Margaret Krenbrink was a long-time Coquitlam resident who was best known for her community work as the President of the Ranch Park Ratepayers Association. She was heavily involved in local affairs and regularly attended Council meetings in Coquitlam and advocated for issues affecting the community.
Fabian Jack Stiglish, more commonly known as “Jack” was born in Leask, Saskatchewan and grew up on a farm in Leask. He left the farm in 1938 and moved to British Columbia and met his wife Helen Mary Pietrasko in Invermere. In 1940, Helen and her family relocated to Surrey and Jack followed suit. He became a fisherman with his own boat and also worked in a mill. The couple married on December 5, 1942.
In 1943, the couple bought a mushroom farm at 1050 Keswick Ave near the Lougheed Highway. The farm had been established by W.T. Money around 1928 and is thought to be one of the first mushroom farms in B.C. The farm consisted of 4 acres of land, with one and a half acres devoted to growing mushrooms. Mushrooms were sold by the pound under the name “Money’s Mushrooms,” and mushroom manure was sold by the sack.
Jack and Helen were entrepreneurs throughout their lives. They briefly raised chinchillas for their fur, owned a brick business, and owned the 4 Acre Trailer Court at 675 Lougheed Highway from the 1950s until 1979 when the trailer court was sold to Walter and Dennis Hohn.
The couple built their dream home at 703 Edgar Avenue in 1969. Jack and Helen were avid square dancers and were enthusiastic members of the Vancouver Heights Square Dance Club in Burnaby. Jack was very community-minded and was an active member of the British Columbia Motels, Resorts, and Trailer Parks Association for many years. He was also one of the founding members of the Coquitlam Rotary in 1967. Jack and Helen spent their summers at a summer home in Whatcom Meadows in Washington State. Jack passed away on October 15, 1994 in New Westminster.
Alain (Al) Joseph Boire (1957-) is an author, founding member and first president of the Maillardville Residents' Association (MRA), and an active and passionate advocate for the Maillardville community.
Boire was born in Maillardville on October 15, 1957. He was raised in a French Canadian family and spent his formative years in the Maillardville community. He attended Notre Dame de Lourdes school, St. Thomas More Collegiate, Ecole Montgomery Middle School, and Centennial School. Boire became a professional home inspector, and resided in Maillardville for most of his life.
Boire has been active in the Maillardville community in many ways. In 1981-1985, he was the Director of Notre Dame de Lourdes Catholic Church, and during 2000-2005, Boire served as the director of Village Credit Union. Concerned with the developments in the community, Boire and a group of neighbours joined and founded the MRA in 2005, where Boire became the first president. The MRA was very active between the years of 2005 and 2011 and Boire was instrumental in starting long-standing community initiatives, such as its "Clean Up Maillardville" days, an Adopt-a-Street program, a Forum on Crime and a community website and directory. Boire was a founding member of the Maillardville Commercial and Cultural Revitalization task force committee on the MRA. Additionally, Boire joined the board of Place Maillardville Community in 2006, where he was Executive Director from 2011 to 2013.
In 2009, on behalf of the MRA, Boire completed research into the history of Maillardville for the community's centenary. On their website they published ten short biographies each month on a specific decade in Maillardville's history. Over the next seven years Boire intermittently returned to the project. In honour of Coquitlam's 125th anniversary in 2016, Boire completed his research and published his book, "With Hearts and Minds: Maillardville, 100 Years of History on the West Coast of BC."
Boire was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012. In 2018, Boire and his family moved to Smiths Falls, Ontario.
Gordy Robson served as the Mayor of Maple Ridge between 2005 and 2008 and has served as a Councillor for Maple Ridge since 2014.
Gordy and his wife Mary Robson founded the "Maple Ridge News" in late 1984. When the Columbian Newspaper folded in 1985, staff started the Now group of newspapers and Robson decided to expand the News offerings into the Tri-Cities with "The Sunday News" to compete with the Now. About a year later, he started a Tri-City specific edition issued on Wednesdays, which later became the Tri-City News and was expanded to two editions per week. The newspapers were printed by Hacker Press in Abbotsford.
Around 1988, UK company Trinity purchased the Maple Ridge News and the Tri-City News. The collection of "News" papers became known as the News Group, which was eventually purchased by Black Press in 1997.
The Rev. A.D. MacKinnon was a pioneer minister of the Presbyterian Church in British Columbia. He was born in Nova Scotia, attended theological college at Queens, and came to the Kootenay region of B.C. as a student in 1893. He was ordained in 1896 in Kamloops and served at Quesnel, where he opened the first Presbyterian Church in the Cariboo. He later served at Kitsilano Presbyterian Church in Vancouver (1913-1920) Williams Lake (1921-1941) and Peachland (1941-1946). Like many Presbyterian ministers of his generation, MacKinnon joined The United Church of Canada during church union in 1925.
Joan Heriot was born in 1911 in Vernon B.C., the daughter of Allan and Jessie Heriot. As a child Joan developed a fascination with insects. This was due to her father's interest in entomology and the enthusiasm of his entomologist friends, who took her for field trips and provided her with books on the subject. Joan attended St. Michael's Girls School in Vernon, where she also demonstrated a strong interest in drawing and painting. On graduation from St. Michael's Joan attended college in Victoria, B.C. and then the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C. where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree. Following this she enrolled at the University of Liverpool in England, graduating in 1936 with a Master of Science Degree and a Diploma in Education. From 1936 to 1966 Joan lectured in zoology at Brighton Technical College, in Brighton, Sussex, England. She was head of the Biology Department from 1952 to 1966. On her retirement and return to Vernon, Joan was able to focus on her artistic talents. She took art lessons and began to interpret the Okanagan landscape through the medium of pastels. Her paintings generated so much demand that a long waiting list evolved. Joan loved life, embraced people, and made the best of things, even in her last years as resident in an extended care facility. She died on July 29th, 2012 at the age of 101.
John Thomas-Davies was a big game hunter who spent time in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and the Okanagan Valley in the 1890's, and kept a diary of his hunting trips.
Arthur Erwin Mortimer Spence was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1916. As a young man in 1936 he joined the Canadian Grenadier Guards, a militia reserve unit. Subsequently he signed up for the Royal Canadian Regiment, becoming part of Canada's permanent armed forces. During the early years of WWII he served in England, and then was posted back to Canada on an instructional tour, in 1942. He was assigned to a training team at the army camp in Vernon, B.C. and it was here that he met and married Vivian Johnston.
Grace Margaret Vivian was born in 1878 at Moor Cross Farm, Cornwood, Devon, England, the twelfth child of William and Mary Ann Vivian. Grace's father was steward of the Blatchford Estate in Devon for thirty years. Grace met her future husband, Harry Worth, in 1900 and married him the following year. Leaving behind her family and her school teacher's job in London, Grace and Harry emigrated to Vernon, British Columbia in April of 1901 with Harry's brother, Jack and his new wife. Harry took over a friend's pre-emption in Trinity Valley where he and Grace farmed and raised three sons. A staunch supporter of the CCF (later NDP) party, Grace would walk 15 miles from Trinity Valley to Lumby to attend CCF Club meetings. The Worths remained in Trinity Valley until 1949, when they made the decision to retire to Vernon. Shortly after her husband's sudden death in February of 1961, just short of their sixtieth wedding anniversary, Grace decided to occupy herself by writing her autobiography, chronicling their adventures as pioneer settlers in Trinity Valley. This process took her five years, and was published in two parts in the 33rd and 34th editions of the Okanagan Historical Society Reports. In addition to her political involvements, Grace belonged to the United Nations Association, the Women's Institute, and the Garden Club. She died on August 3rd, 1972 at the age of 93 years.
Douglas MacKay was the son of Vernon pharmacist Francis MacKay. Born in 1925, Doug was educated in Vernon, graduating from Vernon High School in 1943. He then enlisted in the RCAF, serving until the end of WWII. Following the war, Doug enrolled at UBC, graduating in 1952 with a degree in pharmacy. Two years later he entered into partnership with his father at MacKay's Pharmacy, taking over from him when he died in 1962. Doug served the community as a pharmacist for thirty-three years before retiring in 1988. In his spare time Doug was an avid fisherman, boater and water skier, and snow skier in the winter. Doug and his wife Dorothy raised three daughters. He died in 2008 at the age of 83 years.
Tom Reay was a farmer in the Vernon area in the 1940's and 1950's. He raised chickens, pigs and cows, and sold eggs, chickens, pigs and calves.
Albert Johnson Ellison was the second son and sixth child of Sophie and Price Ellison. He was born on August 7th, 1897 in Vernon and attended public school there., followed by high school in Victoria, and Trinity College in Port Hope, Ontario in 1912-13. With the advent of WWI, Albert and his brother Price Jr. joined the army on December 8th, 1914. Albert was let out 8 months later as he was under age. He rejoined on May 17th, 1917 with his brother Vernon, and they went to Petawawa Camp near Ottawa for training as members of the 68th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery. Following training they shipped out to England in December, and then to France where 'Bert' transferred to the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade and served as a motorcycle dispatch rider from May 10th, 1918 to November 11th, 1918. He was discharged from military service in June of 1919. Following the war Bert went into partnership with his brothers Price Jr. and Vernon, buying adjoining quarter-sections of land south of Vernon to run cattle. When this venture failed, Bert worked on area roads for the Public Works Department, drove a gravel truck for his brother Vernon, did some winter logging, and looked after the farm animals and gardens at the family home on Pleasant Valley Road. A dedicated horseman, Bert was involved in the founding of the Vernon and District Drag Hounds, and was later involved with the Vernon Riding Club. He died on March 28th, 1960 and is buried in the Ellison plot in the Pleasant Valley Cemetery.
Peter Tassie grew up in Vernon, receiving an engineering degree at UBC in 1950, and commission as a British Columbia Land Surveyor in 1952. Peter joined his father, Gilbert C. Tassie, in his engineering and surveying practice, working with him from 1954 to 1968. Disillusioned with the lack of consideration for long-term zoning in this area, Peter then moved to Saskatoon to work as a community planner for the Department of Indian Affairs. He returned to Vernon in 1974 to become head of RDNO's Community Development Department, serving in that capacity until retirement in 1991. In 2012 Peter was awarded with the Community Service Award by the B.C. Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists, in recognition of his involvement with local organizations including O'Keefe Ranch, Ribbons of Green Society, Boy Scouts, Rotary Club, North Okanagan Parks and Natural Area Trust, Abbeyfield Houses Society, Okanagan Historical Society, and the North Okanagan Cross-Country Ski Club. In retirement Peter has researched and written a history of irrigation in the Vernon District, "Water From the Hills".
Rees William Rogers was born in Thicket Mead, Somerset, England in 1903 to Frederick and Kate Rogers.
Rees moved to the Comox Valley in 1923 and wed Blodwen Griffiths. They lived in the C.V. from 1923-1928 and again from 1933 onwards. They had three sons and one daughter: Fred, Ray, Norman, and Iris.
Blodwen was related to the Lewis family who had settled in an area on the east side of the Courtenay River that became known as “Lewistown” and formed the original Courtenay city centre. The Lewis’s built the Courtenay Hotel and several houses nearby.
Rees Rogers had a varied early work life. He was a miner in Cumberland, BC, did carpentry repair and renovation on the Courtenay Hotel, was in a logging partnership with Floyd Cearley, and erected the fencing around the Comox Airport. From 1947 until his retirement in 1971, Rees worked and supervised building and grounds maintenance for School District 71.
Rees was a Courtenay School Board Trustee in the 1930s and 1940s.
Rees Rogers died April 1, 1993 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox, BC.
Harold Mackay was born in Liverpool, England, May 6th 1904. After he apprenticed to be a Cooper he immigrated to Canada in 1929. In 1932 he married Eudora Campbell and moved to 503 Fader Street. They had three children: Marlene, George, and Alwynn. Harold worked his entire career at the B.C. Distillery (Seagrams). Harold was a member of the Fraser Valley Art Group and Fraternal Order of Eagles. He won awards at the Pacific Northwest Exhibition (PNE) for his paintings on spider webs along with his hand crafted miniature barrels. His cobweb artistry was featured in the Vancouver Province on August 6 1982. Harold and the trade of coopering were featured in "Making a Living and Making a Life" exhibit at the Vancouver Museum 1991. This show travelled Canada for one year and featured Harold's coopering tools and drawings and depicted how barrels were made by hand. His beloved wife, Eudora, died in 2001. Harold died at the age of 101 on August 2 2005.
Not much is known about Sing Yeun Lee. He immigrated to Canada in 1912, landing in Vancouver from the Empress of India. He established his home and store, Lee Shop, in New Westminster. He died on April 3, 1962.
Kit Krieger has volunteered for the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre in numerous capacities, including as interviewer for the VHEC Testimony Project and as member of its Teacher Advisory Committee. Krieger is a lifetime member of the BC Teachers’ Federation and received the Meyer and Gita Kron Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education from the VHEC.
Celia Brauer is a freelance artist and writer who documented Holocaust and Hiroshima survivors’ lives after the Second World War in British Columbia, Canada, in the mid-1980s.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, in 1952, Brauer was the daughter of two Polish-born Holocaust survivors, Lily (Lola) and Max (Mendel) Brauer, who immigrated to Canada in 1948.
Shortly after graduating with a BFA in visual arts from Concordia University in 1976, Brauer moved to Vancouver, BC, where she saw an announcement in the paper about a symposium on the Holocaust that piqued her interest. Brauer was indirectly but very closely affected by the Holocaust and knew the traumatic after-effects such experiences can bring; growing up, her parents were reticent to speak of their own experiences and trauma during the war. After attending the symposium, where she listened to Holocaust survivors publicly speak of their personal accounts to high school students, she became inspired to learn more about survival and human nature. She was specifically interested in the spiritual qualities that helped individuals rebuild their lives after experiencing such profound tragedy.
Brauer set out on a project to write a manuscript tentatively titled Survivors Today: Present Day Observations of Post-War Jewish Immigrants in Canada. She interviewed Holocaust survivors about their experiences and attitudes after the war and their immigration to Canada. Brauer photographed survivors in their homes and at the Canadian Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their Children in Ottawa, held April 28–30, 1985. Brauer wanted to explore connections between the Holocaust and Hiroshima and proposed another book tentatively titled A Question of Spirit: Surviving and Rebuilding. Neither manuscript was completed.
Following this project Brauer’s interests turned the natural world and her concern for the environment. In 2005, she founded the non-profit False Creek Watershed Society. This organization seeks to advance public knowledge and education about Vancouver’s False Creek watershed, increase understanding of environmental problems, and encourage living more sustainably within the watershed. Her approach to this work is informed by her relationships with local First Nations and her learning of traditional Indigenous ecological knowledge.
Brauer studied socio-cultural anthropology at the University of British Columbia, where her research focused on present-day perceptions of an Indigenous worldview, traditional ecological knowledge, place-based education, sustainability and sustainability education. She completed a thesis titled Paths to Sustainability: Creating Connections through Place-based Indigenous Knowledge, and graduated in 2017.
Brauer lives in Vancouver, Canada, where she writes, creates art and participates in the False Creek Watershed Society. Brauer is an active member of the Second Generation Group.