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Kimberley Families

The Walker Family
as told by Johnny

Johnny was born in Breckin, Scotland, in 1890. When he was eighteen he came to Canada to join a half brother in Ryan, B.C. He recalls a few hours stop in Winnipeg, where four of them all from Breckin, walked around to see the city, and standing on a corner they recognized another group of people from their home town. It is a small world!

He arrived in Ryan in May, 1908.In the course of events, he met Elizabeth (Bessie) Lythgoe, whose aunt and uncle had purchased C.P.R. fruit land near Yahk. Bessie and Johnny were married in 1915.

Johnny got a job as section foreman for the C.P.R. and worked with them for over seventeen years. They had three children; Alice, Ernest, and Lenny. His job was checking the tracks between Yahk and Kingsgate, using a handcar. He had several close calls with the trains. Once while checking the tracks, he had his two young sons with him when such an incident happened. They barely got off the tracks in time, before the engine hit the handcar. Johnny decided to quit that job while he was still alive.

In October of 1925,he came to Kimberley and went to work in the Concentrator. They bought one of the first of seven houses in Lower Blarchmont. This was fairly close to Chapman Camp and the Concentrator. His job for years was on the zinc washing and drying filter bag section of the plant.

As Lower Blarchmont is quite a way from town for children to walk, Bessie opened her home on Sundays and taught Sunday School. It began with six children, but as that section of town grew, she eventually held two classes of forty each, thus making eighty children attending her classes.

Johnny Walker

She was an accomplished pianist and played the organ in the United Church for many years, as well as playing for weddings and funerals. All her spare time was devoted to her church work. When Johnny retired from the Company, they moved up town to an apartment, above the Kimberley Hardware. Then in 1964,shortly after the first Pioneer Lodge was built to accommodate Senior Citizens, they moved into number one apartment. Bessie was not very well, and it wasn't necessary to climb stairs.

On their Golden Wedding Anniversary they were given a lovely reception in the United Church Sunday School Hall. Bessie passed away shortly after.

Johnny loved to bake and would swap recipes anytime. His specialties were Scotch scones and hot milk cake. When Bessie was in the hospital he would bake cakes and take them to the nurses in appreciation for all they were doing for his wife.

When Johnny first came to Kimberley, the Concentrator had seven softball teams, one for each department, and summer evenings were spent in friendly games played on a diamond situated next to the Chapman Camp tennis courts. Recently, this ball park has been broken up into lots and new houses are being built there.

Their daughter Alice and her husband, Bud, a diamond driller for the Company lived just half a block from Pioneer Lodge and Johnny could visit her often. They had two children, a son, Jack, was killed in a logging accident up St. Marys Lake Valley. Their daughter, Elizabeth Colthorp, is now residing in Pinepoint. Bud passed away in 1977.Alice knits beautiful brightcolored afghans for the elderly in the Extended Care unit of the hospital. Johnny has one that he shows off with pride.

His son, Ernest, lives in Chapman Camp and was a pipe fitter boss at the Concentrator. He married Annie, one of Albin Johnson's daughters. They have three children; Donald in Cranbrook, Margerie in Seattle and David on Vancouver Island.

The youngest son, Lenny, has been married twice and now lives in Calgary. He had two children by his first wife; a daughter Faith, married and living in Richmond until recently, then they moved south to Washington near Seattle, and a son Larry at Creston. His second wife is a very talented Japanese girl who runs a Hobby Shop in Prince George. They have one daughter, Kim.

Johnny suffered a stroke early in 1978 and has just recently become a resident of "The Pines" Special Care Home.

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