Pioneering in business was local couple's niche

Herbert J. Maxwell was born in Assiniboia, a town in Southern Saskatchewan in 1925. He arrived in Prince George in the early 1950s and first worked for the Imperial Tobacco company selling tobacco products to retail stores.

Later, he worked for Rush Wholesale and then moved on to work for Empire Acceptance Corp. He specialized in finance, sales, promoted investment opportunities and sold Occidental Life Insurance.

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He remembers when his company worked on a project to raise money to get Central Interior Cablevision (which was eventually bought out by Shaw Cable) up and running in Prince George.

Herb was instrumental in applying for a radio and cablevision license with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to cover the area from Prince George to 100 Mile House.

The CRTC began life in 1976 when the commission became responsible for monitoring and regulating all telecommunication carriers in Canada.

Herb attended all the hearings and at the same time he sold shares in the cablevision company.

Selling shares in a company that was not licensed and not yet in business was a venture that was never done before. Herb investigated the entire project, held meetings and talked with all the proper authorities until he was finally authorized to sell the shares with the caveat that if the CRTC did not authorize and approve a proper operating license for the cablevision company then the investment money would all be returned to the investors in its entirety. Getting the approval to sell the shares was actually more difficult than selling the shares.

He ventured into real estate and worked as a salesman for Ron Carson Real Estate for ten years. He went into business for himself and owned and operated Savecom Realty for eight years; his office was on the corner of Fifth and Carney.

He saw a need in Prince George for a scaffolding business so he started Western Staging Ltd. and owned and operated the company from 1985 to 1995.

Herb said, "I was active in one business or another all my life and I actually never really retired - I just faded away. My life has been very rewarding and I met so many great people. I helped a lot of people behind the scenes without making a bunch of waves."

Carol interjected and said, "Herb was always honest, kind, generous and well respected by everyone."

His wife to be, Carol McDermid was born in Edmonton in 1935. The family eventually moved to Prince George in 1954.

Her mother was working as an accountant in the office where Herb was working and many times Herb drove her home from work. Her mother often told Herb that he should come in and meet her daughter but of course he declined.

Herb laughed and said, "Finally one day she absolutely gave me no choice and dragged me in to meet Carol. I didn't know it but I was about to meet the love of my life and the rest is history."

Carol managed movie theatres for over 30 years. She managed the Princess and the Strand movie theatre and the Star Time and Moonlight drive in theatres as well as other theatres in Kelowna and Revelstoke.

Carol said, "The once independent movie theatres were doing well; with the dawn of the moving picture everyone went to the movies and were willing to pay for the privilege to see what they could not see anywhere else.

"We started the $2.50 Tuesday movie night and we had overflow lineups from the theatre down the back ally all the way to Pat's News and up past the Professional Centre on Third Avenue.

"Those were wonderful days. The kids were great; they always greeted me and said, 'Hello Mrs. M'. I am now 83 years old and they still stop and say 'Hello Mrs. M'.

"Business was booming for movie theatres until new business ideas, changes to film distribution and the arrival of the Famous Players and Odeon Theatres came along. This was the start of the elimination of many of the smaller motion picture theatres. Later, when television came along the small theatres were basically eliminated.

"I did the newspaper ad layouts in the afternoon and ran the theatre in the evening while Herb took care of the children. He was always there waiting for me when I got off work and then we talked about our day."

Over the years Carol worked as an accountant for Bryant Motors, Shiels Motors, the City of Prince George, the Prince George Hospital and ten years in the security department at the University of Northern BC.

She was an active volunteer and a member of the Prince George RCMP Victim Services for 13 years; a group that offers support 24/7 to victims of crime and trauma.

Herb has been a member of the Prince George Masonic Lodge since 1968 and has since gone through all the chairs of the organization both locally and provincially.

He was one of the very first initiates of the Prince Lodge with D'Arcy Cavenaugh and George Baldwin being the two Masons who signed his application.

Herb and Carol had two children; Shawn and Grace (Lowell) Dumonceaux.They are so proud to say that they have two grandchildren and one great grandchild with another one on the way.

Herb concluded by saying, "Carol and I got married in 1956 in the annex of St Michael's Anglican Church on Fifth Avenue. The annex was the actual church in 1955. That was 62 years ago and many things have passed before our eyes all these years. "I will soon be 93 years old and it is hard for me to remember a lot of things these days. The one thing I can say for sure is that meeting and then marrying Carol was the highlight of my life. She was always the same and only got better with each passing year. In fact, if it wasn't for Carol we would not have had the life we had. She was always by my side, always supporting me in everything I did and I thank her for a wonderful marriage. Now we are spending our time with our family and friends and just growing older together."

Carol added, "Herb and I have had a good life together and I wouldn't change one minute of it."

January birthdays that I know about: Bill Bond, Hilda Fichtner, Charlotte Hellyer, Rolland Chartrand, Ann Neville, Laura Sandberg, Franca Pascuzzi, Terri Meyer, Joy Wikjord, Jean Bayne, Tom Hynd, James McConaghy, Lyn Thibault, Sharon Vincent, Ken Goss, Wayne Hamlin, Mary Hamlin, Marilyn Hinton, Tanna Dofka, Gail Horvath, Dianne Humphreys, Diane Rose, Keith Young, Richard Winnig, Lorraine Anderson, Darlene King, Cecile LeFebvre, Ann Wiebe, Charlie Forden, Flo Connaghan, Lois Keim, Kathy Rosenau, Phil Sciara, Joan Pitcher, Roy Christens, John Darchuck, Lena Enns, Alice Henderson, Doreen Hewlett, Betty Pidhirny, Deanna Carter, Bonnie Meikle, Clarence Harmon, Pearl Hiebert, Doreen Erickson, Ed Ventress, Jolanda Van Dyk, Ida Bosham, Leslie Doucette, Rusty Hoff, Diane Hubbell, Keith Young, Fran Dods, Walter Shelest and Victoria Gutfriend who just turned 101.

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