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Kimberley Families

The Torgeson Family
as told by son, Don

Clarence Torgeson was born on a homestead near Ponoka, Alberta. He married Elizabeth Turner and had one son, Don, born in Edmonton, before coming to Kimberley in 1927. Clarence was an electrician for the East Kootenay Power Company and in 1930 he was working in Fernie where the family lived for a year.

Don was only seven years old when his father died in 1931.He started school in Kimberley and Miss Ruth Soderholm was his first teacher. He attended one year in Fernie and finished his schooling in Kimberley.

Don's mother was always called Torgy. There was no welfare or social assistance in those days and in order to keep herself and Don, she competed with the Chinese laundry for awhile by taking in washing. She worked in the Home Inn Cafe for about four years when it was located where Laura's Dress Shop now stands. It was next door to Andersons Meat Market. She worked for Johnny Achtzener who purchased Chatsons Store and she also worked for Jim Morrison when he ran the Foodland where Woogman's now stands.

Torgy married George Shaw.

In 1946, Torgy got the position of housekeeper and hostess at the Company Guest House in Chapman Camp, where all visiting officials were housed during their frequent inspections of Company operations. She held this position until 1967and passed away in 1969.

Don joined the navy in 1941 and was a telegrapher on a frigate on escort duty during the war. He received his basic training at Calgary, Toronto and Halifax, which was home port for the duration.

Their ports of call were Bermuda, Liverpool and Portsmouth and they were involved in the North Atlantic run most of the time.

The city was incorporated in 1944, while he was away. Don began working for the City of Kimberley as an office boy following one year at U.B.C. He did clerical work when Mr. Corker was the City Clerk. Tina Pedrotti was the stenographer, Stan Shayler was City Engineer and Louis Baldeniro was on the City works crew. He became City Clerk when Mr. Corker left.

He married Muriel Duncan, the daughter of William (Bill) Duncan, a timberman in the Mine.

Before her marriage, Muriel worked in the Post Office for J. S. Fisher. She also worked there when Stan Prime was Post Master and later for Floyd Waldie.

They have three children: Donna, Craig and Dyne. Donna trained as a nurse at Victoria General Hospital where she still works. Craig is a pilot for Air Canada working out of Montreal. Dyne is still attending U.B.C. taking a course in Commerce.

Muriel's sister Effa Duncan, use to work for Tony Muraca's and later for the Mark Creek Store in the grocery department. She married Ken Wiken, an R.C.M.P. officer who was transferred to Nelson where they still reside. They had one son, Kenneth.

Some of Don's memories of the early days were the 1st of July celebrations with its parade and, on Easter Sundays, it used to be an annual event to walk down the track to Marysville and have a picnic at Mark Creek Falls.

He recalls the fun of riding the train from town to Chapman Camp.

Mr. Wallace, the baker, had a contest and for every twenty bread wrappers that were turned in, he gave a free ticket to the show. Don was privileged as at this time his mother ran the Home Inn Cafe and he always got his show tickets free.

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