Warriner, Talia Sarah Dawn
Talia and Tom, 2003.
Tal was born July 12, 1983, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and named Talia Sarah Dawn by her parents, Tammy Magrath and Rob Warriner. Her mother, Tammy, is a teacher in Big River. Her father, Rob, is the Maintenance Foreman for the Town of Big River. Talia has one brother, Thomas. She moved to Big River when she was five and got her kindergarten to grade twelve education here. Talia was involved in many things, but her passion was sports.
After graduating in June 2001, Talia began University in Saskatoon. Currently, she is in her third year at the University of Saskatchewan. Talia plans to become a high school math teacher. Talia works part-time on campus and always returns to Big River from May-August to work and to spend time with her boyfriend, Cole Pister. (Son of Marlow and Judy (Gunderson) Pister).
Warriner, Thomas and Barbara
Submitted by John Warriner
Barbara and Tom.
Thomas Alfred Jennings was born on June 2, 1912, in Yorkshire, England to George and Eleanor Warriner. He grew up and went to school in Kirbymoorside.
Barbara Kate was born on September 5, 1922, in Northampton, England. She led a relatively sheltered life as the daughter of a Northampton City Police Constable.
Dad immigrated to Canada in 1927, at the age of 14 and settled in the Tantallon district of South Eastern Saskatchewan. Together with his parents and sisters, Alice and Connie, they farmed in that district for a few years.
In 1935, they moved to Big River area, to the Tremblay farm on Ladder Lake until they had completed building their home on their property. They farmed this land until Grampa Warriner died in August 1939. Dad joined the Saskatoon Light Infantry in September of 1939, after the crop was taken off.
Dad was stationed in Northampton England where he met mom (over a garden fence) and they were married on January 5, 1941. Two of their children were born in England, Judy on June 15, 1942, and Linda on April 24, 1945.
It was not until the spring of 1945 that he was finally sent home. He arrived home just before the European Armistice and along with Eddie Ziegler, the only other returned veteran, he was paraded around the streets of Big River. Now, Dad set about getting mom and the girls to Canada. This would take about nine months.
He rented a house on Ladder Lake just south of town. This was the Hendrickson's farm. He also took out a homestead on the quarter section adjacent and just south of Granny's homestead. He bought the Snell quarter adjoining and east of his homestead. Later he was able to lease the quarter north of this property. He now had a three-quarter-section block but almost all required clearing.
Mom and the girls arrived in January 1946. Dad used his army pension to buy a new case tractor and he set about to establish his farm. As none of the quarters had buildings on them, they remained on the Hendrickson's property and dad had to commute to work on the farm. Under the homestead conditions, he had broken a T shaped field on the homestead quarter. He now set out to raise a crop on this quarter. Although he bought the tractor, he didn't have the proper equipment, so most of the farming was done with horses.
Dad was used to this, but mom being a city girl, learning the hardships of farming in Northern Saskatchewan was not easy. She found the lifestyle very difficult but was willing to go the extra mile, to make it work.
On October 23, 1946, John was born in Prince Albert and they also found out that they had to move again, so they rented the Stockland residence about 72 miles south of Big River.
Susan was born on June 19, 1948, in Prince Albert. That year, a fire that was deliberately set, forcing them to move again. Connie and Walter had decided to move back to Tantallon, and Granny was living on their property, so Granny's farm was vacant. Mom and Dad moved their family into this house. This stopped the need to commute to the farm and although small and cold, this was their home for the next few years.
Also around this time, Dad purchased a red Hereford Cow from the Heiberts. This cow would form the backbone of his milk cows for the rest of his farming career. Milking cows and shipping cream was the cash income for most of the next few years. However, moving 5 miles west of town presented a problem. With terrible road conditions, getting two small children to school daily posed a problem. This problem was solved with the help of the neighbours. Judy and Linda would ride to school with the Heiberts and this started a friendship that lasted for years.
On April 4, 1950, Donna was born. During this time dad arranged to break 25 acres on the Snell quarter. This was a willowed area that had burned out a few years earlier. Breaking was relatively easy; however, willow roots are very difficult to pick. They tend to grow in long strings and can be back-breaking work. Anyway, this was all done and they now have approximately 50 acres broke.
The tarpaper shack that they lived in did not provide a healthy environment for the children. Mom had to deal with all the childhood maladies, measles, mumps, chickenpox and flu. Also, the fear of the polio epidemic that arrived in Big River at this time. However, this epidemic missed us and the worst she had to deal with was whooping cough. This horrible sickness caused the kids to have fits of coughing where they were unable to draw breath in. Sometimes they were turning blue. I still have visions of her desperation and helplessness as she dangled infants by their ankles and then thrust them into the snow to shock them into drawing air into their lungs. Even through all of this, no one had any serious lasting effects.
David was born on April 14, 1951. That year with John starting school, dad bought an old truck to convert into a horse cart. After driving the truck on the farm for a few months, he converted it to the cart by using the back wheels and wooden box from it. Although Judy was only in grade 5, she began driving it to school every day. The times that we lived in demanded that the kids assume responsibility much younger than we would dream of today. Old Bill was a gentle gelding and very soon knew the route to and from town.
On June 16, 1952, Kathy was born. The three-room shack was becoming too small and Mom and dad began to make plans to build a bigger house. The site they chose was the Snell quarter so dad opened a road through to it. He also opened another 25 acres on the quarter that he leased. He now had 75 acres to farm, however, he had converted his equipment so he could farm with the tractor and the horses were only used for small jobs and transportation. He did, however, have a big job for them coming up.
When Peggy was born on July 17, 1953, and nanny agreed to a visit, the need for a new home increased. He began cutting logs for lumber for the new house. With the horses, he skidded the logs, then hauled them on a sleigh to the field behind Granny's house. He then loaded them again and then hauled them to Sundby's sawmill to be sawn. In the spring with the help of John and Bill Heibert, they began to build the house. It was a two-story house that was to have bedrooms upstairs; however, events would never allow it to be finished. When Nanny arrived the house still did not have the door installed. The first days we lived in the house a horse blanket was used to cover the door.
By 1954, dad had built his cattle herd to approx. 50 head, but in that year Bangs Disease destroyed most of his herd. He had also experienced two years of crop failure due to hail. With the loss of the weekly cream cheese, there was no cash income. It became necessary for dad to find work to support the family. So in 1955, Dad took work with Waite Fisheries. It was intended to be temporary during the fishing season, but after the season, Len Waite asked Dad to stay. It would become a career. Norman was born on Feb 13, 1955.
During the next few years, life on the farm was uneventful. Dad worked at Waites and with the help of mom and the older children, operated the farm. The cattle herd began to grow again but safety rules regarding shipping cream had become more rigid, so there was no possibility of getting the cream cheque again. He did manage to get the LID to build the last mile of road to the farm. He also opened another 25 acres on the lease. This brought a total of over 100 acres that now required farming.
Nova was born on July 17, 1957, and a year to the day Robbie came along.
In 1959, the West Cowan District was formed. This move authorized a school bus for the people in that district. Mom had been appointed councillor, along with John Heibert and Ralph Lueken. They met to go over the applications and select a successful candidate. They selected Jack Betchel, and within a week he had purchased a van and became our school bus driver. So in the spring of 1960, horses were no longer needed for school.
Also in the spring of 1960, Waites approached Dad to relocate to Buffalo Narrows to become foreman in the filleting plant there. The offer was too good to refuse, but it presented a problem, as mom was not prepared to remain on the farm with the kids without power, water or telephone. As dad didn't feel Buffalo Narrows was a good place to raise a family, they decided that we should move to town. Dad approached Len Waite, and to solve the problem, Len purchased the old missionary hall. This was converted to a home and Dad rented it for a minimal amount. In October of 1960, we moved from the farm.
Alan was born on May 12, 1962, and granny passed away in 1967 and Olive came to live with us. In 1967, they bought two lots on Mill Avenue just west of the elevators. Here they put an old DNR building and refurbished it and this became their home for the rest of their lives. Mom became active in the community after moving to town. She became the first Librarian, sat on the Housing Authority and was very active in the War Brides Association. Dad was also a part of the communities fund-raising as he made many a mile selling the hockey board every week.
It was around this time the grandchildren came into the picture and they were all a very important part in their lives. On January 5, 1991, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and many family and friends ventured out in the cold night to attend. Then in August, we carried on with the anniversary and also a Warriner get together for people that could not attend.
Back Row: Nova. Peggy, Kathy, Donna, Susan, Linda, Judy.
Front Row: Alan, Rob, Norman, David, John.
Shortly after this Mom passed away on September 14, 1991. Dad carried on, although living alone, he insisted on holding the normal special day event at his house. His garden was the source of fresh vegetables for anyone who wanted some. He was not alone - he still had his family and his last little child Mitzi to look after.
In 1996, he was diagnosed with cancer. He discussed his options with doctors and concluded that treating it was not the thing to do. He carried on normally until January 2001. He was then hospitalized and passed away on January 15, 2001.
What was Mom and Dad's legacy? They have shown us that families can stay together, even through the most difficult time. Since January 1946, their seed has spread. As generations are born away from Big River, and Big River becomes just another dot on the map to those children, a root core remains, calling us back to our hometown.
Tom was born March 3, 1986, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and named Thomas Robert Warriner by his parents, Tammy Magrath and Rob Warriner. Although divorced, his parents are both living and working in Big River. Tammy Morin is a teacher and Rob is employed by the Town of Big River. Tom has one older sister, Talia. Tom was only two when his family moved to Big River. Tom finished kindergarten to grade twelve in Big River and was very active in sports. Tom worked at the Big River Co-op Gas Bar during his grade eleven and twelve years.
After graduating in June 2003, Thomas enrolled in Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. After working at the Big River Esso for the summer, he moved to Saskatoon at the age of seventeen. Currently, Tom is attending first Year University and working part-time on campus. He plans to become an electrical engineer, but may also be interested in a career with the RCMP someday. Tom's career choices are not definite at this time.
Back Row: Wade, Frank, Roseanne, Janice, Pat, Lorraine, Paul.
Middle Row: Joe, Roseanne, Jane. Front Row: Jayson and Jeff.
I, Rose Anne Watier, was born in Marcelin Saskatchewan in 1924. My family and I moved to Mattes, Saskatchewan in 1926.
Dad took a homestead there where we would live until all nine of us had grown up. While in Mattes, we attended Winslow Lake School.
The first time I came to Big River I was about sixteen or seventeen. I came by train with my father looking for work. He got a job at the south end of Stoney Lake at a sawmill, which I think was Anderson's mill. Since I couldn't find a job, I had to return home to Mattes. However, I did get to stay the night at the hotel, which is the present-day Rex Cafe. I caught the train the next morning for Mattes.
The next time I came looking for work here was in 1950 or 1951. I got a job as a cookie (as a cook's helper was called in those days) at the Eikel and Lomsnes logging camp near the south end of Smooth Stone Lake. I've made Big River my home ever since then, even though we moved all over the country. We always had a place to come back to.
I eventually married Joseph Watier, eldest son of Mary Fournier and Edward Watier. Joe was also born in Marcelin in 1917. We settled on our farm south of Big River in 1963, which is Sec 25-54-7-W 3rd. The people who lived on this farm before we were Maurice Peterson and Mr.and Mrs Schuler who later returned it to Mr Peterson. He then willed the property to the Salvation Army. We purchased the section from them. We also purchased, an adjacent quarter SE 24-54-7-W3rd that now belongs to my son, Wade. This was the original home of Mr Peterson. I was told he was so taken with our present location on Winter Lake that he bought and moved here after finding this spot on horseback.
Together, Joe and I raised six children here, Paul, Janice, Jane, Roseanne, Wade, and Patricia. Joe passed away in 1992. I still live on the same farm, surrounded by my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Webb, Archie and Christina (Davidson)
Archie and Rachel.
This is the written history of Vi Kindiak nee Webb and her family, as she remembers, experienced and documented through the years of her life to the present day. This historical writing begins with her parents Archie Webb and Christina Webb nee Davidson as follows.
Archie was born on March 9, 1896, and was raised by his parents as a child in the Vancouver area of British Columbia. He first began working at the very early age of thirteen years since times were difficult in the early pioneer days in this great country of Canada. Archie left the Vancouver area at this early age to seek adventure and work as a young teen. He gradually worked his way eastward during his teen and young adulthood years, crossing both British Columbia and Alberta, and onward into central Saskatchewan.
Archie then worked his way further north to the community of Big River, Saskatchewan and then eastward to the Rapid Bend area near the west boundary of the Prince Albert National Park. It was here that Archie decided to make his home and settled as a homesteader and trapper on the NE 12-56-6-W3rd adjacent to the park boundary. His first home was a log cabin that contained a dirt floor. Archie's source of income came from trapping in the wintertime and from other various odd jobs in the area.
Shortly after establishing himself at the new homestead, Archie obtained a summer employment job with a contractor, constructing a highway bridge over the North Saskatchewan River at Prince Albert. It was here that he first met Christina Davidson, who was travelling with her parents, driving cattle from their previous Blaine Lake homestead, heading on to a new homestead in the Rapid Bend area.
Christina Davidson was born on August 5, 1911, and was raised by her parents at Blaine Lake, before moving to their new homestead in the Rapid Bend area. Christina's parents were David Davidson and Rachel Davidson (nee Miller).
Christina's mother, Rachel had been born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1876. It is not known just when or where her father was born. Both of her parents were married in Scotland and had two children named Betsey (daughter) and Alexander (son) before coming to Canada. The family first came to Canada as immigrants arriving in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1905. From here, they had proceeded westward to a homestead in the Blaine Lake area of
In addition to Christina, the parents had two more daughters at the Blaine Lake homestead. They were named Jessie and Davena. The family then moved to the Rapid Bend area and this is where Christina dated Archie.
After their meeting during Davidson's cattle drive, Archie courted Christina at her parent's new homestead in the Rapid Bend area and then he married her in 1934. They both lived on his homestead next to the Park and raised a family of eight children. The earlier children attended the Rapid Bend school. The main income and food sources to support the family came from Archie's trapping, mixed farming, occasional employment and the hunting of wild game. Archie would bring home fish as a supplement to the venison and mixed farm products. Both Archie and Christina worked hard as pioneers on the homestead raising sheep, cattle, pigs, horses, poultry, etc. as others in the area were doing at the time.
Back Row: Alex, Jesse Gail, Archie, David. Front Row: Blanche, Christina, Rachel.
Occasionally, Archie forgot about the location of the National Park boundary and would wander into the Park during trapping and hunting ventures. On one of these occasions, as gossiped around Rapid Bend and Big River, it was said that Archie had to spend a night hiding in a beaver house that was located on the Sturgeon River (Park Boundary) since Park Wardens were scouring the vicinity looking for poachers. Archie, however, never did get into trouble with the Park Wardens and the Webb family always managed to have ample venison on the table.
When not farming, hunting or trapping, Archie would work at other odd jobs for additional income. In the wintertime, he would work for Waite Fisheries in Big River, catching fish at Delaronde Lake for the fishery and himself. Other times, he would work for logging contractors or companies in the area.
Archie and Christina obtained their mail and did their shopping for groceries and other necessities in Big River. The family had to travel by horse and wagon in the summer, a total distance of 40 miles round trip from their homestead to Big River. In the wintertime, due to heavy snow conditions, the summer travel route would be abandoned and alternative winter logging roads were chosen for travelling via Deloronde Lake.
In 1955, disaster struck the Webb homestead. The farmhouse caught fire and burned to the ground. Thankfully, the family all survived the fire with no one being injured. As a result of the fire, the family temporarily relocated to the Alex Davidson (Christina's brother) homestead, also located in the Rapid Bend area. The Webb family lived there for about three weeks enjoying Davidson's never-ending hospitality. They relocated to Big River moving into a house that they purchased. In 1957, Archie passed away leaving Christina as a surviving spouse with eight children. The family continued living in Big River following Archie's death with the children going to the Big River School. Earlier schooling had been in the Rapid Bend School.
As the years passed on, Christina with only one remaining child (Donna) at home, decided to move to Cache Creek, British Columbia to work and live there. Christina continued living there after her daughter left to be on her own. A few years later in Cache Creek, Christina met her next husband, Edward Dale, a widower in Enderby, British Columbia. She married him in 1972 in Enderby and resided there until his passing in about 1983.
Following her second husband's death, Christina moved to Canal Flats, British Columbia in 1985 to live near her son, Roy Webb. After living there for several years, she moved to the Lake View Manor (a senior's apartment dwelling) in Invermere, British Columbia where she lived until her passing on October 25, 2000.
Vi Kindiak (nee Webb - daughter) was born on March 18, 1941, in the home of my parent's homestead located by the Prince Albert National Park in the Rapid Bend area. My father, Archie, delivered me into this world. I enjoyed every year of the time that I was raised on the homestead since the homestead and the surrounding area contained beautiful pine, spruce and poplar forests. The scenic Sturgeon River and valley lie on the southwest boundary. My father had cleared several acres of forestland to provide some cultivated land for sowing grain and pastureland for the farm livestock.
I remember to this day, the one-room Rapid Bend School and the 11 miles (round trip) daily horse and a buggy trip to and from the school.
I remember, with pride, the school track meet and sports events that I attended at the school grounds, returning home with ribbons of the several events that I won.
I remember enjoying all the socializing that went on with the neighbouring farmer families during the sporting events.
I remember enjoying the entire picnics and berry picking on and about the homestead and especially eating the canned wild strawberries during Christmas time. Most of all, I especially remember the homemade ice cream that was made on the spot and given out at these special sports events at the school (m-m-m good).
My schooling continued in Big River following the closure of the Rapid Bend School due to lack of teacher interest. The students were bused to the Big River School. We moved to Big River following the farmhouse fire on the homestead.
After completing my schooling, I left Big River with my best friend, LaVern Nicholson to venture out into the workforce. We travelled and worked in various places within Saskatchewan and Alberta.
It was in Alberta that I met my present husband, Paul Kindiak, who was employed with an engineering firm. We got married on May 18, 1968, in Edmonton, Alberta. After residing in Edmonton and Spruce Grove over a period of six years, we moved with our two daughters Cindy and Laurie to our new home in Edson, Alberta where we presently reside. Cindy has since grown up and married Hank Fisher. Today, they have two daughters; Michelle and Stephanie are still going to school. Laurie has no children.
Back Row: Howard, Archie, Roy, Christina, Vi, Robert, Harold.
Front Row: Donna, Ray and Hazel.
History of the Other Seven
Son Harold was born on July 8, 1935. Harold was raised on the Webb homestead and attended the Rapid School. He went to work in a logging camp after leaving school at the age of 15. He also worked on heavy machinery for a time. Harold met and married Adeff Fouquette in Shellbrook, Saskatchewan. They had two children named Donna (daughter) and Archie (son). Harold, Adeff and their son, Archie, are now deceased. Donna, at the age of 28, is now residing in North Battleford with her daughter, McKenzie.
Son Howard was born on October 9, 1937. Howard was raised on the Webb homestead and attended the Rapid Bend School. He left school at a very early age to work in the Saskatchewan workforce. He was later accidentally killed on December 14, 1963, while operating a cat in northern British Columbia.
Son Robert was born on August 25, 1939. Robert was raised on the Webb homestead and attended the Rapid Bend School. He left school at a very early age to work in Saskatchewan. He married Margaret McEwen. They both worked as hairdressers. They have three daughters and one son. Bob and Margaret presently live in West Lock, Alberta.
Son Roy was born on January 29, 1943. Roy was raised on the Webb homestead and attended the Rapid Bend School and the School in Big River, Saskatchewan. He left school to work in Saskatchewan. He later met and married Lynn Smith of Debden, Sask. and has since been residing in Canal Flats, British Columbia. They have three children named Coralie (daughter), Donovan and Vance (both sons). Coralie and Donovan are presently living and working in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Vance is presently living and working in St. Albert, Alberta.
Daughter Hazel was born on January 15, 1945. She was raised on the Webb homestead and attended the Rapid Bend School and the School in Big River Saskatchewan. She left school to work in British Columbia where she met and married Dave Corley. They both resided in Cache Creek, British Columbia. They had no children. Dave predeceased Hazel several years before her passing on December 23, 1999.
Son Ray was born on September 15, 1947. He was raised on the Webb homestead and attended the Rapid Bend School and the School in Big River, Saskatchewan. He left school to work in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. He married Phyllis Schlichemeyer in Saskatchewan. They had three sons named Howard, Paul and Kelly, all of which are presently residing in the Saskatoon area. Ray was killed in a snowmobile accident in Holbein, Saskatchewan on December 24, 1978. Phyllis lived, as a widower, in Rosetown, Saskatchewan until she passed away on January 5, 2003.
Daughter Donna was born on April 4, 1950. She was raised on the Webb homestead and attended the school in Big River Saskatchewan. She left school to work in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. She met and married Bob Weipert in British Columbia.
They have two daughters named Christina and Lisa, and a son named Robert. These children are now grown-up adults living in the Pouce Coupe area of British Columbia. Donna and Bob are presently divorced and Donna is living with her younger daughter, Lisa, in Pouce Coupe.
Standing: Karen, Marilyn, Lorraine, Maureen.
Seated: Viola and Carmen.
Carman Robert Weir moved to Big River in 1965 to take over the Imperial Oil Agency, which he bought from Gordon Geitz. With him, he brought his wife, Viola Lenora (nee Hayes), and daughters Karen, Lorraine, Marilyn and Maureen. Carman spent many long hours working at the garage seven days a week. Viola did the books and his girls helped out pumping gas. Over the years, some of his employees were Ray Webb, Ralph Morin, Lloyd Gerow, Monty Thompson, Eddie Hoehn, Roy Flint, Wendy Wilson, Barry Wilson, and Richard Hannam.
The family soon made many friends and became very active in the community. Carman joined the Elks and was an active member of the remainder of his life. Viola did the books for the United Church. She curled and joined the Royal Purple. Carman was also a town councillor from November 1966 to October 1974 and was Mayor from November 1978 to October 1982. Lorraine, Marilyn and Maureen went to school in Big River.
In 1980, Carman retired from Imperial Oil to look after Viola who was sick. Viola was in the hospital for some time and was one of the first residents in the new nursing home (Lakewood Lodge). In 1989, Viola passed away at 67 years of age. Carman later married Helen Reed. They moved to the Reed farm, north of town, where Carman enjoyed growing a huge garden. He also enjoyed ice fishing. During this time, Carman was treasurer of the Elks' club and loved helping at Bingo and all Elk functions. Carman passed away on January 3, 2000, at the age of 75 years. Carman and Viola are both buried at the Big River cemetery.
Karen moved to Big River in 1969 after finishing high school and working in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. She married Frank Goodwin (son of Leo and Edna Goodwin) and they have two children, Kevin and Lisa. Karen and Frank lived in Big River from 1969 to 1973, and then moved to Faro, Yukon and then to Prince Albert. They returned to Big River from 1976-96. During that time, she was active in Kinettes, curling, golfing, and doing books for the Catholic Church and treasurer for the Recreation Board. She worked two part-time sessions at the DTRR and part-time at the town office. She then worked for Dr.'s K. and S. Shukla for eighteen years. Frank, over the years, worked at Big River Esso and Paquette's in Debden. He then worked for Cogema Resources for twenty-eight years. He now works for Sakitawak, a contractor to Cogema. While in Big River, they farmed and raised pigs, chickens and turkeys. Leo Goodwin, Frank's dad also lived with them for a few years. Karen and Frank now live in Mossbank, Saskatchewan where they grain farm. Frank has a shop for his car hobby. They try to visit Big River two or three times a year to visit family and best friends, Deanna Dunn and Martin and Brenda Hanson.
Kevin Goodwin attended school in Big River and played hockey. He then attended school in Prince Albert and took welding. He then moved to Faro, Yukon where he worked and received his journeyman in welding. He worked in Saskatoon then moved to Red Deer, Alberta where he is employed at Wel-Can.
Lisa Goodwin was born and went to school in Big River. She figure-skated played ball and volleyball. She then attended Robertson's College in Saskatoon. She worked in a Doctor's office there. She then married Dale Nagel and moved to Mossbank, Saskatchewan, where they have a grain farm and run a "farm and auto" business. They have two children, Shaylene and Jesse. Lisa is active in Kinettes, curling, golf, and bowling.
Lorraine Weir went to High School in Big River and was very busy with sports and school activities. She moved to Saskatoon where she took a Certified Nurses' Assistant course. She worked in Prince Albert at the Holy Family Hospital. She married Paul Watier (son of Joe and Roseanne Watier) from Big River, so returned to live there. They have two children Jeffrey and Jayson. She worked for Dr Eaton and Dr Young and then became employed at the CIBC where she worked for twenty-three years. Today, Lorraine is married to Gordon Selkirk and they both teach school at Descharme Lake, Saskatchewan. They still maintain their home in Big River. Lorraine was very active over the years in Big River with curling, golfing, the United Church and the Kinette Club.
Jeffrey Watier was born in Big River and attended school there. He played ball and hockey. He worked for Ron Miller where he apprenticed in Motor Mechanics. He worked for SERM and is now employed by Weyerhaeuser Canada at the Big River Mill. He was a member of the Kinsmen Club, the Elks and the Big River Fire Department/First Responders. He married Lisa Dreaver and they have three children, Kelsey, Tori and Taya.
Jayson Watier was born and raised in Big River where he went to school. He played ball and hockey. He then attended the University of Saskatchewan for a year. He worked for Len's Gas Bar and now works for Weyerhaeuser Canada at the Big River Mill. He has a son, Austen. He is now with Bonnie McKenzie (nee Neufeld). Jayson is a member of the Kinsmen, the Elks and is a volunteer for the Big River Fire Department/First Responders. He played for the Big River Braves hockey team for several years. He is the director of the new Community Hall project and the Ness Creek Cultural Society.
Marilyn Weir took all her High School in Big River. She then went to the University of Saskatchewan for one year then took nurses' training in Saskatoon. She worked for a year at the Meadow Lake Hospital and then moved back to Big River to work at the Big River Union Hospital in 1973 where she is presently employed. In 1980, she married Peter Lamothe (son of Marcel and 'Betty' Pauline Lamothe) and they have three children, Jerelyn, Logan and Nathan. They live in Bodmin where they farm. Peter worked in the mines in Manitoba for a few years, then for the Department of Highways, then for Max Wilson trucking. He now works for Weyerhaeuser Canada at the Big River Mill where he is a millwright.
Jerelyn Lamothe attended school in Big River and was active in figure skating and broomball. She worked for Third and Main for several years after school and weekends than for two years full-time. She is just completing the first year of a Nursing Degree.
Logan Lamothe attended school in Big River and was active in cubs, ball, lacrosse and broomball. He is planning to attend the University of Saskatchewan this fall to begin studies towards an Engineering Degree.
Nathan Lamothe is currently attending the Big River High School. He has been active in cubs, ball, broomball and lacrosse. He took Taekwondo for several years.
Maureen Weir attended school in Big River grades seven-twelve. She attended Business College in Prince Albert. Shortly after, she married Scott Reed and moved to Pine Point, North West Territories. Scott and Maureen returned to Big River where she worked for Dr Sanderson and then for Dr Shukla's. Later she went to work for the CIBC and remains there today. She also was treasurer of the Rodeo Association and was an avid curler and golfer. They have two children Erin and Brett.
Scott Reed was born and raised in Big River (parents were Oscar and Helen Reed). He worked in the bush for Andy Lomsnes for several years and now works for Weyerhaeuser Canada. He is very active with his horses, roping, fishing, quading and skidooing.
Erin Reed was born and raised in Big River. She played ball and took, then taught figure skating. She worked at the Esso. She moved to Red Deer, Alberta where she took her Class 1 A driving license. She moved back to Big River and is now employed with Weyerhaeuser Canada at the Big River Mill.
Brett Reed was born and raised in Big River, Sask. He was very active in ball and hockey for many years. He played AA Hockey with Shellbrook and received a Silver medal at the Saskatchewan Winter Games. After high school, he worked at Len's Gas Bar and is now employed with Weyerhaeuser Canada at the Big River Mill.
Back Row: Lance. Aaron.
Front Row: Mervin. Melanie, Erin and Patti.
Mery and Patti Weiss moved to Big River in July of 1972. Recently graduated from the University of Saskatchewan, Mery had accepted a job as a High School Mathematics teacher. The principal was Andy Labach. It was a young, out-going and active staff at the school, and teachers and spouses quickly became good life-long friends. It was also an active social group. I remember the fishing trips to Little Amyot Lake, to Tie Lake through Panter's pasture, and to the wooden bridge at Michel's. Eddie Krienke was the leader on these forays, as he was in many other social outings. I remember the snowmobiling, the ice-fishing, the curling, the Norlander Winter Festival in the old Elks Hall, Grey-Cup parties, shuffleboard tournaments in Krienke's basement, grouse hunting, wilderness canoe trips into Prince Albert National Park, Neil and Joanne's wedding in 1975 in Wakaw-the seventies were a great time for us.
I taught for six years, resigning my position in June of 1978. The most rewarding aspect of my short teaching career was getting to know the students-wonderful young people, not much younger than I was. They quickly became adults and Patti and I were always excited to meet them in later years. I can still picture many of them as students Ron Gilbert, Arlene Bradley, Chuck Morin, Cliff Gerow, Ray Emde, Wayne Dunn, Dan Scriven, Brad Becker, Leah Colby, Nova Warriner, Rob (Ace) Warriner, Leonard Klyne-just to name a few. Highlights would have to include the first wilderness canoe trip into Prince Albert National Park. It is part of Big River High School history and you can read Darlene Emde's diary of this trip. Another highlight would be the affable camaraderie we enjoyed as a staff. I thoroughly enjoyed my years as a teacher, but in 1978 I felt an urge to try my hand at business. George Ritchie, the Physical Education teacher at BRHS, had resigned a year earlier to start a Construction business. In 1976, I worked closely with George building our new home, and this, no doubt, stirred my life-long interest in construction. See the separate story on Nor-Sask Builders Supplies Ltd.
Meanwhile, Patti had begun working at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in the fall of 1973. Bert Ilsley hired her. We lived the first year in the Parkland Teacherage Apartment across from the High School. Then we moved to a small two-storey house on Fourth Avenue South that was also a teacherage owned by Parkland School District. We lived there until 1976 when we learned that we had begun our own family. Erin was born in Prince Albert on Easter Saturday morning, April 17, 1976. On that very day, the basement was dug for our new home at 121 Fourth Avenue South. We moved into our new home with our new little family in August of 1976 and lived there until we moved to Sylvan Lake, Alberta in July of 2001.
Melanie came along in Big River on the afternoon of September 27, 1979. I was at the lumberyard that afternoon. First Dr Shukla phoned me to announce the birth. Then Norrie Pederson phoned, and finally, Jack deVlaming phoned to congratulate me. I thought to myself that I had better get up to the hospital. I remember Eloise Kazmiruk bringing me the new baby to hold. The years seemed to fly by in a blur after that. The family was growing. The business was growing. Life was great. We lived twenty-nine wonderful years in Big River. We have many fond memories of good times with our many friends and their families.
We lived life through our business. Patti, Erin and Melanie will remember making many deliveries together in the evenings and weekends. In this way, we got to meet a lot of people in their homes out in the country or out-of-the-way places. If Nor-Sask had a delivery to Dore Lake, for example, we would arrange to go on a Saturday afternoon, make the delivery, and then rent a cabin at Tower Beach Lodge from Glen and Opal Swedberg. It was a good time to visit with Len and Vivian Zinovich and family in their second home at Tower Beach. Patti and I, along with Erin and Melanie, made many trips together to buying shows and conventions in Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Toronto.
Through the nineties, I did a lot of travelling as a director and then President of the Western Retail Lumber Association. Patti always accompanied me. Travel and holidays are a big part of our many family memories. As a family, we have visited Florida, the Carribean, California, Mexico, Hawaii, and Great Britain, returning several times to our favourite sunspots. Probably our most memorable trips were to Australia and Africa.
My years in Big River allowed me to serve on Town Council, the Economic Development Committee, the Chamber of Commerce, the Trade Show Committee, the Hospital Board, the construction committees of the new Arena and the new Health Center. I was also a member of the Elks Club, the Curling Club, and coached curling and softball. I accompanied, Erin's grade 11 canoe trip on the Churchill River from Missinipe (Otter Rapids) to Nistowiak Falls and Stanley Mission, and Melanie's grade 8 canoe trip from Osmisk Lake through Peyasiw Lake to Top Lake.
My years in Big River allowed me to experience Saskatchewan's wonderful far-north country-still truly an unknown and un-appreciated natural wilderness. The influences of living twenty-nine years in Big River will always be a part of who we are. In July of 2003, Patti and I moved back to Saskatchewan, locating in Saskatoon, the home of both daughters. Erin married Aaron Scrobe of Dysart, Saskatchewan, in August 2000. She works for Federated Co-Op Ltd. Melanie married Lance Gunderson of Big River in June 2002. She works for SARC-Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Councils.
Whitrow, Ralph and family
Leeta and I moved to Big River in the winter of 1949. Leeta was born in Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island in 1926, and I was born in Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan in 1924. Previous to our marriage in October 1949, we had both attended Alberta Bible College in Calgary, Alberta.
The first year had its problems. Our home was a little cottage on Ladder Lake. The pile of logs I thought would provide heat for the house turned out to be black poplar, which would not burn. Switching to coal, we found it to be different coal to what we were accustomed. The first time we shook out the ashes the coal turned to dust and put out the fire. However, we learned how to use it, and made out all right.
Our purpose for going to Big River was to start a Church of Christ. I had been there during the summer to get acquainted and to prepare a home for my new bride.
Our first meetings were held in the Legion Hall. Later, it also became our home, as we fixed living quarters in the upstairs. Our activities included regular Sunday meetings, youth meetings in the middle of the week, a camp on Pankoski's land north of Big River, and visitation.
Much of the time we had to have other work. Leeta did quite a little hairdressing. I had several jobs, but mainly worked for the Timber Board in the construction of both the saw and the planer mills, then I worked in the operation of the mills.
The main sport in which we were involved was curling. I, who had curled quite a bit, was put with five others who had never curled. Leeta learned to curl in that first rink. One event illustrates what it was like, for those who had never curled before. I was standing in the house, watching an opposition rock come into the house. As the rock crossed the T-line, I started to sweep. Just as I started to sweep the rock made a right-angle turn for a foot or so. The comment was heard; "I never knew sweeping did that much good."
After ten years, it became apparent we were trying to do too much. We hoped that if we left, someone else would take our place, but no one did. The church continued for several years, led by local people, mainly the Burt's, but finally had to close.
After leaving, we served the Great Bend Church of Christ near Delburne, Alberta, and then a combined field of the Wretham Community Church and the Taber Church of Christ.
In 1974, we moved to Yellow Grass. My mother had just moved into a nursing home and this was an opportunity to be close to her while she became adjusted. An opportunity came for me to work as town foreman for Yellow Grass. Leeta took part-time work in the post office and then became postmaster. We both retired in 1989.
Our children were all born in Big River. Monelle started her schooling there. She is married to Ron Fraser, the president of the Alberta Bible College. Monelle works for Phelps Drilling. They have three sons and two grandchildren.
Florence Ann (Flo) taught in Olds College and then headed up the providing of clothes for the Winter Olympics in Calgary. In 1983 she developed cancer in a knee and had to have the leg amputated. For several years the recovery seemed to have been completed. She had taken up disabled skiing and married her instructor, Keith Traptow. They had one son. Cancer returned and Flo passed away in 1993.
Stirling, is a dispatcher for Tenold Transport, in Surrey, British Columbia. He married Connie Murray. They have a son and a daughter. Stirling and Connie are now separated.
We have many fond memories of living in Big River. When we left I was given a ribbon with all the names of the employees of the mills listed. I still have it.
Wicinski, Walter and Shirley
Back Row: Ken, Stephan, Wade, Chad, Rob, Ken.
Middle Row: Walter, Shirley, Kathy, Jeanette, Lana Arlene.
Front Row: Jaren, Jaiden, Morgan, Wanda, Brent, Kevin, Stephanie and Nathan.
Walter was born in Ukraine in 1927. He and his sister Olga came with their parents and settled in the Prince Albert area for a time. In 1931 Walter's father got a homestead right in Ladder Valley. Walter grew up and took all his schooling in Ladder Valley. He quit school when he was 16 to go up north and work on the fishing line, only to discover that it was not the line of work that he was interested in doing. He later went to Ontario and found work there for a time. Leaving there he ventured west to Vancouver where he worked.
Big River always seemed to call him back home. In the early 60's he worked in Prince Albert for Harry Mudry, installing sewer and water lines. Later Walter found work with the Canadian National Railways. He travelled as a relief agent to different towns and villages until he got on permanently in Big River. He worked here full time until CN shut its railway line down in Big River. Walter then got a job at the mill in town, also when it was moved to Bodmin, where he remained until 1986.
In 1962, Walter married Shirley Garnot, daughter of Bill and Helen Garnot of Leask. She moved to the Ladder Valley area with her parents in the late '40s. Shirley loved sewing, baking, cleaning, and looking after the farm while Walter was away working. Together they raised a family of five daughters and one nephew: Wanda Wowchuk (Morgan), Kathy Piper (Ken), Jeanette Wicinski Dunn (Chad), Lana Kassion (Ken), Arlene and their nephew Wade. They have seven grandchildren: Stephen, Brent, Kevin, Stephanie, Nathan, Jared and Maiden. All our children took their schooling in Big River where they were all active in Track and Field, curling and other different activities.
I worked as a janitor for the mill for fifteen years, which I enjoyed very much.
Walter has kept pretty busy, sitting on different boards in the community such as Hospital, School, and the L.I.D before it was R.M. Presently he is on the Co-op board as a delegate. He is very active in our local Elk's club, working at Bingo's and other functions. He still meets every day in town to have coffee with his friends.
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979
George Wilcox was born in Regina and received his education there. He worked in various locations for several years and farmed for seventeen years before coming to Big River in 1956. He was employed by the Saskatchewan Timber Board at that time and continued to work for this department until the time of his retirement in 1965. Mr Wilcox worked in bush camps at Dore Lake and throughout the north and later was employed in the Timber Board Office in Big River. Mr Wilcox is now retired and resides in Big River.
Lionel Henry Wilkinson is a fairly new resident in the town of Big River. He was born in Prince Albert and was the first child of Ruth Vancoughnett and James Wilkinson. His childhood years were spent at Lily Plain, however many summers were spent at Big River, Saskatchewan.
Lionel visited with his late uncles, Jim Vancoughnett at Ladder Valley and with his aunt, the late Ethel Kennedy and her children. It was always his hope to live in the beautiful area around Big River. He resides at Cowan Court Senior Complex where he can enjoy nature, fishing and visiting his beloved cousins and their families.
Barry came into this world on December 25, 1943. The story goes that his mom had put the Christmas turkey in the oven early in the morning, gave birth to her child and was able to join the family for Christmas dinner. Barry grew up in the country, having to walk to school, later moving to town. When Barry was growing up he did many odd jobs, delivering bread, doing chores, having a paper route. These odd jobs kept him in spending money.
When Barry was sixteen, he started working in the sawmill during the summer months. He drove the taxi on the opposite shift of his dad. In the fall, he would go to the bush. He worked for different people such as Andy Sundby, Mel Hodgson, and his Uncle Max. In 1969, the sawmill burned down and portable mills were moved in and Barry ran the edger in Mel Hodgson's mill. In 1970, he went to work for Carmen Weir driving fuel truck. Later, he worked in the mill at Bodmin and he plans to retire in January of 2004.
I, Simone came into this world October 27, 1949, a sister to Louella and Deanna, and another daughter to Ernest and Cecile Ethier. I remember growing up in a log house and later helping dad to build a house. Life was never boring growing up on a farm. We were free to run and roam. We helped hay, milk cows and grow big gardens. Every Saturday night, we danced to the music of the old barn dance (on the radio). During the cold winters, we sang and listened to Dad and Mom playing the accordion, mouth organ, guitar and mom's singing.
I graduated and worked out for a year. On April 4, 1970, Barry and I were married. We have a daughter Roxanne, born September 3, 1970. We lived in town for several years, then moved to Dad and Mom's farm, which we purchased a few years later. I worked in the mill for 12 years and now work at home. I have a small quilting business and am part owner in the WE Greenhouse business.
Our lovely daughter, Roxanne, is married to Peter Philibert. They live in Domremy and have two children Morgan and Jordan.
Submitted by Lisa and Karen
Lisa and Karen, 1998.
Our great grandfather Ray Preston Wilson, and his wife Adeline Grace were the first in our family to settle in the Big River area. Ray was born near Austin, Texas in 1890 and during his youth lived with his brother and his mother at Kalispell, Montana. Adeline was born in the year 1900 in Ontario and in 1913 moved to the Abbey area of Saskatchewan where her parents homesteaded and farmed. Ray visited Canada and met Adeline's family in Southern Saskatchewan. Liking what he saw at that location he also set up a homestead. After Ray and Adeline married they began to raise their family and farmed in the Abbey area. The family's move to the Big River area occurred in the autumn of 1930. The move was brought on by the situation of the Dust Bowl of the '30s. Farming had become very difficult in the southern portions of the Prairies, so the family of Ray Preston Wilson, along with others of the area, began looking to more treed areas of more precipitation to the north. The move north was to suffer hardship due to the late season with winter's arrival due soon.
By this time, Ray and Adeline had several children. The children were, in order of age, the eldest Evelyn, then Chester, Matilda, Eva, Orval, Melvin, Verna, Marjorie, and Audrey. The youngest child, Harold, was born in the Big River area shortly after the family's arrival.
The move north began at the end of September. A wagon loaded with the family's belongings was pulled by horses. There was a saddle horse named Dandy ridden by Evelyn and Chet taking turns. The Giesbrechts were a family engaged in the same move, to and from the same locations, at the same time also with wagon and horses. Both families had cattle to move with them. The move was halted by an early blizzard only about 40 miles into the journey. Both families stayed in the basement of a Stewart Valley schoolhouse for about ten days. Great Grandmother Adeline fell very ill with pneumonia and was bedridden for quite a few days.
When travel resumed, the two families loaded up all their belongings and livestock into a boxcar and travelled by rail to Bodmin. The Wilson family homesteaded in the Lake Four district NW 3-55-6 W3rd on the West Side of Lake Four.
By the early 1940s, Ray Preston Wilson and his wife had moved west to the Vancouver area of British Columbia. Ray passed away in 1964, and Adeline in 1973.
Our Grandfather, Chester Wilson had also moved to Vancouver by the early 1940s and was enlisted in the Army. He met his wife Rose while stationed in Vancouver. They married in 1942 and a few years later had their son, our father, Ray. Ray was born in Vancouver, grew up and attended school there. In the late 1960s, while visiting Chester's brother Orval Wilson and family in Ladder valley, our father and grandparents learned that Mr. (Pop) Craddock was retiring and wished to live in town; the Craddock Ranch was available to purchase. That lovely farm became a part of our family.
Our grandparents retired from their jobs in Vancouver and moved to the farm to work the land, raise some livestock, thereby to regain many of their roots and memories of their younger childhood days. Much work was done upgrading the stately house that Mr Craddock had built. Among other updates, it would now have plumbing and electricity. Our father Ray and our mother Carol moved to the Big River area and that farm in the spring of 1976. Our mother, Carol always had a great love for horses, therefore a horse trailer pulling two of her beloved mares was part of that move. Lisa was born in the Big River Hospital, and Karen would have been, but the Town's doctors were away so Karen was born in Shellbrook! Chet's sister, Eva was living in Shellbrook by that time, so Shellbrook was made a special place for us. We had many good times growing up and learning of life and nature's wonders in Northern Saskatchewan.
The farm on the banks of Cowan Lake will always hold a special place in our hearts, the lovely fields and gardens, the beautiful seasons each with its glory, all the animals both wild and domesticated, the forest, the lake, the serene privacy Mother Nature has to offer.
In the spring of 1989, our family returned to British Columbia and settled in Kelowna. I, Lisa, now live with husband Clint in Kelowna, British Columbia and I, Karen, now live with husband Peter in Calgary, Alberta.
Back Row: Phyllis, Garry, Wade, Reg, Bill, Phillip, Barry, Doreen.
Front Row: Betty, Bonnie, Jake, Irene, Wendy and Juliette.
George "Jake" Wilson was born in Hanley, Saskatchewan, on January 29, 1918, the second child of George and Violet Wilson ( Nelson). He had four brothers: Ed (Lily Dunn); Russell (Dorothy Dunn); Bud (deceased December 24, 1962); and Max (Laura Gould) and one sister, Maud (Wilfred Anderson).
In 1930, the family travelled from Hanley, Saskatchewan to Marchant Grove in the Canwood area where they farmed. During the winter their father came up to the Big River area to cut cordwood on their homestead near Egg Lake. The Wilson family then moved up to this area in 1935.
In 1938, Jake married Irene Bradley. They lived close to the present Randy Bradley residence on Delaronde Lake. Later they lived on the land where Ben Nicholson now resides, only about two miles out of town.
Finally, they moved into the town of Big River where they resided the rest of their lives. Jake and Irene raised a family of twelve children:
Reg (Meada Morin) - See Reg Wilson history.
Juliette (Victor Sarapu) - Juliette lived in the Big River area and worked at various places in town. She moved to Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba in 1966. She met Victor Sarapu, a pilot, and they were later married. They resided in Manitoba and Ontario. They have two daughters, Terry and Debra. Terry has three children. Debra (Lionel Duval) has two children. The family presently resides in Winnipeg where Vic and Juliette have retired.
Doreen (Leslie Cossette) - See Leslie and Doreen Cossette history.
Barry (Simone Ethier) - See Barry and Simone Wilson history.
Phyllis Wilson - Phyllis grew up in the Big River area and then went to Edmonton to work. She met Derryl Ducharme and lived in Westlock, Alberta for a while. During this time, she had one son, Derryl. She has three grandsons: Brandon, Justin and Nathan. Phyllis has now retired and lives in Edmonton.
Phillip (Velma Papp) was born in Prince Albert in 1945, a twin brother for Phyllis. He mainly worked around the Big River area for Max Wilson or at the sawmill and in logging operations. Phillip married Ruth Schloegel and had three children, Jody, Troy and Coby. Phillip moved to British Columbia and met Velma Malm. Vel was born in the Peace River area. Later on, Phil and Vel were married in 1973, in Mission, British Columbia and they have one son, Tyler. (See Tyler and Noreen Wilson history) Vel had two children from her previous marriage: Laurie (Raymond Leach) who has three sons: Brian (Leslie), Craig and Adrian, and Randy Maim (Sherry Yurach) who have two children, Blaine and Richelle. Phillip and Vel presently reside in Big River where Phil is employed at the Big River Lumber Mill.
Garry Wilson (Diane) - Gary was born in 1947, and joined the army cadets when he was about 14 years old. He thoroughly enjoyed the army and enlisted as soon as he was of age. He was posted in various places: Petawawa, Winnipeg, Churchill, Edmonton, Germany and Chilliwack. He met Diane his wife in Winnipeg. They had two children. Garry Jr. was born in Calgary. He is married and lives in Nanaimo with his wife, Tanya, and their son, Jaxon. Sheila (Tom) have one son Owen. Diane passed away in February 2004 and Garry still resides in Chilliwack where he is an independent trucker.
Bill Wilson (Georgina) - Bill was born in 1949 in Big River. He moved to British Columbia to look for work when he was about 20 years old. He met his wife, Georgina, and they reside in Port Alberni. Bill is a stepdad to two sons, Fred and Jordie Wilson. Bill worked at the sawmill in Port Alberni but has now retired.
Bonnie (Lyle Hamborg) - Bonnie was born in 1950 and raised in the Big River area. She graduated from Big River High School. She married Lyle Hamborg and they have three sons, Corey, Jeffrey and Brent. Bonnie and Lyle lived in Pine Point, Tumbler Ridge and now reside in Fort McMurray.
Betty (Gary Gress) - Betty was born in 1952 and received her education in Big River schools. She moved to Saskatoon to work where she met Gary Gress. They were married and have two sons, Kevin and Gregory. Betty and Gary own and operate a private construction business. They presently reside in Estevan.
Betty, Gary, Kevin, Gregory.
Wade Wilson (Cindy) - Wade was born in 1955 and grew up in the Big River area. He moved to Pine Point and met his wife, Cindy. They have two daughters, Alicia and Nicole. Wade and Cindy presently reside in Fort McMurray where Wade is a heavy-duty mechanic.
Wendy Wilson was born in 1959 and grew up in the Big River area. She graduated from the Big River High School in 1977. She worked in various jobs in the area before moving to Pine Point. She rekindled friendships with Eugene Michel and they were later married. When Pine Point operations ceased, Wendy and Eugene moved back to Big River. They have two daughters, Kelli and Tannis. Wendy and Eugene separated in 2002. Wendy now resides in Estevan near her partner, Larry Hulzebos who comes from Minnesota.
Wendy, Larry Hulzebos.
Jake joined the Armed Forces and was stationed in Claresholm, Alberta and Chatham, New Brunswick from 1943-1945. He worked as a bartender, a truck driver, a sawyer at the Big River sawmill, and finally as a taxi and ambulance driver. He retired in 1985. He became ill and lived in a nursing home in Prince Albert until his passing on June 26, 1995.
Irene, the eldest daughter of Louis and Viola Bradley, was born on September 19, 1923, at Halvorgate, a small prairie town near Chaplin, Saskatchewan. In 1931, the Bradley family moved to Hay Bay on Delaronde Lake. Irene was an older sister to Bill, Ed, Grace, Hazel and Randy. She lovingly cared for her family of twelve children. She became ill and resided at Lakewood Lodge in Big River for the last few years of her life. She passed away in 1995 at the age of 72. She is buried in the Big River Cemetery.
I was born on April 29, 1982, in Big River to Wally and Janette (Lamothe) Wilson. I attended school in Big River until my parents separated in 1991. After that, I moved, along with my mom and brother Ryan, to Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. In Lloydminster, I attended Winston Church Hill Elementary until I completed grade six. From there, I attended E.S. Laird Junior High where I completed part of my grade seven. For the next five years (approximately) I went to the Lloydminster Education Advancement Program (LEAP).
During the time that I lived in Lloydminister, I spent many weekends in Big River with my old friends, my Dad and his wife, Wendy. As a kid, Dallas Bogner and I spent many hours at the shop playing and tormenting my Dad and Rick Hartnett.
When I was about sixteen, I started spending the entire summer in Big River so that I could work in the bush for my Dad. In 2001, I moved back to Big River to work for Wallace Wilson Enterprises operating a skidder. I was away all week and when I was home on the weekend I spent my time doing what most teenagers do, partying with my friends and playing video games.
In January 2003, I began dating Pam Bogner and in February 2003, we moved in together and are currently living on Gallant Street.
I was born April 9, 1932, in the Holy Family Hospital in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, the only daughter of Bill and Grace Gould. I then began my life in Big River. The first home that I recall living in was 117 2nd Ave N with my Aunt Mary, Uncle Ivery, and cousins Blanche and Belroy as neighbours to the south of us.
I started school at the age of five with Meta Brownfield as teacher. At that time the school was a four-room school. Other teachers on staff were Margaret Bouchard, Frank Mickie, and my dad. As a child, great memories for me are walks up on Tower Hill, down the tracks with my dad, family picnics at Ladder Lake, United Church picnics at Edson's farm, playing in the old burner, Sunday School, getting a nickel and going to the Ice Cream Parlor at O.P Godin's Store, going to the swimming hole - first stopping at the Chinese cafe that was situated between Yurach's old store and Trann's house (Shelly Yurach's now) and Der Tom would weigh out your candy.
The next stop was a slide or two down the jigger house roof (hoping Mr Kowalyk wouldn't catch you) then on for a drink of spring water that came out the side of the hill by Big River Fisheries' warehouse. I'd run up the sandhill, a few turns around the stockyard fence and then through the bog, from clump to clump, and finally, we were there. It was great being big enough to go on Tower Hill and have that long ride down Third Avenue, turn left at Main Street, down Main until First Avenue, left again a short half-block, a right turn across the tracks and down the station hill, past the Livery Barn and finally you were at the bottom! Then you had the long haul back to the hill. Maybe we could be lucky and catch a ride with a team of horses and sleigh that were going uptown. Another fun thing was playing on the hitching rails at the front of O.P. Godin's or at the side of Friedman's Store. Christmas Eve 1938, Mom came with a baby brother, Grant.
In 1939, we moved to Hoosier, Saskatchewan, and then in 1940 to Asquith, Saskatchewan and in June of 1941, we moved back to Big River as Dad joined the R.C.A.F. My cousin, Blanche, joined us when we went to Hoosier to take her grade twelve under Dad. Belroy came into the family in 1940 when her mother died. They are like sisters to me.
My pre-teen years and teen years were happy times. I had chores, wood to bring in, dishes; snow and ice to bring in for washing, drinking water to carry, plus other household chores.
Vivid memories from those years are Christmas Concerts, Red Cross Programmes, Friday afternoons when kids would take turns entertaining the class, track and field, winning the coveted Elk's Cup with co-captain Carl Zeigler, drama, playing in The School Orchestra, which consisted of Nioma and Laverne McNabb, Stanley Lafontaine, Camille Chenard and I. I was 12 years old when we played for our first dance in Bouchard's Hall. This was located on 2nd Avenue North. We played for school-sponsored dances for nothing; wedding dances we were paid three dollars each. The first dance held in Bouchard's new hall, which was the V.J Victory in Japan dance, was also a dance we played for. Church Camp at Mineral Lake was another fun time Young People's gatherings at the old Legion Hall on Third Avenue North. Wiener roasts at Waites Pasture, Saturday night movies, and The Rex Cafe. How good Tom, Jim and Lloyd were to us.
My first job was as Christmas helper at the Post Office working with Mr Forbes Sr. and Bill McKnight. At that time the train brought the mail, then it was hauled by the day to the post office. No matter what time the mail arrived, the Post Office was locked, the mail sorted and the doors opened and even if it was midnight people were waiting for the mail. There were no mailboxes. You stood and waited inside for the attendants to shuffle through a pile of letters to see if there were any for you.
Upon completion of grade twelve, I attended Saskatoon Normal School, obtaining a teaching certificate. I began teaching in the Big River School in the fall of 1950. My classroom had 46 students, 36-grade threes and 10-grade fours. My wage for the year was 1400 dollars. I thought I had the world by the tail. Students still in the area are Paulette Cooper, Mervin Cooper, Arnold Fonos, Ben Nicholson and George Yurach. Upon graduation from Normal School, I received a Saskatchewan Arts Board Scholarship to attend the Banff School of Fine Arts School of Drama. Schoolmates there were Shirley Douglas, mother of Kiefer Sutherland, and actress from the CBC, Wind At My Back and John Vernon who was Wojeck in the television series of that name a few years ago.
On July 9, 1951, I married Max Wilson, youngest son of George and Violet (nee Nelson) Wilson. We have four living children, one deceased, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
I came from community active parents. It was just natural that I should become active, too. Some activities have been Young People's, C.G.I.T, drama, church, choir, U.C.W, Royal Purple, Village Council, (Anna Lomsnes and I were the first female members of council). I was elected to the first Town Council. It was during those council years that sewer and water came to Big River, Big River became a town, and the Town Office building on 4th Avenue and 1st Street was built. I was on the Centennial Committee, the Rink Committee, Library Board, on the Steering Committee for Lakewood Lodge, on the Board of Directors of Pineview Terrace in Prince Albert. I was also on the Big River Braves Hockey Reunion, the Hospital Advisory Committee, the Lakewood Lodge Auxiliary, the Hospital Fundraising Committee, and the Big River Housing Authority. I drove the motor home for the walkers on The Great Walk (Clarice Hunter, Twila Dziurzynski, Regine Gould, April Olson and Wanda Wilson) a fundraiser for the New Hall. I have also played the piano or organ at many functions, weddings and funerals, and was organist at the United Church for many years.
I skated at the rink down by the lake and behind the Elk's Hall, and swam at the old swimming hole and Ladder Lake. I played badminton in Bouchard's Hall, curled in all three of our curling rinks, water skied and played a game of hockey when the single girls played the married women. The game went well until the referee, Leo Olsen, dropped a lead puck. Of course, that started a fight, just like the men! I also golfed a little.
My happy hours now are when our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and other family members are all gathered for a celebration or a long weekend. Max and I celebrated our Fiftieth Anniversary in 2001. We have been truly blessed.