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Kimberley Families

The Walkley Family


as told by daughter Marg and son Richie

Joseph Walkley was born in Horncastle, England, the son of a butcher. His father wanted both his sons to become butchers as it was a family trade, but his brother Ben chose to become a newspaper man in London.

Joe came to Canada and first worked in Toronto for a short time. He then came to Calgary where he worked for Burn's Company. He came to Cranbrook in 1908 and opened up a shop of his own. There was a very pretty Swiss Miss that came from Berne, Switzerland, to work for the Whites, a well known Cranbrook family. It was part of her duties to do the shopping so she frequently entered the meat market with a note from Mrs. White, as she spoke no English. Joe had a Mr. Myers working for him who spoke German, so he acted as interpreter. Joe fell madly in love with her and asked her to marry him in what he hoped were the right words that Mr. Myers had coached him to say. His first attempt was a disaster as he mispronounced "Sweetheart" and she clobbered him.

For the first three years of their marriage, Mr. Myers boarded with them so he could interpret for Joe. Joe stubbornly refused to learn her language and insisted she learn his. Her name was Louise which Joe couldn't spell properly and whenever he wrote her a note it was "Dear Lousie" which amused her greatly.

Joe and Louise had nine children; six sons and three daughters. He taught Ben, Joe Jr., Harry, Richard and Jack to be butchers. His son Gordon was drowned when very young in Joseph's Creek that ran through their property west of Cranbrook. His daughters Margaret, Pearl and Mary also could handle meat.

The name Walkley is synonymous with Meat Markets in Cranbrook, Kimberley and Fernie as Joe opened up a shop in each of these places over the next few years. It was in 1929when he came to Kimberley to open a shop. He had Einer Erickson work in the Kimberley shop until, later, he got Ed Davis to manage the Cranbrook one and Joe came to Kimberley, driving back and forth daily, for ten years. This was only until his boys were through their schooling, then slowly each son was given a place. Joe Jr. worked in the Kimberley Shop for a time. Harry ran a second shop in Kimberley, The Up Town Meat Market, for a few years.

When Richie was quite young, his mother made him a small butcher's smock so he could work in the store. He was so short he had to stand on a butter box to be seen over the counter. He remembers his first customer was Mrs. Bill Lindsay who ordered some lamb chops. Richie attempted to cut them himself but was reprimanded by his father for not doing it properly.

Ben managed the Van Horne Meat Market in Cranbrook for many years and finally sought work elsewhere when his brother, Harry, took over. Joe Jr. managed the Kimberley shop and then went into the slaughter house owned by the family in Cranbrook. He later went cooking in logging camps until his death in 1965. Ben died in 1975.

Harry sold the Van Horne Shop and moved to Vancouver where he works for the Windsor Meat Market in West Vancouver. Margaret married Eddie Garneau and they had three daughters; Corinne, Marie and Eileen. Corinne was on the nursing staff at the Kimberley hospital and married Dr. Backman. Marie married Fred Kozak and Eileen married Bob Lapage, an employee of Crestbrook. Both Marie and Eileen work for the B.C. Telephone Company in Cranbrook.

Marg worked in the Kimberley shop from 1934 until 1975. Eddie was killed in an accident in 1952 and four years later she married Bill Masich. Her father was only fifty-nine when he died in 1940. Her mother lived to be eighty-two and spent her last few years with Marg.

Pearl married Don Revie who used to run the Star Stage between Kimberley and Cranbrook for many years. He was also a pilot of a private plane and was killed in a crash at the old Cranbrook Airport. Pearl often worked in the Van Horne Shop.

Mary married Milton (Tuffy) Daker, a young Kimberley boy that Joe taught to be a butcher. They operated a Meat Market in Fruitvale for many years. He is now retired.

Jack is the owner of the original shop in Cran- brook and his son Jack Jr. is in business with him. His five children are Jack, Tom, Carolynne. Diane, and Sandra.

Richie has lived in Kimberley most of his life. He joined the Army and was In charge of sup- plies for the Pacific Command on the west coast. On his return he took over the Walkleys Meat Market in Kimberley in 1946. He married Jean Smyth and they have three children; Jack, Bill and Janice. Jack is a psychologist in Edmonton, Janice married an R.C.M.P. officer and lives in Brooks, Alberta. His son Bill has chosen to follow in his father's profession and is carrying on the business. He married Sherry Powers and they have one daughter.

Richie is semi-retired, but as he lives in an apartment above the store he is able to lend a hand occasionally.

There has been a Walkley's Meat Market in Cranbrook for seventy years and one in Kimberley for fifty. Both are still owned by Walkleys, the grandsons of Joe and Louise.

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