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Kimberley Families

The Sorensen Family


as told by Chris

The Sorensen Family arrived in Kimberley during the summer of 1937. My Father, Chris L Sorensen and his Brother Carl came here to play hockey for the Kimberley Dynamiters, then a Senior Hockey Team. They were both Professional hockey players, playing for Calgary and Portland. We came from Calgary where they were both born.

The families arrival in the East Kootenays was acually a lot earlier than that. Chris and Carl's Grandfather on their mothers side, Mr. John H Turner, lived in the Fort Steele and Cranbrook area in the 1890's. This was during the Wild Horse Gold Rush Days.

Carl and Chris continued to play for the Dynamiters until the Early 1940's and both worked for The CM&S Co, now Teck Cominco. Carl returned to Calgary and joined Imperial Oil Company (ESSO). Chris continued with Cominco until 1947. When we arrived in Kimberley, there were 4 of us. Dad (Chris L) our Mother (Matilda), Vivian born in 1932 and Chris V born in 1936. We first lived on Chapman Street in Lower Blarchmont and then moved to 2nd Avenue in Townsite.

The Business Beginning

On July 1st of 1947, Chris L (Dad) purchased a small Grocery Store next to the Kimberley Hotel on Spokane Street in Downtown Kimberley. Business was pretty slow during the first month. The total sales for the month was a whopping $3422.00.( The whole month). Dad borrowed $200.00 from his Father, Carl T Sorensen (who also came to Kimberley to help run the store) so he could pay the bills. Chris L also worked evenings serving beer at The Kimberley to help for the first few months. In 1948, our sister Kathy was born. Business was getting better and things were great living in Kimberley. During the late 40's and early 50's, Our mother's sister and brother came to Kimberley. The Sorensen's are related to the Leinweber and McLay families living here in Kimberley. Tragedy struck the family in May of 1950. Our mother Matilda died of a rare disease. It struck again in September 1956, as Dad, Chris L was killed in a car accident.

Chris Sorensen

Life Continued On - The Family

In 1953, Vivian married Roy G Moe and I, Chris V married Dianne J Cox. Kathy married Barry Clarkein 1969. Roy and Vivian had 2 children. Roy P. Moe and Sandy Moe. Roy was married and has 2 daughters. Nickayla and Kassandra. Sandy and wife Lorrette have a daughter Sigrid and a son Steven.
Chris and Dianne had 5 children. Jacquelyn (Jackie) is married to Bill Quinn and have 2 children from a prior marriage. Nicole and Shaun Bird. Nicole has 2 children, Ashley M and Colten. Shaun has 2 children, Zachery and Tyson Chris V's daughter Roberta (Bobbie) who lives in Kimberley, is married to Robert Seifried. They have 3 Children, Olivia, Abrial and Elliot. Daughter Geraldine (Gerry) is married to Brendan Lenihan and have 2 children, Jessica and Nicholas. Nicholas is in the US Army and is married to Jutta, who came from Germany .Chris V's son Bill, lives in Kimberley is married to Maureen Seymour. Bill has a son Robert. John L is married to Mary-Jane Weir and have 1 son, Phillip. Kathy has 2 Children, Kristi, who is married to Wade Johnson and has 2 sons, Jessie and Kailer. David, who lives in Kimberley, is married to Kara and has 1 son, Nathan.

The Business World

After 1956, Sorensen's Food Mart continued on Spokane Street. in downtown Kimberley. On June 1st in the year 1960, we moved into our new supermarket, SUPER VALU #61 on Ross Street. All the family worked in the store at various times including the children as they grew old enough. In 1965 we purchased the Sylvia Motel and the adjacent Purity 99 service station. We relocated the position of the Motel and built a new full service Shell Service Station known as Sylvia Shell Service. Vivian and Kathy managed and operated the Motel for the next few years. Roy Sr. worked with me at Super Valu. I managed the store and Roy operated a Farm feed business and all the maintenance for both businesses.

We sold the Super-Valu in 1978. In 1974, I aquired the Franchise for McDonalds Restaurant in Cranbrook. I sold the Restaurant in 1989. In 1975 we changed the Shell Auto Service Station to a Video Pop-Shoppe and Gas Bar. This continued until 1990 when we renovated to be a modern Convenience Store. My sons Bill and John operated the Convenience Store.

In the years 1986 to 1997 John's wife Mary- Jane owned and operated Weirs Flowers & Gifts which she had received from her parents. In 1997 my son John and myself purchased the Marysville Petro- Can. We demolished the old building and built a modern Convenience Store in the same location. We sold the Shell operation in 2006 and the Petro Can in 2008. John has since moved to West Kelowna.

In 2006 Bill purchased and operates Kimberley Appliance Repair and still continues today. I have since that date retired.

Family Activities

Our whole Family were very active in sports and recreation during our lives. Vivian was an excellent badminton player in her younger years. Both Vivian and husband Roy were ardent hikers and mountain climbers. Roy climbed Mount Teepee 89 times. They were also great skiers. Roy was instrumental in the construction of our present Ski Hill. Roy Jr. and Sandy were great skiers also, both downhill and cross country.They both competed in Provincial and National Championships.

I was into 5-pin Bowling and Old Timers hockey I competed in 2 Canadian Championship Bowling events and was part of the East Kootenay Oldtimers Hockey Team that won the Canadian Championship A division in 1977.

My wife Dianne was also a good bowler and curler. She represented BC at a Canadian Championship in bowling and was a member of a Lady Curling Team from Kimberley and represented B.C. that competed in the Canadian Championship Scott Tournament of Hearts and finished in 3rd place. Other members were Mae Shaw, Barb Hryciuk and Dot Musser.

Daughter Jackie was an ardent 5-pin Bowler in her younger years. She also was a recreationl skier. Roberta has been a Runner and Bike Rider and skier all her life and recently has been competing in Triathalons at Wasa Lake. Bill played hockey here in Kimberley and attended Notre Dame College in Wilcox Saskatchewn where he played hockey and soccer. He also was a member of the cast of the movie The Hounds of Notre Dame.

John was also an ardent bowler and was a distance runner in his early years. Both Bill and John are also recreational skiers.

Gearaldine was the most famous of the Family. She began skiing at 10 years of age. She developed her abilities here in Kimberley as a member of the North Star Racers. She continued on to the BC Ski Teamand then to the Canadian National Womens Team winning numerous BC and Canadian Titles. The highlight of her career was the winning of the World Championship Womans Downhill in 1982 in Austria. She was then ranked No. 1 Womens Downhill Skier of the world. Gerry also had 5 World Cup victories and many top 10 placings. Gerry retired after the Sarajevo Olympics. She now golf's competitively and has won womens Club Championships in Coeur'dlene Idaho.

Chris and Gerry Sorensen

Kathy is very active in the Ski World. She has skied all her life and has been a Ski Instructor at our Ski Hill here in Kimberley. Kathy also competed in Provincial and National Ski Champioships in her younger years She is the oldest and one of the original Members of Kimberley's famous Steppin Out Dancers, who have been performing since 1984. They have been performing throughout the Kootenays and in the Spokane area.

Living In Kimberley

Our Family grew up and lived in Kimberley during the greatest times. I am thankfull for the vision our Parents had in moving to Kimberley. I have travelled to many places in the world and always am happy to return home.

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