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Kimberley Families

The Rogers Family


as told by son, Bill

John (Jack) Joseph Rogers was born in Quincy, Massachusetts. He was a baseball player and, wherever he went, the job he held was not important as long as he was on a baseball team. His first trip into Canada was to Nova Scotia on the East Coast. For a time he was in Didsbury, Alberta, and he was working for the C.P.R. in Medicine Hat in 1917 when he married Jean Lowe of that city. By 1918, he was working in the shipyards in Vancouver and played ball for the Vancouver Commercial League as first baseman when they won the West Coast Championship.

In 1923 he worked for Otis Staples Lumber Co. and played ball. During 1925, Jack moved to Kimberley and worked as a carpenter. The building of the Ritz Cafe was one of his first jobs and Jean and Jack lived in a small two-room shack on Wallinger Ave. just back of the Canadian Hotel. Bill remembers when the L.D. Cafe caught fire and was completely gutted. By 1927 they got a house and in 1929 they moved into an apartment near the hospital and finally to a home of their own on 4th Ave. on the Townsite. Jean did not like Kimberley at first and kept returning to Medicine Hat every year or so, but she returned to stay in 1929. Bill, their son, received some of his elementary schooling in Medicine Hat and some in, Kimberley. Miss Diebolt was his first teacher here.

Jack worked for the Company as a timberman, underground. During the war, he was a guard on the Mine trestle and later a guard on the gate to the Mine. He died at sixty-two in 1954. Jean lived to be 60 and died March, 1952.

Bill quit school after grade eleven and began working for the Company in 1935. He was on the line gang with Red Kirby, Tom Murphy and Oran Hayden and earned $1.65 per day. In 1936 he worked at the Dry with Jimmy Robinson and Vic Cond, but Bill Lindsay, the boss, fired Bill Roskilly and Bill Rogers with orders to go back to school and finish grade twelve. Instead, Bill managed to go back to work in April of 1937 on the track gang, underground, working with Les Mawsen and Hughie Price.

In November of 1941, Bill signed up with the Air Force. He received his basic training in Edmonton Manning Pool, Alberta, then he was sent on guard duty in Fort Macleod. He was then posted to elementary flying school in Regina. By 1943, he was in Prince Edward Island attending reconnaissance school and in April of that year he sailed from Halifax with a convoy of 47 vessels on the M.V. America. Just seven days at sea, south of Greenland, they were torpedoed and within ten minutes, the ship sank. Of the 154 men aboard, fifty-three were rescued by a corvette after three hours in 20 F. rough water. Following a medical check-up and two weeks leave in England, Bill received more training and by 1944 he was posted to a squadron flying Beaufighters in India and Burma. Bill participated in 37 operational trips over Burma.

No. 262. Daughter Margaret (Peg), Mrs. Jean Rogers, John (Jack) 
Rogers, and son, William (Bill) Rogers

He returned to Kimberley in November, 1945 and married Margaret Murray in December. She was born in Frank, Alberta, and trained as a nurse in Edmonton. She came to nurse in Kimberley in 1940 when Miss Milburn was Matron and Miss Farnum Head Nurse. During the war, Marg. was a nurse in the Air Force, stationed in Calgary.

Bill and Marg had two sons, John and Doug. John was studying Chemical Engineering when illness caused him to quit. He died of Multiple Sclerosis when only 29. Doug is working in Calgary.

When Bill returned to Kimberley in 1945, he went to work in the Electric Shop at the Mine with Walter Marusyk and Ben Schorheim. He worked on the timber gang underground until 1956. He then went into the Engineering Office until 1969 when he became the Mine model Technician until his retirement in 1978, after forty-two years service with the Company.

Bill was a Director with the Ski Club and Project Society, when they were building the T-Bar in 1957and 1958.He remembers some of the early members of the Ski Club: Arne and Alf Christenson, Frank Heistad and Arnie Moen. Bill later acted on the Benevolent Society. He enjoys fishing and both cross-country and downhill skiing as well as golf. Both he and Marg belong to the Alpine Club of Canada and they have taken many back-packing trips into remote lakes on hiking trails over mountain ranges. They have experienced canoe trips, one was on the Bowron Lakes. They plan to stay in Kimberley.

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