The Thorleifson Family
as told by daughters Helga and Ranka
Before the turn of the century, several families from Iceland immigrated to Canada and settled on farmland in Saskatchewan. Two of these were the Reykjalins and the Thorleifsons. Peter Curt Thorleifson was seventeen years old at the time.
In 1900 he married Ranka Reykj alin in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, and farmed in the Worley area. Ten children were born while they lived there. Sigrid, Albert, Gundy, Ruby, Helga, Ranka, Laura, Jon, Peter and Kory.
In 1924 Peter came to Kimberley and worked at the Mine carpenter shop. This was when the Company was building the houses on McDougall Townsite. He was one of the carpenters that worked on the Lindsay residence. In 1925 his family moved west to Cranbrook until a house became available in Kimberley in 1926.
Sigrid (Sigga) married Nels Moe before the family left Saskatchewan, they were living in The Pas, Manitoba where two sons Irving and Roy were born. Nels lost an arm in an industrial accident, so they too moved to Kimberley. Irving Moe now lives in Vancouver and Roy is still in Kimberley working at the Super-Valu Store. Nels passed away in 1959.Later, Sigga married Carl Sorenson.
Albert (Bert) remained a bachelor and moved to Vancouver, he remained there until his death in 1949.
Gundy was one of the first telephone operators in Kimberley, when the Kootenay Telephone Company opened an exchange in 1926. She continued to work for the B.C. Telephone Company when they took over. She transferred to the Cranbrook exchange in the mid 1940's. After her retirement she moved to Vancouver.
Ruby married Leslie Reykjalin and they had one son, Bill, now living in Tempe, Arizona, since 1950.
Helga attended high school in Cranbrook and in 1929 she too started working at the telephone office. At that time, only one operator on each shift was needed on duty. There were three operators altogether. With the two day operators alternating day and evening shifts. Helga was the steady night operator for fifteen years. In those days the girls stoked the furnace and Helga gives much thanks to Sammy the taxi driver as he would drive up so that his lights would shine in the basement window until the job was done. In 1936 Helga was chosen Ski Carnival Queen. Then in 1940 she moved to Vancouver and took up hairdressing and operated a shop of her own until she retired in 1978.
When Ranka finished high school she went to work for the Fink Mercantile for the short time they had a store in Kimberley. She then worked for the Company store. She married Jack MacSporran who worked in the mine for the Company. They have five children, all receiving their schooling in Kimberley. Three of their children still live in Kimberley and the two youngest are now in Vancouver. Son, Bob married Vanda Gatto and they have four children. He is a shift boss underground. Dick married Shera Prewast. He also works for the Company underground. Judy married Grant Scott who works in the Electric Shop at the Mine, while she works in the Company General office. They have one son. Kathie and John are in Vancouver.
Jack worked for the Company for over forty years before being pensioned off due to ill health. He passed away in 1975.
Laura, Jon, Peter jr. and Kory all completed their schooling in Kimberley. Laura married Ken Cutts. They have one son and reside in Vancouver.
Jon married Edna Muir, they have five children that all live in Vancouver. Jon worked for the Company underground and passed away in 1976.
Peter married Pearl Netzel. They have one daughter, Joanne, now Mrs. Thom. The Thoms have two children. Peter just recently retired in 1978. Both Jon and Peter saw action during the war. Jon was in the Air Force and Peter was in the Army. Kory is still single and also lives in Vancouver.
When Mr. Thorleifson, Sr. retired he and Mrs. Thorleifson retired to Vancouver but both are buried in the Kimberley cemetery.
Helga and Ranka both agree that Kimberley is a grand place to grow up in and they had the best times any child could have had.
Helga often comes back for a visit and is finding it exciting to see all the changes. Since the city has become Bavarianized it is indeed a beautiful place.