1933 - 2011
Our mom, Glenda Keith, was born November 26th, 1933 and was the fourth child to Leona and Fred Roach. She was born in Nipawin, Saskatchewan into a family with three older siblings: Hal, Muriel and Gladys, and one adored younger brother, Barry. Although mom shared many stories about how difficult the times were for her family during the early years, she always managed to have a positive outlook on her life as a child, and enjoyed many friendships and fun adventures. She shared stories of hitching a ride with a toboggan on the back of a horse team only to discover they couldn’t get loose and were pulled a long ways out of town; of skating at the outdoor rink until her toes were frozen before she would finally be forced by the cold to head home, and many stories about how special it was to receive new clothing or shoes, as this was such a hardship for many families back then. These experiences gave her that great appreciation for the little things in life. Her mother made all of her clothes or they were hand-me-downs until she was 12 when she received her first new outfit.
When Glenda was 14 her family made what she would refer to as ‘the best move of their lives’ when her oldest brother Hal, convinced her dad to move to Duncan, BC on Vancouver Island. She felt like they had moved to a dream land of flowers and beauty; there was work for her dad, and she was so proud and thankful of how her parents had a much easier life in their later years.
This move to beautiful Vancouver Island is likely the seed that started her love of gardening. Mom was well known for having beautiful flowers and her lovely yard was enjoyed by all. She would often plan her summer around when her flowers would be in full bloom, and many of us were on 'water duty' in her absence.
Mom was always very outgoing and had many friends, both girls … and boys during high school - she enjoyed these years immensely. She was part of a graduating class that still meets regularly on the island and keeps up with one another. She received many calls and letters from these friends right up until her last days.
After graduating – Mom and her best friend Molly moved to Chilliwack – where they roomed with 3 other women - all young teachers, and surprisingly – 2 of them were from Dawson Creek – an unheard of place to mom at the time. She worked as a secretary at Fraser Valley Frozen Foods and it was during this time that she met our dad, Stan. She and dad met officially at a dance and he soon became a big part of her life.
Mom and Dad were married on March 17th,1956 in Duncan, BC and they moved onto the family farm in Chilliwack BC, which dad was helping to run. Over the next few years Glenda gave birth to four of her five children while living in Chilliwack.
Mom worked incredibly hard as a farm wife as she helped to run the many aspects of the farm, worked full time in town, and raised five children: Wayne, Doug, Hal, Sharilyn and Shauna, who was born in Dawson Creek. Throughout our lives and particularly during the last few months, mom made a point to tell each of us how special we were to her and that we were the absolute loves of her life, however, this was already known. During a summer day while enjoying the view from her deck she remarked: “I'm not sure what I will be remembered for, but I know for sure that my greatest accomplishment and the thing that I feel most proud of is the fact that I raised 5 wonderful kids.”
Mom had a special relationship with each of her children, their spouses and her grandchildren, and this was reciprocated. Each one teased that they were her favourite. She especially cherished her grandchildren and loved every minute of her time with them. She made a point to try to go to every significant event that she could and understood the essence of each of their personalities. In later years, the grandkids would stop by for no other reason than to hang out with her.
Glenda had an amazing number of friends and acquaintances with which she always kept very busy. We are sure she had over 100 best friends. This was the essence of mom as she had the ability to make everyone feel that they were the most special to her. She had an incredible sense of humor and loved to laugh. Her quick wit and love of laughter provided countless memorable moments which she shared among many. She was most noted for, and teased about the fact that she loved to talk. We laughed as we looked through pictures as in many she was talking. On one of her last days when she was short of breath, she managed to say with smirk on her face, “Wouldn't the ladies laugh if they knew that I couldn't talk!”
She and Stan were very involved in the church for over 46 years, and this has played an important role in her life throughout all of her years. She loved to sing in the choir since she was a very young girl, and choir practices and performances continued to be the highlight of her life.
She met weekly with her close friends as part of her weekly bible study. These ladies were a close knit and supportive group throughout her life and gave her strength throughout her illness. She loved her friends from the Landry W.I., a fun loving group of ladies, and especially remembered her times helping to put on the 'Night of Country Sounds' years ago.
Throughout her life she was involved in many other groups, from the dairymen's association, the CNIB group and the latest red hat lady gang.
During her early years in Dawson Creek, Mom worked as a Secretary at Frank Ross School in the days that it was a Junior High, then after the birth of Shauna she got a job as a Court Recorder. She loved this job for years as it enabled her a bit of break from farm life, some good money for those days, and some freedom to be able to do more of the things she wanted to do.
One of Mom’s most favourite places on earth was Hawaii – in particular Maui. She took several trips with many different people and often stayed in the same place – after a while she got to know many of the regulars and this was always the highlight of her year. She relished her opportunities to spend time at the cabin at One Island Lake, or a short camping trip with dad and friends. She loved to return to Vancouver Island, and if it weren't for her family, would likely have returned for longer stays. She enjoyed her visits with her sister Muriel, in Kelowna as well as her visits with the relatives at the coast.
Mom was a very strong woman, and this was evident in many events in her life, but most memorable was during the loss of our dad in Nov. 2003. This heartbreaking loss proved to her again how strong a family can be when they all pull together to get through a difficult time.
One of her proudest moments after dad passed away was to buy a motor home, find a willing friend with a driver’s license (… that would be Claire!), and head off on a trip across Canada!
Mom was a survivor, and when it came to her health, had a few times in her life when she overcame insurmountable challenges and returned to her comfortable life on the farm. She had a will to live that was incredible. After her diagnosis with cancer, she was very ill and it was thought that she may not survive the summer. Not only did she survive and enjoy every day of that beautiful summer, she also booked a beach house on Vancouver Island for 10 days in September and had her brother Barry and wife Janet, sister Gladys, and the five kids all join her for a few wonderful days. What made this especially precious was that her sister Gladys passed away unexpectedly on Dec. 28th. Mom made it through one last Christmas and was wheeled to the kitchen to oversee the stuffing of the turkey and the food preparation.
The family wishes to acknowledge Shauna for her incredible dedication, commitment and love for Mom during these past few months. Without Shauna giving up her life on the island to return home and live at the family farm, we are not sure what we would have done. This allowed mom to live comfortably during her last few months on her cherished farm, surrounded by her family, flowers and pets.
Mom leaves to celebrate her life, her five children and their spouses and her 12 grandchildren. Her brother Barry and wife Janet, and numerous nieces and nephews. We feel so blessed to have had her as our mother.
We will miss her dearly, and we know that we will carry her spirit forward in our lives.
In all that we have learned from our mom we hope that we can move forward with confidence as she taught us how to live life. How lucky were we? Mom will be forever in our hearts.
A memorial service was held on January 12, 2011 at the St James Presbyterian Church, Dawson Creek, British Columbia.
Expressions of sympathy in memory of Glenda, may be made by donation to the ‘Canadian Diabetes Association’ P.O. Box 2361, Dawson Creek, British Columbia V1G 4T9.
George Palmer Hartford
1923 - 2011
George Palmer Hartford passed away peacefully in Victoria on January 16, 2011. George was born in Kamloops January 6, 1923. He and his wife Janet raised their family in Dawson Creek. An active member in the community, George was a teacher and later principal of South Peace Senior Secondary and also served as alderman. They were founding members of Tumbler Ridge where they moved in 1982. George was a teacher, health centre administrator and an active volunteer in the community where he also served as town councilor and later mayor.
George and Janet’s family includes four children and eight grandchildren; Nicola (Len) Ramsey of Slave Lake and their children Jordan, Elizabeth and Hart, Rob (Juanita MacNeil) of Tumbler Ridge and their children Kyla and Darby, Doug and children Kieran and Eric in Victoria, and Crosbie (Tony) Bourdeaux and son John in Tumbler Ridge, step-grandchildren Kori, Zachary, Anthony, Courtenay and Curtis, and niece Kerry Doidge (Terry Korman) of Athabasca. A memorial service was held at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Victoria on Saturday, January 22. A memorial service will be held in Tumbler Ridge, B.C.on February 6 at the Tumbler Ridge High School.
1935 – 2011
William Strasky was born at home in the old farmhouse in Farmington to George and Maria Strasky. His parents had emigrated from Slovakia and were homesteaders in Farmington. Bill was the fifth of eight children.
At the young age of five Bill contracted rheumatic fever and to receive the care he needed he was flown to the Alexandria Children’s hospital near Victoria. He spent two years in the hospital and then boarded with the Kelly family in Victoria for another two years while he recovered. Returning home to the rough farm life was difficult and he had forgotten how to speak Slovak, which he re-learned in order to talk to his mother.
After returning home Bill attended the Parkland and Notre Dame schools. His early jobs included working with his brother Fred at the refinery in Taylor and as a carpenter on the WAC Bennett dam project.
Bill married his childhood sweetheart, Etela Magusin, on July 4th, 1959. Bill built their first home in Dawson Creek. They lived there for four years and had their first three children, Rodney, Stephen and Douglas. They moved to Hudson Hope while Bill worked on building the Bennett dam. James was born during that time and then they moved back to Dawson Creek where Kevin was born in 1965 and their family of five boys was complete.
In 1966 the family moved out to Farmington to begin their farming career. They acquired some land with an old bachelor’s house with no electricity or running water. Etela had to kick start the gas-powered ringer washing machine. Bill renovated the old house, while raising sheep, farming and clearing land.
Bill worked hard and accomplished much, but always left time to have fun with his family and friends. He loved to visit with family, friends and neighbours to play cards and to take Etela dancing at the community hall. They took the boys camping and fishing to the Kiskatinaw river, Gwillim and Carp Lakes, ice fishing at the Bennett dam and on a memorable trip to Barkerville,
Bill was community and civic minded and over the years he belonged to the National Farmers Union, the Sweetwater Farmers Institute, the South Peace Grain Cleaning Coop Board and the Farmington Recreation Commission.
Bill’s farming career spanned more than four decades. He saw many changes in farming over that time, from horse drawn implements to GPS technology and auto-steer. He was successful and not afraid to embrace new technologies as they came along. Bill had a lot of patience for raising his five sons, making time to spend with them on 4-H and countless other projects. He tried to teach by example and let them learn by experience. Bill tried to teach all of his boys the ins and outs of farming and to instill a great passion for the land in each of them.
In 2007 Bill lost Etela and never truly recovered. He continued to farm as long as he was able and was marketing his last oat crop at Christmas.
Bill will be sorely missed by his five loving sons and daughter in laws: Rod (Kim), Stephen, (Juanita), Douglas (Cora), Jim (Pat) and Kevin (Cindy) as well as nine grand children, one great-grandson and his surviving brothers, George and Fred and sisters, Helen Breti and Margaret O’Donovan and many in-laws, nieces and nephews and their families.
Bill was predeceased by his parents, Maria and George Strasky and three siblings, Ann Nitzel, Ludmilla Motzer and Victor Strasky.
William Strasky, we will miss you and cherish your memory always.
A funeral service was held on January 19, 2011 at the Notre Dame Roman Catholic Church with Father Michael Anyasoro officiating. Interment followed in the Mountain View Cemetery, Sunrise Valley, British Columbia.
1927 – 2011
Albert Erbe was born on March 20, 1927 in Freihofen, Germany to his parents Paul and Berta Erbe. He was the youngest child of the family, and had two elder sisters Margot and Erna. The family lived on a farm, and it was through these early experiences Albert first gained his attraction to rural life and agriculture.
Upon the end of the WWII, the Erbe family was expelled from their farmland along with millions of other Germans. Albert was forced to leave his family and to seek new opportunities in the war-torn country. Albert decided to enrol in an agriculture college and upon completion applied to both Canada and the United States for immigration. With the Canadian paperwork returning sooner he boarded a boat from Hamburg to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1952.
Upon immigration Albert soon moved west and took a series of jobs that had him move around Ontario and Quebec. Many of these positions were short lived and provided very little future for his ambition to farm. While in Toronto, Albert found an article about the Peace Country which highlighted the region’s farming potential. Seeing the opportunity Albert soon after purchased a Model-T and drove it with a friend to Edmonton.
Once in Edmonton, Albert heard about mining opportunities in the North and quickly worked his way up to the gold mines of Keno YK. Albert then took a series of jobs that would have him move between Dawson Creek and the Yukon. It would be during this time Albert would be convinced to settle and make his home in the Peace.
Upon a return visit to Germany in the 1960’s, Albert was introduced to what would become his future wife Gisela. The couple would soon marry and move back to Canada on the condition that if Gisela did not like it, the couple would return back. Fortunately she liked it and the couple would stay, having three children in the process (Manuela, Uwe, and Carsten) .
Albert started farming in Groundbirch in 1968. As the farm was mostly undeveloped and required years of extensive clearing and breaking of land. The farm would arduously move towards full production. In 1979, Albert suffered a terrible combine accident in which he lost most of his left hand.
In 1980, the Erbe family purchased property on east end of town and the following year started what would become Erbe Feed. Although never being intended as a fulltime business, the feedmill would be operational for the next 30 years.
In 1996, Albert would run for the Electoral District Director “D” position. He would win and continue to be re-elected for two more times. Albert loved politics as it was his opportunity to give back to the community he treasured.
Albert passed away peacefully January 14, 2011 after a 6 month battle with lung cancer. A ceremony was held in his honour on January 20, 2011. Albert will be missed dearly by his family and his many friends throughout the community.
A celebration of life social gathering was held on January 20, 2011 at the George Dawson Inn Banquet Room, Dawson Creek, British Columbia.
Expressions of sympathy in memory of Albert, may be made by donation to the ‘Rotary Manor,' 1121 - 90 Avenue, Dawson Creek, British Columbia V1G 3A5, the ‘Canadian Cancer Society’ 1000 - 105 Avenue, Dawson Creek, British Columbia V1G 2B9, or the ‘Dawson Creek and District Hospital Foundation' 11100 - 13 Street, Dawson Creek, British Columbia V1G 3W8.
Louis Joseph Faucher
1939 - 2011
Louis Joseph Faucher was born on June 14, 1939, in St. Paul, Alberta, to a family of ten with a French background. Dad’s mother and father, Irene and Arthur Faucher, farmed two quarter sections a half-mile north of St. Paul. Dad was always working on the farm with his dad when he was a boy. Dad was fondly known to his family and friends as Pee Wee in his younger years. He attended school in St. Paul. In 1960 he met Darlene, his future wife, in Red Deer, Alberta. They were married on June 17, 1961.
In October of 1961, they moved to High Prairie, to build the hospital there. This is where Dad learned to be a bricklayer. From there they moved to Grande Prairie, Alberta, arriving there in September of 1962. They resided there until January of 1966. They then moved north to Dawson Creek, British Columbia on January 2, 1966 where they made their final home. He became a master bricklayer, building some of the most beautiful fireplaces out of brick and stone. Dad also worked on most of the major buildings in Dawson Creek. He was very artistic, a perfectionist, and was very proud of his work. Everyone who wanted a beautiful fireplace always requested that he build it. Dad was a very hard worker.
Louis and Darlene were blessed with three beautiful children; Diana in 1961, Terry in 1962, and Kathy in 1964. In 1973, they bought an acreage on Stanley Drive where he resided until his death on January 4, 2011.
His children married and blessed him again with five beautiful grandchildren; Craig and Corey, Danielle, Travis and Alexis. Dad loved his grandchildren very much and always had time for them.
Dad loved playing cards. He loved the outdoors. He always liked going for drives down country roads. He loved camping, fishing, and drinking a beer with friends. Dad loved taking the grandkids for treats in his old truck. He built them a sandbox and swing. He enjoyed playing with them. Dad loved country music, especially Charlie Pride. He enjoyed mowing the grass, planting trees, and puttering around. Dad could fix anything.
Dad was predeceased by his parents and younger sister Suzanne. He is survived by his wife Darlene and children Diana (Brian Hogg), Terry Faucher, Kathy (Brent Burton), and grandchildren Craig and Corey Hogg, Danielle Burton (Scott Boyer), Travis and Alexis Burton as well as brothers Lawrence, Leo and Armand and sisters Lorraine, Rosemarie, and Aline.
Dad will be greatly missed by his loving family and friends.
A memorial service was held on January 10, 2011 at the Bergeron Funeral Chapel with Pastor Dan Martin officiating. Inurnment followed in the Brookside Cemetery, Dawson Creek, British Columbia.
Expressions of sympathy in memory of Louis, may be made by donation to the ‘British Columbia Heart & Stroke Foundation’ P.O. Box 714, Dawson Creek, British Columbia V2G 4H7
Gordon Wilber Grabher
1927 - 2010
Gordon Wilber Grabher was born on October 17, 1927 in Leduc, Alberta and was the fourth of six children born to Charles and Christina Grabher. He lived his early years with his parents, four brothers, George, Herman, Stanley and Robert and sister Dora in Hugheden, Alberta until the family moved to Collington, outside of Athabasca when Gordon was four. Times were tough for the Grabhers in Gordon’s early years. He quit school in grade four and began helping with the family farm, doing side jobs, from picking blueberries and selling them in town for 10 cents a pound to helping the family with their janitorial contact at the local school. At age 14, Gordon left home and went to work in the logging camps in Collington then Athabasca until his early 20’s when he landed his first rough neck job in Calmar, Alberta.
During his early years on the rigs, Gordon met Joyce Stuart in Drumheller and they were married a little over two years later, on December 5, 1952. Over the next few years as Gordon worked his way up from roughneck to tool push, he would move Joyce from one end of Alberta to the other; every three months to wherever the next well had to be drilled. When Gordon took a job as a field superintendent with Arrow Drilling in 1957, Gordon and Joyce were finally able to settle down in Dawson Creek and start their family where their first daughter, Valerie was born. After a short period of time in Dawson Creek and then Edmonton, the Grabhers moved to Fort St. John where their next two children, Terry and Tannis were born. Shortly after arriving in Fort St. John, Gordon was elected president of the Light Horse Association, which he held for a number of years. He was very instrumental in the building of the rodeo grounds and the race track. In 1966 Gordon decided to hang up his field superintendent hat and try consulting. Soon after, he moved the family from town to the Just A- Mere Farm at Fish Creek, where their cattle business began. It was a tough start in the cattle business as Joyce had to break it to Gordon that their very first calf had drowned in the watering hole, while he was away at work. In the mid 70’s the Grabhers packed up again and moved to the 3 X Farm in Montney that had been started with Earl Brown and Cec Papke at a liquid filled horse sale in 1962 when the three partnered up and bought six Shetland ponies together. This eventually turned into a nine quarter grain farm. After a short time in Montney, the Grabhers decided to move south, after falling in love with a piece of property in Arras, British Columbia to what we all know as Grabher’s Last Stand. In the early 80s, when new regulations required consultants to obtain new tickets and learn the much hated metric system, Gordon decided he had had enough of the oil patch and turned into a full time rancher.
It was on the Grabher’s Last Stand that Gordon and Joyce enjoyed their true passions in life, grandchildren, family, good friends and live stock. It started early, usually by 5:00 am with Joyce making Gordon his must-have breakfast and soon after the action started. It could be anything from calving out the 200 cow/calf pairs to riding out to check on the 300 horses grazing in the pasture, or just feeding the 100 or so buffalo because Gordon needed an excuse to get out in the morning. Gordon enjoyed sitting down at the kitchen table with a paper and a pencil, transferring his creations to a piece of paper. He would then fire up his welder and work relentlessly until he was done his new creation. Gordon enjoyed many of the simple things in life such as just having the kids around, hooking up a team of horses for a sleigh ride, riding out checking the livestock, telling one of his great stories to an audience, having one of his famous laughs over a story or joke or just sitting silently around the fire pit. Gordon made many good friends over the years including Cec Papke, Earl Brown, George Hauber, Warren Mackenzie, Mike Green, Mitch Green and Garth Woods just to mention a few, but he had an extra special bond with his best friend and grandson Dwayne. There was rarely an event that happened at the Last Stand that Dwayne wasn’t right there beside Gordon, willing to help with whatever grandpa needed.
Gordon passed away in Dawson Creek on December 31, 2010 at the age of 83. He is predeceased by his mother and father: Christina and Charles; two brothers: George and Herman; and one sister: Dora. He leaves behind his loving wife of 57 years: Joyce; two daughters: Valerie (Braden) and Tannis (Ron) ; son: Terry (Judy) ; two brothers: Stanley (Verna), and Robert (Gerry) ; seven grandchildren: Dwayne (Chelsea), Jodi and partner Sky, Fallon (Victor), Gary, Kyle, Clinton and Curtis; two great-grandchildren: Olivia and Waylan; two brothers-in-law: Ken and Guy; four sisters-in-law: Donna, Marge, Nora and Rhona; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Gordon was the hardest working man I’ve ever known, he had strong family values and a great big heart of gold. He was a great husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and of course a great friend and will truly be missed by all!
A memorial service was held on January 6, 2011 at the Bergeron Funeral Chapel, with Pastor Al Stebing officiating.
Expressions of sympathy in memory of Gordon, may be made by donation to the ‘British Columbia Heart & Stroke Foundation’ P.O. Box 714, Dawson Creek, British Columbia V1G 4H7 or the ‘British Columbia Lung Association’ 2675 – Oak Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6H 2K2.