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Remembering a year of meeting people

Part 2 of 2 A look back at a year of interesting personalities: Otto Arndt was born in Germany in 1939 and later came to Canada. He worked for a timber marking crew for the forest service and lived in a cabin in the Hart Highway area.

Part 2 of 2

A look back at a year of interesting personalities:

Otto Arndt was born in Germany in 1939 and later came to Canada. He worked for a timber marking crew for the forest service and lived in a cabin in the Hart Highway area. He married Janice Rowan, the girl across the street.

At the age of 20 and with two suitcases of his worldly belongings in hand, Bill Bosnich said a big goodbye to his family in northern Ontario and headed west. He got a job at the Canfor Plywood Mill in New Westminster in 1958 and a few years later he met and married Donna MacMillan. The couple moved to Pineview and in 2001 he retired after many years as a carpenter. In their retirement Bill and Donna have been enjoying their volunteer work at the Pineview Hall and by entertaining the community through their involvement with the Forever Young Chorus, the Country Cuzzins and the drama club at the Elder Citizens Recreation Centre.

Mae (Jardin) Campbell was born in Torch River, Saskatchewan in 1929; at the age of 21 she arrived in Prince George to visit some family members and she has been here ever since.

Betty (Morris) Townsend was born in Rich Valley, Alberta in 1928. Betty came to B.C. to work for the well advertised berry excursion and she has been here ever since. She said, "I am now 87 years old, I have outlived many of my life long friends and I miss them all. I am thankful for the senior centres, the friendships that I find there and for a place to go for companionship, to play cards and to hopefully win at Bingo."

Les Waldie was born in Nelson 75 years ago and not once in those 75 years did he ever have to go to school on his birthday and most of the time he had the day off from work as well; the reason being that he was born on Christmas Day. He met and married Carol (Larsen) Waldie who was born and raised in the East Kootenays while Les was raised on the other side in the West Kootenays: fate brought them face to face in 1966 at a meeting in the pulp mill in Prince Rupert.

Northern Hardware's 71 year employee Hilliard Clare was born in Big Valley, Alberta in 1929. Hilliard is one of the many longtime staff members of Northern Hardware, a landmark cornerstone of Prince George. He officially retired in August 2016. Congratulations Hilliard on a well-deserved retirement. Farewell, and as Harold Moffat used to say about his store, "If we don't have it, you don't need it!"

War bride Audrey (Tipping) Kelly was born in 1932 in Kent, England. It was during her work in Germany with the UN that she met her husband, a Canadian soldier named Jack Kelly. They arrived in Prince George in 1966 and made the city their permanent home. The pulp mills had just arrived and Prince George was thriving.

Three time team member and past winner of the Curl BC Senior Men Championship Ronald (Ron) Backman was born in Prince George in 1935. Ron Backman grew up in Giscome. He was 21 and it was at this point in time that he met and married the love of his life Louise Blair who was working at the candy counter at the Five to a Dollar Store located across the street from the Northern Hardware Store.

Syl Meise was born in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan in 1935; he was 13 years old when he arrived in Prince George with his family in 1948. He remembers wooden sidewalks and a population of approximately 3,500. He met and married Linda Beck from the Okanagan Valley after a long distance courtship. Syl retired in 2000 after 20 years of a bus driving career. The most memorable and disturbing event of his bus driving career was in February of 1990 when three teenagers pulled guns and hijacked the school bus, taking Syl and 13 students as hostage on a regular afternoon run from the Prince George Secondary School to Hixon.

Erwin Stoll, the youngest of five children, was born in Prussia, Germany in 1933; in 1975 he purchased the 600 acre town site of Sinclair Mills for $84,000 which was a huge amount of money 40 years ago.

Rose Pho Dorish of Russian descent was born in Estavan, Saskatchewan in 1927. The family celebrates 100 years in Canada after leaving Odessa, Russia in the year of 1913. She owned and operated The House of Flowers; a florist shop that thrived because of her belief in a quality product and the delivery of good service.

Retired school teacher, Irene (Campbell) Rigler was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1923. Irene taught school for 18 years and retired and then went back to teaching for yet another ten years. Irene said, "After I retired I taught again as a substitute for a further 10 years. I just hated to give it up. The children and my profession were all so important to me. I would still be teaching today if I could."

Hugo Riske was born in Borodino, Romania in 1934; he came to Canada to visit his sister in Kitimat. He was 23 when he packed his belongings into a 1949 Meteor two-door sedan with hardly any floor boards left in it and decided to head to Edmonton to look for work. He had more gravel and dust inside the car than there was outside of the car. He stopped in Prince George to rest, met and married Ursula Kusterer, the love of his life, and he has been here ever since.

Retired federal government employee Rae McIntyre was born in Trail in 1935. There was a time when beekeeping kept Rae busy on an almost daily basis.

Margaret (Boudreau) Humphreys was born and raised in Penny in 1934. When she was 17 she married her long time friend John Humphreys who was born is Swift Current, Saskatchewan. Margaret said, "If we wanted to come into Prince George to shop or see a doctor we all had to board the train in Penny in the dark at 1 a.m. and when the train arrived in Prince George we had to wait in the offices or lobbies of the hotels, along with our children until the businesses opened. It was a time when there was no such thing as appointments - you just showed up and waited."

When they were finished with all their business they would catch the train back to Penny and arrive home at 10 pm that night. There were many times that it was minus 30 when they arrived home; the children did not complain because they just knew that all of this was their way of life.

Swede Peterson of German and Swedish descent was born in Comox in 1934 and his wife of 62 years Amelia Zimmaro of Italian descent was born in 1930 in Prince George; she is the last living child of Columbus Hotel builders and owners Louis and Teresina Zimmaro. Swede Peterson arrived in Prince George in 1951. He went to work for Imperial Oil when he was 22 and worked there for the next 35 years. Swede said, "I hauled fuel to all the logging camps, service stations and the airport. There was a time that I could easily name all the old logging camps that dotted the entire Prince George area."

Lifelong Prince George resident and war veteran Bill Blackburn was born in New Westminster in 1926; he married Bernice (Bernie) Kish in 1996. Bernie was born in 1941 in New Westminster, moved to Prince George in 1967 and worked as a nurse at the Simon Fraser Lodge from 1975 to 1985. Bill and his team of ten paddlers called Les Voyageurs canoed 5,282 kilometers over a period of 104 days across Canada to Montreal in 1967 in celebration of Canada's 100th birthday. He was the chief voyager of the B.C. Canoe Team and they placed second in the competition.

Art Stauble was born in Switzerland he married his school friend Yvonne Zumsteg in 1956. He was elected alderman (city councilor) for the City of Prince George in 1974 and went on to serve on council for many years. He is now 91 years old and the couple recently celebrated 60 years of marriage.

Retired school teacher and soccer enthusiast Walter Hanik was born in 1939 and grew up in East Germany. He married Joyce Hanik a school teacher who mainly taught grades one and two and specialized in special education. Walter taught Grades 11 and 12 math for 34 years. He organized the grand masters division of the B.C. Indoor Soccer League. They first played at the Roller Dome but now they play at the Northern Sport Centre.

George Kostas Blanis, aka George the Barber was born in 1937 in Diava Kalabaka, Greece. He has worked as a barber steadily for the past 52 years with forced time off when the Simon Fraser Hotel was sold to the Days Inn Prince George Hotel. He intends to keep on doing what he does best and has no plans to retire. George said, "I was born to be a barber."

Retired World War II veteran and Royal Canadian Air Force pilot Jack Milburn was born in Clinton in 1921. The day he saw his first helicopter on a forestry job site he immediately knew that he had to fly a helicopter so he changed jobs and joined up with Okanagan Helicopters and they started an office in Prince George. The new company hired out to clients in industries such as the pulp mills, oil and gas pipe lines and forest management. They could do what float planes could not do. They could land along side a river or on a sand bar and almost any clearing including a moose meadow making it easy to check out lumber stands or anything else these companies needed to do. Jack retired 27 years later at the age of 62. During those 27 years he took on some very interesting overseas jobs.

Erich Bertram was born in 1931 in Rhineland Palatinate, Germany; he met teletype and key punch operator Helga Goerlitz and left his job in the pharmaceutical industry and they headed to Canada. Erich said, "We have never regretted coming to Prince George. I liked it here immediately and I was never homesick for the old country. I can not say the same for Helga. She was extremely homesick for her family and the logging camp life was really hard on her. She stayed, she raised the children and now we are growing old together. We are both thankful for our family and our friends and it just doesn't get any better than that."

Nick and Jackie (Glover) Maslen, both of English descent left England and arrived in Canada in 1967. Jackie said, "We were married on a Friday in England and by Sunday we were in Toronto for lunch. That was in 1967 and at that point in time we only intended to stay in Canada for two years. Well, that has turned out to be the longest two years in history because we have been here ever since."

David Jenkins was born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta in 1943 meanwhile Johanna (Rees) Jenkins a first generation Canadian of Dutch and Welsh descent, was born in Vancouver in 1946. She met her future husband David while spending the summer at her uncle's grain farm in Fort Saskatchewan. David was called to the bar in 1968 in a ceremony at the old Vancouver Court House. David, Robin Heather and Murray Sadler started their own law firm (Heather Sadler and Jenkins) in 1972 in Prince George and he has practiced law here ever since. Johanna studied Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy. In 1969 she was the first UBC graduate to head north to Prince George to work as a staff physio at the Prince George Regional Hospital.