis and Gwen.
Norman was employed as yard manager and production supervisor of the Saskatchewan Timber Board and sawmill operations.
The office property and retail lumberyard are now residential lots and Big River's R.V. parking sites.
Norman was an active member of the B.P.O. Elks and served a term as Exalted Ruler and District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler. He was also an active member on the Board of the United Church and served on the Board when the present United Church was being built. He was a playing coach for the Big River Braves in the '60s, as well as coaching the younger teams like the "Max Wilson Valiants".
Norman and Edna's last home in Big River was next door to Jack Johnson and across the street from Clarence Pederson's house. They left Big River in 1969 and moved to Nanaimo, British Columbia where Norman managed a hardware and retail Lumber Store. It later became a family business before it was sold to Beaver Lumber. Norm is semi-retired now with interests in land development.
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979
Bruce McTaggart came west from Napanee, Ontario in 1910. After he had spent several months in and around Big River, he decided the north country was an ideal place to live and wanted to make his home here. He made a trip back to Ontario to visit his family and while there he married his former girlfriend Georgina Crouse.
He brought his wife back to Big River with him and together they made their home and raised a family throughout the hardest times that were to follow. They had three daughters, Mary, Muriel, and Dorothy.
Bruce worked at whatever jobs were available. At one time he was dam keeper at the first dam that was built on Crooked Lake, he also worked on the old riverboat the "Alice Mattes". He worked for a few years at the old airbase at Ladder Lake and eventually started working for the Department of Natural Resources. He continued working for the Department until his retirement in 1962.
His genial disposition won him many friends and in his later years, he was looked upon, more or less as an old sage.
Meadows, Gord and Marilon
Marilon and I moved to Big River in August 1974 where I assumed control of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Before moving, we lived at Radisson, Saskatchewan. At the time we had no children and this was our furthest point north in our career with the bank.
While in Big River both of our children were born Michelle in 1975 and Melissa in 1979. We lived in two bank houses while we were there, with the first one being next to the cemetery and a house that Waite Fisheries built in 1949 to provide housing for the bank manager. In 1977, we moved to a new house, which is still owned, by the bank. I played hockey for the five years I was there with the Big River Braves and both Marilon and I curled. We both played an active role with the Kinsmen and Kinettes. As well I was president of the Golf club for four years and enjoyed many a game of golf with the friends we had made.
Some of my memories were of raising money for the Kinsmen club through skate-a-thons, helping out with the annual rodeo, enjoying the camping of the wonderful northern lakes and getting to know the many close friends that we made.
In January of 1980, we were transferred to Birch Hills. We thoroughly enjoyed our five and a half years in your town and still have fond memories of the social life that we had.
I retired from CIBC in 2000 after 38 1/2 years of employment. We live in Swift Current, Saskatchewan and enjoy curling, golfing and my newfound hobby of running.
Michelle is married and lives in St. Albert, Alberta, where she is employed as a counsellor. Melissa is a teacher in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan.
Meiklejohn, Donald and Ada
Don and Irene, 1981.
Donald Edward Meiklejohn was born in December 1902, in rural Ontario. His grandparents came from Inverness, Scotland. His father, John Sinclair, a blacksmith by trade, came west to North Battleford where he found employment in the CNR Round House. The family lived in North Battleford for a year before moving to a homestead near Wilkie, Saskatchewan to escape a scarlet fever epidemic. The family grew to include two boys and four girls: Sinclair (Laura Babcock); Elizabeth (Jim Goodfellow); Barbara (Harry Rea); Donald (Irene Seccombe); Edna (Les Campbell); and Annie (Gordon Porter).
Upon completing his schooling, Don went farming with his father and brother in the Wilkie district.
Ada Irene (Rene, as she is affectionately known) came to Canada from London, England with her parents who homesteaded in the Marshall-Lashburn, Saskatchewan area. Her parents were Ernest Simpson Seccombe and Ada (Lewis) Seccombe. They were booked to come out with the Barr Colonists but because Ernest was ill they had to postpone their journey until a later date.
Soon a school was built in the district and the Department of Education asked for the area people to submit a name for the school. Mr Seccombe sent his suggestion and it was accepted. The name was Banana Belt. Rene started school here and continued her education in Regina, becoming a schoolteacher. She accepted a country school position in the Wilkie area where she met Don. Soon a romance blossomed and they were married on January 1, 1930. They had a mixed farm and also a dairy herd, supplying milk and cream to the town of Wilkie. During the "Dirty Thirties" farming was tough, crops dried out and livestock feed was scarce.
John (Jack) Ernest was born to Don and Rene in January 1933. Because of the drought Don, Rene and Jack moved to a farm north of the "Gully" near Rene's parents. They had a mixed farming operation and things were better living away from the "dust bowl". Ernest Clifford was born into the family on September 1939. Now Jack had a little "nuisance" brother. The boys took their schooling in Banana Belt, Lashburn, and Lloydminster and were soon farming with their dad. Don bought farmland south of the "Gully" and moved the family to a new farmstead, continuing to raise cattle, hogs, sheep, chickens and growing crops of wheat, oats, barley and later canola. Don bought up land when it became available. Soon they had land in three different RM's. This kept everyone busy, especially at seeding and harvest time.
Their son, Jack, married Eileen (Willick) from the Marcelin-Blaine Lake area. They have three children: Robert (Paulette), Margot and Delaine (Quint Althouse). Bob and Paulette have four boys: Herb; Donald (Danielle) with their children: Cody and Rajeanne; Bradley and Lindsay (Eric Swanson) and their children: Madison, Triston and Matthew. Delaine and Quint have two children: Raymond and Larissa.
Their son, Ernie, married Christina (Mitchell) from Hafford, Saskatchewan. They have two children: Margaret (Peggy) Irene (Dan Allen) and Scott Cameron (Patricia Franz) and their two children:
Breann Taylor, born on March 11, 2000, and Rachelle Dawn Irene, born on December 19, 2002.
After farming many years Don and Ernie sought a different way of life. Don had suffered a stroke and Ernie's allergies to grain dust were becoming bothersome. Checking into the hotel industry resulted in the purchase of the Big River Hotel in August 1971. Don and Rene enjoyed meeting new people and loved the north country with the pines and lakes. They managed the cafe and staff and renovated the cafe, thus increasing the seating capacity. After five years in the hotel-cafe business and because of Don's health the decision was made to put the Hotel on the market. It was sold in June of 1976 to Wayne and Audrey Hammon.
After Don and Rene moved to Lloydminster, Don's health improved greatly and the lure of the north beckoned them. They returned in July 1977 to open a fast food outlet "The Burger Bar" which was their next venture, located across from the hotel. After a couple of years in this business, it was sold to Bill Gerow in 1979.
Don and Rene retired in Big River remaining there until 1982 when they moved to Paradise Hill where Ernie and Chris had purchased the hotel. They enjoyed their years in the "Hill" and made new friends. The years had taken their toll on Don and in 1989 he was hospitalized in the Maidstone Saskatchewan Hospital and later moved to North Battleford Hospital. Rene moved to Ernie and Chris's so she was able to visit Don every day. Rene broke her hip one day while visiting Don. She said, "If it was going to happen, better there where you have all the help". She came along nicely after the hip was pinned. In January 1991, Don passed away peacefully after a long stay in the hospital. He is buried in the North Battleford cemetery. He was eighty-eight years old.
Rene continued to live with Ernie and Chris until 1994 when she decided to move to Davidson Manor, a senior's apartment complex not far from Ernie and Chris's. She took part in all the activities; including playing cards and added her humour and kind heart to all she met there. In October 2000 Rene was transferred to the District Care facility for therapy and assessment. Her health began to deteriorate and she passed away peacefully on the morning of December 24, 2000. She was ninety-six years old. Rene was buried beside Don, thus ending a long and fulfilling life.
Meiklejohn, Ernest Clifford
and Margaret Christina (Mitchell)
Back Row: Chris, Ernie.
Front Row: Scott, Peggy.
Ernie was born on September 22, 1939, in Lashburn, Saskatchewan. His early years were on a farm in the Banana Belt school district, later his parents, Don and Rene, moved to a farm south of the "Gully" north of Lashburn. Ernie had one older brother, Jack.
After school at Banana Belt, Lashburn and Lloydminster, and Ernie knew "all he needed to know"; he started farming with his dad and brother. They farmed a great many acres and were kept busy with livestock as well. Some winters Ernie worked off the farm, clearing bush for farmers.
I, Christina was born in Hafford on July 16, 1940, to Stewart and Margaret (Taylor) Mitchell. I had two older siblings: a brother, Donald and a sister, Jean. My father was born in 1897 and came with his parents, Joseph and Christina, and siblings (two brothers and one sister) from Ontario. They homesteaded in the Smithville district, west of Saskatoon in 1898. Dad was educated at Smithville School, Nutana Collegiate and the University of Saskatchewan. He became a pharmacist (in his day it was three or four years of apprenticeship and one year of University classes). Upon completion, he came to Hafford in October 1922. He was going to make some money and move on, but forty-six years later he retired in Hafford.
My mother was born in Scotland in January 1903 to Donald and Mary (Anderson) Taylor. She had an older brother, Donald MacDonald Taylor, better known as Mac. The family came to Canada and settled at Borden, Saskatchewan next to the Diefenbaker's. In 1910 they moved to a homestead north of Hafford. Mac farmed and married Clara Keatley and they had two children: Shirley and Keith. My mother became a schoolteacher. Dad and Mom were married on July 1926.
My brother, Donald, lived in Winnipeg and married Marjorie (Hillis). They had three children: Donald Jr., Ronald, and Heather. Donald (Tish) have two children: Kimberley and Ian; Ronald (HyeKyoung) lives in Germany, and Heather (Kevin McCelland) have four children: Amanda and Tabitha (twins); Mackenzie and Amy. My brother Donald passed away on November 1977, at the age of forty-eight years.
My sister Jean became a schoolteacher. She married Lloyd Salt and lives in Brooks, Alberta. Lloyd passed away on March 1998.
When I was eleven years old my cousin, Bill Mitchell, came to live with us, as his mother had passed away and his father, Allen, was a relief elevator agent. Bill and I graduated from Hafford High School. Following a few years at the University of Saskatchewan, he became an actor and moved to London, England. He did movies, theatre, and commercials for the BBC. Bill came to visit me in 1993 after an absence of twenty-eight years. He became ill in 1998 and passed away in January 1999.
My education took me down the same path as my mother and sister. I became a teacher. My first year was in a rural school in the Lashburn district. That's where I first met Ernie. The next three years I taught in Hafford. We had a long-distance romance until we were married in July 1963. I moved to the farm at Lashburn. We had great neighbours and enjoyed the social life of the rural area.
We have two children: Margaret (Peggy) Irene and Scott Cameron. Peggy started school in Lashburn and Scott had his kindergarten before we moved to Big River.
In August 1971, we purchased the Big River Hotel from Ernie Toth and Harry Mysko. Ernie and his dad needed a change from farming because of health problems. Ernie liked the fact that owning a bar meant, "The quota opened every morning". There never seemed to be a dull moment in the business.
Ernie and I became Kinsmen/Kinettes. In the winter I curled and met more people than the ones we knew through the hotel/cafe. The children seemed to fit right in and made friends easily.
After five years we sold the hotel to Wayne and Audrey Hamon and moved to Lloydminster for a year. We returned in July 1977. Don and Rene bought Les Dunn's house and we bought Gordon Hegland's acreage (formerly Poker Johnson's). Don and Rene managed the Burger Bar and Ernie found employment with the Saskatchewan Timber Board. I did some substitute teaching and helped in the Burger Bar. We enjoyed being back in the "north". After a two-year stay, Ernie, the children and I were on the move again. This time we purchased the Landis (Saskatchewan) Hotel in September 1979.
We rented our Big River acreage to Ted Bogner. We sold the Landis Hotel in 1981 to Jack and Eileen Meiklejohn and moved back to Big River. We moved a larger house to the acreage and painted every building white and red, or red and white, Ernie's favourite colours.
Ernie's feet began to "itch" and we purchased the Paradise Hill (Saskatchewan) Hotel in January 1982 and moved there probably on the coldest day of the decade at -54 below F. We sold the hotel/motel in Paradise Hill in September 1985, selling to a syndicate of eight individuals.
Our next business venture was a resort store at Loon Lake, Saskatchewan in 1986. We rented it out the next year and finally sold the property later.
The year of our twenty-fifth anniversary found us living in North Battleford. The kids organized a celebration for us with family and friends. We finally quit the "gipsy" way of life.
We enjoyed the lake country so much, that in the late 90's we put a cabin trailer at Chitek Lake and during the summer we usually find time to scoot over to Big River for a "reunion of sorts"
In January 2002, Ernie suffered a couple of heart attacks and was diagnosed with diabetes. Life has changed. In August 2002 his middle toe on his left foot was amputated, but when it was finally healed things got back to near normal. He manages to keep his diabetes controlled and can go fishing, riding his quad, and have coffee with the guys. He enjoys his grandchildren and is a big tease.
Ernie, Chris, Peggy, Trish, Scott, 1993.
Insert: Breanne, Rachelle.
Meiklejohn, Margaret (Peggy) Irene
Peggy was born in the Maidstone, Saskatchewan hospital and spent the first seven years on the farm. She had finished grade two in Lashburn, Saskatchewan when the family moved to Big River. Her grade eight was completed in Lloydminster, and then back to Big River for grades nine and ten. Then the family moved to Landis, Saskatchewan where Peggy took her grade eleven. She wanted to graduate with her friends in Big River. Arrangements were made for her to take grade twelve and stay with "Granny and Granddad Meiklejohn".
Peggy graduated from Big River High School in 1981. She found employment at the new truck shop in Paynton, Saskatchewan working there until April 1983. For May, June, July and August, Peggy lived in Regina and moved to Winnipeg in September 1983 and boarded with her aunt. While living in Winnipeg she attended Success/Angus Business College and was employed in February 1985 with Hudson's Bay Company Northern Stores. In 1987 the Hudson Bay Company sold the Northern Stores division to a group of investors and was renamed The North West Company. The North West Company has one hundred forty stores across "northern" Canada, plus AC Value stores in Alaska and now has the Giant Tiger stores west of the Manitoba/Ontario border.
She met Dan Allen, a stores accountant who works for the same company. Dan travels a great deal in his position for the company. They try to make a couple of trips to Saskatchewan each year. Peggy loves interior decorating and their home reflects her talent.
Peggy loves her yard and flowers and decorates for special holidays. This thrills children and adults alike. She's a special aunt to Breann and Rachelle Meiklejohn (Scott and Trish's girls).
Peggy stays in touch with friends in Big River via phone or email and when asked where she's from, Peggy replies "Big River, Saskatchewan". Peggy considers Big River her "hometown."
Meiklejohn, Scott and Patricia
Scott was born in the Maidstone, Saskatchewan hospital. He spent his first six years on the farm in the Lashburn area. He went to Kindergarten. When the family moved to Big River in 1971 he started grade one with Mrs Helen Stobbs. He played hockey and still enjoys the game (watching now, rather than playing).
Grade six was in Lloydminster at Neville Goss. Returning to Big River, Scott continued his education in grades seven and eight. The family was on the move again when Ernie and Chris purchased the Landis Hotel from the Berger family in September 1979. The bartender in the hotel was Art Garrett and on weekends he would take Scott out to the farm to spend time with his grandchildren and their parents Verne and Imelda. This family became Scott's extended family, which included Barb, Bill, Brenda, Bev and Wesley. They still consider him "one" of the family. When Scott's parents sold the Landis Hotel he wanted to finish his high school in Landis. The Garretts agreed to have him stay on the farm and attend school. He graduated in 1983.
In the spring of 1984, he attended the Western College of Auctioneering in Billings Montana, travelling down by himself in his dad's car. He became an auctioneer and started his career with Neil Kramer in 1984. In 1986 he was working for Intercontinental Packers in Saskatoon and stayed with the company for ten years as well as continuing his auction career. He would take his holidays in April so he could be with Kramer Auction for their spring sales.
He found the "girl of his dreams" in Saskatoon. Her name is Patricia Jane Franz. Trish grew up in Landis, moving there with her parents, Alex and Jane when she was very young. She has two brothers: Jamie and Kristian. Trish attended the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Scott and Trish were married on May 22, 1993. She continued her studies and graduated with a law degree in May 1996. They moved to Regina where Trish articled with a law firm there. She accepted a position with a law office in North Battleford and they moved at the end of November 1997 into a newly purchased home. Trish began her career that December.
Scott was now very close to his work. Kramer's built a large auction house known as "The Big Red Barn". As well as farm and household auctions they include sales of bison, elk and cattle. Scott and Trish rent the auction barn on a weekend in October and sponsor a farm toy and collectable show and sale, which they have done for a few years. They attract exhibitors from Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan and visitors from great distances.
On March 11, 2000, Trish and Scott became parents to a baby girl they named Breann Taylor. What a fuss we made over her! On December 19, 2002, Trish and Scott presented Breann with a baby sister, Rachelle Dawn Irene. What a great Christmas gift for the Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles!
In the fall of 2002, Scott purchased an acreage three miles east of North Battleford where he sells tractors, three-point hitch equipment, wagons, wheels and whatever. He now has the agency for Morand Livestock Equipment. The acreage is a great place for his dad, Ernie, to do a little wheeling and dealing. Scott and Trish keep themselves busy. To relax they have a cabin trailer at Chitek Lake and enjoy fishing and the great outdoors.
Menard, Oscar and Margaret
Submitted by Gail Gunderson
In early 1967, Oscar transferred to the Saskatchewan Timber Board's Big River Mill from Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan. His position as area manager had him overseeing the mill planer and forest operations. In July of 1967, Oscar's wife Margaret and two youngest daughters, Gail and Denise, moved to Big River. Gail remembers being awoken on their first morning by a thundering "boom." She and Denise were terrified, not having a clue as to what could cause such a noise. They later found out that it was the fighter jets from the Cold Lake Air Force Base. They used to use the Big River Mill burner, as a land marker on their practice flights and the "boom" was the sonic boom of the jets breaking the sound barrier.
Oscar left Saskatchewan Timber Board in 1969 and started work for the Workers Compensation Board in Yellowknife, North West Territories. He died of cancer in 1999, at the age of 78.
Gail remained in Big River and married Gordon Gunderson. They have three daughters: Tracey, Denise and Melanie. Gordon and Gail opened a business called G&G Sporting Goods, located where the Credit Union was. They also opened a Sears Catalogue Office in that location with Gail managing both businesses.
Tracey, Denise and Melanie attended school and graduated in Big River. During their school years, they were involved in drama, softball and figure skating. Tracey is currently employed at Tubscope in Lloydminster, Alberta and has three children: Kristian, Erika, and Weston. Denise is employed at the Big River Mill and has two children: Justin and Danielle. Melanie is employed at the Big River Mill.
I was born on December 23, 1956, in Big River Saskatchewan to Joseph and Tina Meyers. I was raised in the Lake Four community, until the age of ten. I then moved to Shellbrook in 1967 and then to Big River in 1970. In 1974, I finished school and was ready to take on the working world. I got a job at the mill, you know until something better comes along. During the winter months, I worked in the bush for Mel Hodgson, Ken Hodgson and Clarence Olson. There was a short break from the mill when construction of the new mill was being completed. During this time I did a little cat skinning for my brothers Earl and Lorne and then went to Hudson Bay for the summer and worked for a carpenter and at an alfalfa dehydrating plant. In fall I was called back to work at the Sawmill.
In 1978, I got married and started the family life and also started as an Apprentice Heavy Equipment Mechanic for the mill under the guidance of Bill Johnson.
On August 19, 1978, Angela was born and a little over a year later on January 29, 1980, Jason was born. A few years later, I divorced and am still working at the mill, just till something better comes along.
I finished my apprenticeship in 1982 and graduated to an Interprovincial Heavy Equipment Mechanic and continued to work at the mill.
I still live in Big River with Sharon Rody [Doucette] and her two children Tyler and Danielle. Angela is living in Calgary and has a son, Tristan. She is furthering her education and working in between classes. Jason is also in Calgary working for a drywall contractor. Tyler is attending school near Swift Current to be a Pastor. Danielle is still at home with us going to school.
Earl and Wendy Meyers.
I, Earl was born on March 30, 1928, on 35-54-7-W3rd, presently owned by Rolf Pfunder. Mrs Klyne was the midwife in attendance. I lived there for about four years with my parents and siblings. We then moved to a farm near Erinferry, where Ernest Vandale lives. In 1944, Dad joined the armed forces and moved the family to his hometown, Rosthern, Saskatchewan. We lived there until his discharge in 1945. We then returned to Erinferry, and I took my first year of schooling in a log school at Erinferry, and about two years at Winter Lake School. Dad then built a shack on a 1946 Ford two-ton truck and headed for the mountains of British Columbia. We lived in Salmon Arm for a couple of years then returned to Saskatchewan, to a farm where Thoralf Aarrestad now lives. I went to school until I completed grade eight. I worked at home and around Big River for a few years and then went to work in the oil fields of Alberta.
In 1960, I married Ann Reimer. We farmed and raised cattle on the farm we had bought from Dave Klassen at the south end of Delaronde. We have two children Yvonne born 1964, and Marvin born 1966. Yvonne lives in Lloydminster with her husband Lionel Lindskog and they have three children Derek, Whitney and Dylan. Marvin lives in Brabant, Saskatchewan and works for the Department of Highways.
After our divorce, I bought Isle Issacson's farm at Bodmin. Lorne and I bought three cats in the 1970s, and cleared and broke land. We also hauled logs for about ten years. In the late 1980s, I graded roads for the Department of Highways and Weyerhaeuser.
In 1991, I married Wendy (Kabatoff). Wendy's son Jeremy was beginning grade one at the time. Jeremy has now graduated from high school and is living at Erinferry on the farm. Wendy's oldest son Blaine lives and works near Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Wendy and I purchased a lathe business from Raymond Mitchell in 1995. We ran this business together until 2001. We sold our home and business at Bodmin and purchased our present residence at Riddle place near Cowan Lake just north of Big River.
Barry, Wayne. Velda, Lorna, Joan.
Delaine. Perry missing (1998).
Hugh was born June 5, 1933, at the Holy Family Hospital to Frank and Ruby Meyers (deceased). Hugh was raised and went to school in the Weirdale area.
In 1957, Hugh purchased land, (PT. NE 18-55-6-W3rd) in the Ladder Valley area from Timothy Hunt.
I, Joan (Ahearn), was born at St. Pauls Hospital in Saskatoon on May 23, 1942. My parents are the late Joseph Ahearn Jr. and Velda Ahearn (Buchanan). I was five years old when my parents moved from Saskatoon to the Rapid Bend District. I attended school at Rapid Bend till the eighth grade and the school was closed and the students were bused to Big River.
Reverend David Bould married Hugh and I in Prince Albert, on June 5, 1959. Born to us were three children, all born at the Big River Hospital. Cal was born April 15, 1960, Curt November 14, 1961, and our daughter Shannon July 16, 1963. Cal's first year of schooling was in Ladder Valley. The school was then closed and the students were bused to Big River.
Cal and Curt still reside in the Big River area. Shannon has made her home in Kindersley, Saskatchewan.
Curt and Lana were married June 24, 1989, and have two boys, Cody born August 26, 1990, at the Holy Family Hospital in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and Cole born June 4, 1994, at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert.
Shannon and her husband Blair (Sutherland) were married in Kindersley, Saskatchewan on November 23, 1985, and have three boys. They are Duncan born September 12, 1987, Damon born July 25, 1989, and Landon born March 6, 1993.
Catrina and Joe Meyers.
Joe Meyers was born on November 24, 1909, and Tina Klassen was born on August 28, 1912. Joe and Tina met at Rosthern where they worked for the same farmer. They moved to the Clearwater Lake area. Joe cut firewood and hauled it to Bodmin and had a few head of cattle. They then moved to where Ernest Vandale presently lives. Here they raised cattle, milked cows, and sold cream. Joe served in the army from 1944-1945. In 1949 the family moved to Salmon Arm, British Columbia. In 1950 they moved to the Lake Four district and settled on NW 28-54-6-W3rd where Thoraf Aarrestad now lives.
Shortly after they moved to Ed Tone's place on NE 32-54-6-W3rd. They built a house on this quarter. Here Joe raised cattle and also worked at Waite Fisheries in Big River.
The children attended school in Lake Four. In 1967 Joe and Tina moved to Shellbrook and in 1970 they then moved back to Big River where they lived until their passing. Joe passed away on January 3, 1998, at the age of 88. Tina passed away on November 24, 2000, at the age of 88. Joe and Tina had nine children:
Eileen was born August 14, 1931, in Laird, Saskatchewan.
Lenora was born April 6, 1933, at Ormeaus, Saskatchewan. She married Art Viden and has three children,
Linda Diedericks, Sharon Beuden and Arlene Viden.
Lorne was born August 23, 1936, at Winter Lake, Saskatchewan. He married Reeva Quinton and later divorced. He then married Nena Anor. (See own history)
Earl was born on March 30, 1938, at Bodmin, Saskatchewan. (See own history)
Gerald (Gerry) was born on December 17, 1940, at Winter Lake. He married and later divorced Josephine Warriner. They have two children Jean Koczka and Brian Meyers.
Marlene was born on May 16, 1945, at Rosthern, Saskatchewan. (See own history)
Vern was born on December 30, 1946, at Canwood, Saskatchewan (See own history)
Carol was born on April 14, 1951, at Big River, Saskatchewan. She married Rodney Bourne and had two children Curtis (deceased) and Jeffrey Bourne.
Darryl was born on December 23, 1956, at Big River, Saskatchewan (See own history).
Back Row: Lenora, Lorne, Earl, Jerry.
Front Row: Carol, Vern, Marlene.
Back Row: Lorne, Lorna, Diane, Nolan.
Front Row: Brent, Randy.
Lorne Joseph Meyers was born August 23, 1936, to Joseph and Tina Meyers in Armeaux, Saskatchewan. Lorne is the second oldest child. In 1938, the Meyers family moved to the Clearwater area and then on to Winter Lake. They bought the homestead, but because of the war and Joseph joining the army, they went to Rosthern, Saskatchewan until the war was over.
Lorne took his first year of school in Rosthern and received fifty cents from the Government for having the best handwriting in grade one. He bought three pop, three chocolate bars and still had money left. They returned to the Winter Lake homestead when Joseph returned home from the war. Lorne then started school at Erinferry, where Mrs Jean Becker was his teacher for one year and two years at Winter Lake School.
The Meyers family moved to Salmon Arm, British Columbia and the homestead was sold to Ernest Vandal. They returned years later and bought a quarter of land from John Eliason at Lake Four were Lorne finished grade seven.
At the age of fifteen, Lorne was done school and off to work. He went to work for Len Waite in Big River and Dore Lake. Lorne recalls one trip in a 1951 Ford one-ton loaded with fish. He was on his way from Dore to Big River. He met a lumber truck driven by John Newman. Lorne ended up in the ditch with the one-ton on its side. Lorne was fifteen and had no driver's license. John hooked on to the truck and was able to upright it. They picked up the fish that had fallen out and Lorne was off to Big River again, a little shy on fuel as some of it was spilt when the truck went over.
Lorne also recalls a time in the bombardier and he had lost all the antifreeze, in the middle of the lake and no one around to help. He pinched off the hoses and melted snow in a scoop shovel until he had enough water to continue.
Lorne then decided to do some travelling and worked many jobs even cooking in a restaurant in Fox Creek. In the winter of 1955-1956, he worked on a ranch in Camrose, Alberta, and in the summer of 1956 building elevators. Lorne worked at Candle Lake cutting power poles in 1956-57, 195758 cutting pulpwood in Dryden, Ontario.
In 1958, at a dollar ninety an hour, Lorne left for the oil rigs, from Weyburn to Inuvik, North West Territories. From 1965-1990, Lorne did some farming in his spare time as well. He was with the rigs until 1972 making fourteen dollars an hour. In 1972 he and his brother Earl started E.L.Contracting with log trucks and cats until 1981. They sold off the equipment and Lorne went driving log truck until 1986. He then went to work for Max Wilson as a mechanic until he retired in 2001. Lorne has four children from his first marriage in 1961.
Tracy, Susan, holding Zachary.
Tracey was born on April 4, 1965. Tracey is married to Susan and they have one son Zachary and they live in Calgary, Alberta. Tracey joined the army and has since left and is a heavy-duty mechanic and is now taking engineering.
Lorna was born on April 14, 1967. Lorna and Wes Simpson have two boys, Brent and Randy, and they live in Creston, British Columbia. They are separated and he lives in Saskatoon.
Lyle was born August 20, 1969, and is married to Twyla (Moule) and they have two children, Tyler and Jessica and they live in Big River.
Diane was born March 29, 1972, and is married to Nolan Meyer and they have two boys Colby and Carson and they live in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.
In 1994 Lorne met Nena Anor from Alcoy, Cebu in the Philippines. They met threw a friendship centre in Calgary. Nena was working in Hong Kong at the time. In 1995, Lorne went to Hong Kong to pick Nena up to continue to Alcoy where they were to be married. Lorne's plane was late and so there was no one to pick him up at the airport. It took them a few phone calls and wrong hotels but they finally found each other and were married May 26, 1995, in Alcoy. They came back to Big River and Nena worked at the Esso and Third & Main as a cook. Nena still works at Third & Main when they are in Big River. Lorne and Nena now have a house in Alcoy and reside there in the winter months and return to Big River for the summers.
Lorne and Nena.
Meyers, Otto and Eleanor
Back Row: Melvin. Carol.
Front Row: Eleanor. Henry. Mona. Colleen.
Otto Melvin was born to Christian and Gertrude (Gullickson) Meyers at Madison, Wisconsin, the United States on June 19, 1895. He passed away on July 2, 1987, at the Big River Hospital at the age of 92 years.
Eleanor Rita Servatius (Meyers) was born to Henry and Regina (Schmitz) Servatius at Melrose, Minnesota on February 12, 1912. She passed away on June 26, 1960, at Big River at the age of 48 years.
Melvin and Eleanor were married November 24, 1934, at Sturgeon River, Saskatchewan. Jack Servatius and Bertha Skarsgard were their attendants. After farming in the area, and going north to haul freight in the winter, they moved to Ladder Valley, where they farmed the Tom Huxted land. They later moved into Big River.
Melvin was employed at the outdoor skating rink, packed fish at Waite Fisheries and was the caretaker of the schools. As caretaker in the old school, he had to carry fresh water into the water coolers and carry out the stale water at the end of the day. With no plumbing in those days, it was also his job to carry out the toilet pails. He would get up at four or five in the morning to go and stoke up the furnace, so the school would be warm for the day.
He was also caretaker at the Union Hospital. Eleanor also worked very hard over the years, taking in boarders, washing and ironing for road crews, as well as growing a large garden. She operated the cafe at the Lake View Hotel for a while. They raised their family in Big River.
Mona Audrey was born on October 7, 1935. Mona married Erland Person (born September 9 1930) of Canwood. They have two children Pamela Lynn born August 27, 1962. She married Rob Oleynick. They have a son Ryan born on February 11, 1993. They live in Saskatoon. Pamela has been employed with Sask-Tel since graduating from the College of Commerce. Rob is employed at Ackland Canada Safety supplies. Grant Erland was born March 30, 1965, and is a teacher and lives at Maidstone, Saskatchewan. Erland passed away in 1995. Mona continues to live on the farm and is a partner in Neighborhood Caters.
Carol Maxine was born on December 3, 1939. Carol married Donald Person (born July 5, 1937) of Canwood. They are farmers. They have a son Dean Donald born May 20, 1972. He married Shauna Dyck and they live in Saskatoon. Dean is a teacher and plays in a band "Butterfinger". Shauna is a radio announcer for C-95.
Lyle Henry was born on November 24, 1945. Henry married Doreen Sylna Vandale (born October 2, 1952). They have lived in Big River most of their life. Henry works at the Dore Lake Fire Tower and does some fishing and trapping. They have four daughters.
Sonja Lynne Wilson was born on April 7, 1970. She is married to Coby Wilson (April 1, 1976). Their daughters are Raquel Rae born April 19, 1988, Back Row: Melvin. Carol. Front Row: Eleanor. Henry. Mona. Colleen.
Jordanna Paige born April 3, 1989, Alexandri Lynn born March 14, 1994, and Riane Elizabeth born November 16, 1999. They live in Big River.
Beverly Anne Dziurzynski was born on December 8, 1972, and is married to Dana Todd Dziurzynski (born July 3, 1970). They have three children Arielle Brianna born December 19, 1989, Dallon Taylor born January 27, 1992, and Wyatt Blaine born August 14, 1996. They live and farm at Stump Lake, Sask.
Michelle Lee Anne Dunn was born August 23, 1974, and is married to Clint Howard Dunn (born December 3, 1969). They have four children Ashton Ryder born May 5, 1993, Preston Harley born April 10, 1994, Jacob Bohden born May 27, 1996, and Brody James born November 8, 1999. They live in Big River, Saskatchewan.
Holly Nadine Meyers was born December 24, 1975, and is with Cole Justin Hegland (born August 26, 1973). Their children are Lynden Reid Meyers born February 26, 1994, Brooklyn Nadine Meyers born August 10, 1997, Madison Hope Meyers born March 6, 1999, and Jade McKenna Meyers born March 6, 1999. They reside in Big River also.
Colleen Sandra was born on November 21, 1950. Colleen married John Danberg (born May 25, 1947) of Canwood. Colleen is a special care aid and works at Whispering Pines Place in Canada. John works for Graham Construction Industry services as a Boiler Superintendent. They have three children. Lori Ann was born on September 13, 1970. She married Chris Hammel and they have a son Taylor born July 8, 1995, and a daughter Brie born February 5, 1998. They live in Saskatoon. Lori works as a teacher assistant and Chris works for Lewis M. Carter Manufacturing. Keith John was born on June 29, 1975. He is a welder and Terrence Stuart was born August 9, 1977, and is a sheet metal worker.
Back Row: Lori-Ann, Sonja, Grant, Pamela.
Middle Row: Terry, Keith.
Front Row: Beverly, Holly, Michelle, Dean. July 5, 1986.
Vern, Judy and Jordan.
Vernon Stanley Meyers was born on December 30, 1946, in Canwood, Saskatchewan to Joseph and Tina Meyers who resided in the Winter Lake District. We lived there until I was approximately two years old and then we moved to Salmon Arm British Columbia. for about two years. We then moved to the Lake Four District where we lived for fourteen years, Here I attended school until grade eight. I worked on the family farm for a few years and in the winter I often worked on the oil rigs in Alberta.
In 1964, Dad sold the family farm to my brother Lorne and, I left for Cookson to work on the Frank Deck farm, Farming in the summer, rigs in the winter along with several various other jobs.
I met Ferne Lajeunesse in 1964 and we were married on March 22, 1968, in Debden, Saskatchewan. We raised two children Elaine Angeline, (Kent Buckingham) born August 18, 1968, now living in the Big River area with their three children, Brad, Justin, and Alyssa. Sheila Tena, (Dal Isbister) born August 12, 1972, who now lives in Debden area with their son Braeden.
In 1968, we moved to Prince Albert where I worked in the garage during the day and attended evening classes at Carlton High School to achieve my grade ten diploma. In the fall we moved back to Debden and I went to work on the rigs in the winter. In the spring I returned to Debden and worked for Jack Couture, driving cat until October 1969. We then moved to Lannigan where I began to work for Alwinsal Potash mine. I worked underground for four years as a mechanics helper and equipment operator.
In 1973, we moved back to Big River and purchased three quarters of land one being SE 22-56-7 W3rd where we still reside. I worked between the rigs and the sawmill until 1975 when I was hired on fulltime at the Big River Sawmill. In 1985, I apprenticed for a millwright position and after four years of schooling and working, I received my millwright ticket and presently still millwright at the sawmill.
In 1994, I was divorced and later in 1995, I married Judy Neufeld (Wiens) from Swift Current, Saskatchewan. Judy has three children: Jenette (Ian Rogers) children Brooklyn and Zachery in Calgary, Alberta. Julie Neufeld and her daughter Brianna living in Quesnel, British Columbia and Jeremy (Kristine) Neufeld and their son Briedon living in Blumenort, Saskatchewan.
Judy worked as a nurse's aid for six years before leaving Swift Current. She was married for 21 years before her divorce in 1993. Judy now manages the Shell bulk fuel station in Big River. Judy and Vern are presently raising a grandchild Jordan who was born to Julie Neufeld in 1995.
Michel, Albert and family
Albert was born on July 28, 1916, and was raised on a farm in the Delaronde district. He worked on the farm and also in the logging industry in the winter. He joined the Canadian Army at the start of WWII. He saw a tour of duty in Europe where he was wounded in action.
He returned to the farm after the war, where he met Gladys Sweeney. They were married on February 26, 1946.
They raised four boys and one daughter: Louis, born on December 11, 1946; Eugene, born on December 18, 1947; Charles, born on September 12, 1950; Roy, born on August 20, 1955, and Marlene, born on September 19, 1956.
Louis married Germaine Beaulieu on February 14, 1970. They have two sons and reside in Hay River, North West Territories.
Charles married Doris Bruneau and has one son. Later Chuck divorced and married Kelly Verbonac, and they have three daughters and reside in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Kelly passed away in 2004. Roy married Carol Johnson and has four sons: Harland, born September 1984 and passed away in November of 1984; Callaghan and twins Connor and Stellman. Roy works for Weyerhaeuser in Prince Albert.
Marlene married Garry Nontell and has one son, Brent and a daughter, Tracy. They reside in Fort St. John, British Columbia.
I, (Eugene), married Wendy Wilson in July 1978. We have two daughters, Tannis and Kelli, who both graduated from Big River High School. Tannis worked as an Emergency Medical Technician in Meadow Lake where she met and married James Burton, a fellow EMY. They now reside in Regina where she is taking a teaching degree at the University of Regina and her husband is a paramedic. Kelli resides in Big River and has a son, Riley, born on August 24, 2003.
I live by myself in Big River and work for the Co-op. I enjoy my garden and outdoor sports, fishing, skiing, and hockey.
Michel, Edward and Laverne and family
Courtney, Laverne, Edward and Nicholas.
Edward was born November 29, 1960, to Tommy and Pat Michel. He was the sixth of eight children. After finishing school he went to work for highways running a grader. Next, he went to work for John Dunn in the bush. Edward always had a passion for big trucks that led him to his present job at Earl Beebe Trucking Ltd.
He met Laverne Smith, the daughter of Frank and Bertha Smith. In 1982, Laverne was employed at the Big River Pharmacy owned by Jack and Stella Hartnett. She then got a job at the town office, but she wanted to look after children. She started to babysit. She had many children over a few years. She still loves it when these kids come to visit, or just to have a little chat.
On July 20, 1985, Edward and Laverne were married. They started their married life at 503 Forbes Street. This is where their two children were born, Courtney on December 8, 1990, and Nicholas on May 9, 1993.
In 1994, they moved to their present location. Edward continues to work at Earl Beebe Trucking Ltd. as a leased operator. (June 1, 2003, he has been there for 24 years)
Laverne is a stay at home mom looking after their children. She also enjoys quilting and volunteering in town.
Courtney is in grade seven at the Big River Community High School. She wants to be an artist in the future.
Nicholas is in grade four at the T.D. Michel Community School. He enjoys telling everyone that he's named after his grandpa Tommy.) He wants to be a truck driver when he grows up.
We all enjoy living in Big River because there are so many beautiful things to enjoy.
I, Eugene was born in Prince Albert on December 18, 1947, to Albert and Gladys Michel, a younger brother for Louis. I was raised in the Big River area on a farm near Delaronde Lake along with my three brothers and one sister. I attended school in Big River and graduated in 1965. I attended the University of Saskatchewan and then taught school in Canwood and Big River. In February 1970, I left Big River for Pine Point, North West Territories. I worked there as a heavy equipment operator until 1983. I met my former wife, Wendy Wilson, while I was there. We were married on July 8, 1978, and have two daughters, Tannis born on November 8, 1979, and Kelli, born on February 23, 1983. Both girls graduated from Big River High School. Tannis is married to James Burton and lives in Regina. Kelli lives with Calvin Thiessen in Big River and they have one son, Riley. Currently, I am the assistant manager of the Big River Co-op Home Center.
Submitted by Eugene Michel
Charles Michel came from Quebec looking for work and adventured in the Big River area. He was a teacher and was hired as a school principal. He also worked as a blacksmith, freighting and hauling freight to Northern Saskatchewan.
He married Alma Tremblay in 1913. They bought land by Delaronde Lake, where the present Delaronde Resort is. They had seven children, Tom and Caroline twins, Albert and Hubert twins, Phillipe, Theresa, and Marguerite. Caroline died at birth.
Tom married Patricia Thibeault, Albert married Gladys Sweeney, Hubert married Mary McInnis, Theresa married Vincent Leslie, Marguerite married Myron Olson, and Phillipe married Pat Cloucy. Mr Charles Michel passed away in 1948. Mrs Alma Michel passed away in 1975.
Mary and Hubert Michel.
Hubert and his twin brother, Albert, were born in Big River in 1916 and lived all their lives here except for time spent in Military Service during the war. Hubert was in the air force, Albert in the Army. Their father, Charles came to Big River in 1912 from Three Rivers in Quebec and settled on a half section of land two miles from town. He was a man of many trades as he freighted and also worked in the mill. He bought a quarter section of land along Delaronde Lake and farmed and ranched there.
Charles married Alma Tremblay and they raised their family on the farm. Charles died in 1948 and Alma moved to town where she lived for many years. She died in Port Alberni, British Columbia in 1974.
Charles and Alma had six children - Thomas, twin boys, Hubert and Albert, Phillippe, Marguerte, and Therese.
Hubert moved to the farm along Delaronde Lake in 1933 and farmed and ranched there until 1948 when his father, Charles, died.
Hubert, Albert and Phillipe served in the Canadian forces, during the war. Hubert and Albert came back to settle in Big River.
Hubert worked in the Big River Mill and was the manager of the lumberyard office for several years and sold milk, door to door for seventeen cents a quart delivered. The little white milk cart and faithful horse, "Bob" were well known in town at each weekday delivery time.
Hubert married Mary McInnis in 1950. Mary was born in Landham, Saskatchewan and at the age of five years moved to Saskatoon with her parents and moved again to Meadow Lake and in 1942 to Big River. She worked at Waite Fisheries. She and Hubert had three children:
Janice (Michel) Wood - living in Big River. (See own history)
David Michel (1955 - 1991). David's wife Barb and three daughters live in Yellowknife, North West Territories.
Lorna (Michel) Lamothe - living in Big River.
Mary and Hubert are retired and live in their original home on 4th Avenue. They grow a big garden in the summer. They very much enjoy the outdoors and their trips for coffee to the local shops with friends and grandchildren. They have a pet cat "Mr Blue" that their grandsons enjoy chasing.
Michel, Thomas and Patricia (Thibeault)
Thomas and Patricia Michel were both born and raised in Big River, Saskatchewan. Tom was the eldest child of Charles and Alma (Tremblay) Michel. He had a twin sister, Caroline, but she passed away at birth. His siblings were Hubert and Albert (also twins), Philippe, Therese and Marguerite.
Pat was the eldest daughter of Mike and Ella (Schofield) Thibeault. Her older siblings were: John, Henry (Bud), Harry, and Robert (Bob). Her younger siblings were: Ken, Doris, Edna (Tillie), George, Norman, Elizabeth (Tootsie), and the twins Ronald (Riley) and Margaret (Peggy). John was killed in Italy serving in the Second World War.
Pat's first job was working in Big River for Mr and Mrs Paul St.Arnaud doing housework. They resided in the upstairs portion of what was then called 0. P. Godin's General Store. She cooked for Coleman and Joseph at a logging camp at Dore Lake. Her next job was working at the Michel family farm for Alma Michel. She then moved back to Big River to work at the 0. R Godin General Store until her marriage to Tom.
Tom graduated high school at the age of sixteen. He then went to Yellowknife in the North West Territories where he mined for gold. He returned to Big River to work on the family farm with his father and brothers.
Tom and Pat were married on November 28, 1950, in Big River, Saskatchewan. They resided on the Michel family homestead at the southwest side of Delaronde Lake, now known as Delaronde Resort.
Tom and Pat raised eight children: Simone, Jeanette, Daniel, Susanne, Rene, Edward, Norman and Charla.
Rene was killed in an automobile accident on February 10, 1979. He was nineteen years old.
Tom and Pat farmed and Tom ran a sawmill for several years selling lumber to many farmers. Over the years the farm turned into a tourist camp, which they operated for approximately twenty-five years, selling in 1980. At this point, they moved to an acreage, two miles north of Big River. They also ran the Big River Laundromat from 1977 to 1985. Tom served many years on the local and unit school boards. He received a plaque for twenty-five years of service. The Big River Elementary School was named in his honour. Tom passed away on September 28, 1982. Pat stayed on the acreage until 1999 when she moved to Big River. She now resides at 115 - 6th Avenue North.
Pat enjoys sewing, crafting and sold Artex (Liquid Embroidery) for several years. She also boards and roomed school children from the North for many years.
Pat remarried in 1992 to Roland Hanson. Roland passed away on October 2, 2002.
Frank Michie arrived in Big River in the early thirties and spent fourteen years teaching school here. He enjoyed many hikes in the woods with his friends Alex Afanasieff, Joe Oldham, Joe Sixsmith, John Corston and Robert Jones. Coming from the prairie, the lakes had a great attraction for Mr Michie and he spent many pleasurable days out boating or sailing. In the winter, the young folks went snow-shoeing up the lakes and through the woods. The outdoor recreation was great!
Mr Michie spent a week at a fish camp operated by Chris Wopnford and learned a lot about summer fishing on a commercial scale. He was also a member of the Gloomchasers Club - a club organized to "chase the gloom" from a rather isolated existence. Some members included Len and Martha Waite, Joe and Rena Sixsmith, Bill and Grace Gould, and Ivery and Mary Newton. One of the activities of the club was staging farce comedies once or twice a year. The plays were always in the school and were well attended. In those days there were no TV's, few radios, no movies, and a train out maybe twice a week, so an amateur play was something to go out and enjoy. Some of the plays put on were "Mummy and The Mumps", "The Meddlesome Maid", "Poor Married Man", and "Looks Like Rain". The money raised from these endeavours was used to buy supplies for the school. Sometimes the Gloomchasers would have a party and occasionally a boat ride or a picnic.
Mr Michie acted as Secretary for the B.P.O.E. lodge for awhile. At this time the Elks maintained the town skating rink. With the cooperation of Dick Bell, the C.N.R. water tower engineer, the rink was flooded by using the tender of the locomotive from the train. Mr Michie looked forward to the weekly dances. Big River had its own orchestra, Mrs Newton or Mrs Bouchard played the piano, Howard Darbyshire on the saxophone, and sometimes Amidi Chamberland played the drums and Mrs Dolmage played the violin. The dances were held in the school, in the pool hall, or out in Anderson's mill. Sometimes a team of horses would be borrowed and everyone would go to Ladder Valley. The dances were a pleasant reminder of Big River for Mr Michie.
Mr James Forbes' home at the Post Office was like a second home for Frank. He spent many happy evenings there with Mr Forbes, Fred Buckley, Joe Sixsmith, Alex Afanasieff, Joe Oldham, and the current student minister of the United Church. Some Sunday nights they would go over to Fred Buckley's two-room home and enjoy an evening of radio, listening to Jack Benny, Fred Allen, or Fibber McGee and Molly.
Mr Michie's hobby was photography and it occupied much of his spare time. He operated a darkroom in a shack with no heat, no electricity, and no running water. Later he moved to Mrs Adair's basement where it was warm and by that time Clem Otte had his steam engine going so he had electricity. The power went off at twelve, so if there was a dance at the school and they wanted the lights on they had to dash down to the steam engine and throw more slabs of wood on the fire. They did not complain, as it was much better than pumping up the old gas lanterns. Frank Michie went to university in 1939-40 and by 1942 he was living in Ontario, in the air force, and married. He did not serve overseas and after the war, he taught in Watford, Ontario, until his retirement. His wife's name was Violet and they had two children, Douglas and Frances.
Frances died of cystic fibrosis at the age of thirteen. Frank passed away in 1985 at the age of seventy-six.