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authority records
McEwen, Margaret
MS 137 · Person · 1922-1981

Margaret Ivy McEwen was born July 11, 1922 to George and Daisy McEwen and raised on a small farm in Grindrod, B.C. Her parents had two more children, Donald and Duncan. When Margaret was six years old, her mother, Daisy, was pregnant with a fourth child and suddenly died. Margaret’s bother Donald McEwen wrote about the tragedy.

“Dad had a job rafting cedar poles from Enderby to Mara for the piling for the bridge. He wasn’t able to get home until late. Mom went to get the cows pasturing...... She had difficulty with them, and tripped in a gopher hole and fell. She was expecting another child, had complications and passed away.” (Oct. 21, 1928)

“In May of 1929 our Aunt Ivy came from [Hampstead, London] England to look after the family. They were married within six months.”

George and Ivy married on August 19, 1929 in Vernon, B.C. and by all accounts Ivy was a loving mother to the three children. Ivy passed away in 1948 and George passed away in 1972.

Margaret attended the school of nursing at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria in 1942 and graduated in 1944. She found work at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, but took a six month leave to nurse her stepmother who was failing. At that time Margaret met Robert (Bob) Douglas Jackson from the Mt. Ida District, Salmon Arm, and the couple were married May 18, 1948. The Jacksons had five children: Barbara, Margaret Elizabeth (Betty), Douglas Ian, and twins Garth and Gordon. All the children were born at the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. Gordon and Garth were premature and Gordon passed away at the age of one month.

While raising her family and working on the farm, Margaret continued to nurse, initially providing homecare to people who needed help. Soon she was asked to come in to work in the hospital when extra help was needed. This became a full time job that she enjoyed. Margaret Jackson died February 26, 2011. Robert (Bob) died December 18, 1990.

Gordon Priestman
MS 146 · Person · 1936-2003

According to his obituary, long time Salmon Arm Observer editor Gordon (Gord) Priestman was born, August 4, 1936, and raised in Toronto and Muskoka, Ont.

After completing his education, Gordon travelled in industrial sales for several years, freelance writing as a sideline. In 1964 he moved to British Columbia and, after a brief stay in Vancouver, accepted a post as reporter/editor for the Merritt Herald. A year-and-a-half later he became editor of the Powell River News in addition to two smaller papers.

The family moved to Salmon Arm April 1, 1967 when Gordon became editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, a position he was to hold for most of the next 33 years. During that period his column, “Observations,” was a popular feature and both the paper and Gordon were recipients of a number of newspaper industry awards.

A lifelong Social Democrat, he took a leave of absence to run for the NDP Party in the 1986 provincial election. He then returned to the Observer, retiring for health reasons in December 1998.

Gordon was always interested in the arts—writing, music and painting. He loved the outdoors, including camping, canoeing and observing nature. Until middle years he was active in a number of sports. He was involved with numerous local organizations, was a member of the Salmar Community Association, was a life member of the Fall Fair Society and a director of the Shuswap Community Foundation.

Gordon died August 4, 2003. He was survived by Faye Fawcett, his wife and companion of 19 years, his three children and his beloved pets.

Ruth Adair Peterson
MS 148 · Person · 1921-2008

When Ruth Adair Peterson (nee Brooke) died August 1, 2008 in Reno, Nevada, a succession of remarkable events repatriated to Salmon Arm a collection of significant paintings which celebrate a lovely story, a loving family, and its community.

More than three hundred paintings by Ruth’s father, Arthur Adair Brooke, were found under her bed wrapped in a cotton pillow slip and tied with a green ribbon. They came “home”. The one-of-a-kind collection was archival in every sense of the word. It spanned an important period of time and documented rural life in the Mt. Ida District of Salmon Arm.

Ruth’s story begins in 1921. Life on the Brookes’ farm, Asterfield, was unexpectedly interrupted with her birth. She was a fourth child and the first daughter to middle aged parents Arthur Adair and Annie Florence Brooke. She was given her mother’s maiden name and raised like an only child, adored by her adult brothers. Family members tell us her parents were strict Baptists. Ruth left home to attend business school in Calgary. It was there she met the love of her life, a divorced American baseball player named Bill Peterson. Ruth followed Bill to the States and they were married in 1951. Ruth and her new husband lived in Oakland, California and Reno, Nevada. The couple had a long marriage until Bill’s death in 1985.

But the story really began with the artist. Born in Rome in 1874, Arthur Adair Brooke had a long journey to Salmon Arm, British Columbia. The eldest child of Arthur Swindells and Amelia Adair Brooke had little memory at the age of two of moving with his family to Switzerland. His father was a professional watercolour artist and supported the family of 9 surviving children by painting landscapes.

When A.A. Brooke finished secondary school he was sent to England before emigrating to Canada in 1890. The first stop in Canada was Manitoba where he learned to farm under the tutelage of Joseph Merry at the Barnsley Farm Home. Four years later, Brooke began working his own farm.

Brooke married Annie Florence Ruth in 1898. Their first son, Harold Arthur, was born at Barnsley two years later. The family moved to Didsbury, Alberta, and two more sons joined the family, Ralph Edward in 1902 and Ernest Cuthbert in 1903. A.A. Brooke worked a homestead and received his Western Land Grant in 1904.

Alberta was not to be the end of the journey. Brooke sold the homestead and its improvements, and moved the household west after purchasing 60 acres of the Goforth farm in the Mt. Ida District near Salmon Arm. They arrived by train in 1907 with two loads of settlers’ effects and set up residence, naming their new home Asterfield.

Still adjusting to retirement, the couple moved again, this time south to another farming community, Cloverdale in the Fraser Valley. Arthur Adair spent his remaining years painting.

Annie Florence passed away December 6th, 1957. After her death, Arthur ached with loneliness and moved to Siska Lodge at Lytton, B.C. to be with his son Harold. He kept busy painting watercolours to sell in the Lodge’s coffee shop.

Arthur Adair was a prolific artist and left a legacy of a significant body of work. The farmer artist sketched images all his life, using his drawings as inspiration for later watercolours. His landscapes depict Switzerland, Ireland, Manitoba, Alberta, Alaska, and British Columbia. Numerous watercolours and sketches are held in private collections, at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, the Dufferin Historical Society Museum in Carman, Manitoba and the Salmon Arm Museum. But his best work is said to be Ruth’s baby books that document his daughter's early life.

Arthur died thirteen months after Annie on January 13, 1959.

June Griswold
MS 152 · Person · 2005-2013

June Stacel [1926 – 2013] was born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. June spent her youth in logging camps in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.
In 1952 June met logger Harry Griswold in Oregon. They were married 1 month later and the marriage lasted 54 years. The couple had 2 children, Nola and Julia.

June was Curator at the S.S. Moyie in Kaslo and was involved with the Kootenay Lake Historical Society. The couple moved to the Shuswap in 1990 and became involved with the Spallumcheen Pioneer Power Club.

June played a key role developing the Seed Savers Group, was a supporter of the Salmon Arm Community Band, and the Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake Agricultural Association (Fall Fair).