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Kimberley Families

The Bonner Family
as told by daughter, Jessie

Four Bonner brothers all left Come en County, Donegal, Ireland before the turn of the century, to come to America to look for work. Three of the brothers stayed in the northern states but in 1900 Michael (Mike) James Bonner came to Moyie where he spent the next twenty-one years. He built the International Hotel and he married Phoebe Whitehead in 1909. They operated this hotel until 1919 when it burned down.

The Bonners had three children by this time: Helen, Jimmie and Jessie. The children and their mother spent the next few months with friends on a farm at Scollard, Alberta, while Mike looked for work. He got a job in the Mine in Kimberley and the family joined him in 1921. Three more sons were born: Jack and Albert in Cranbrook, and George in Kimberley after a hospital had been built.

When they first arrived they lived in the On- tario Hotel and later on the Townsite for awhile. Mike built a house on Spokane Street between the cafe and the Chinese laundry where the City Hall now stands. Here the family lived for the next twenty years. For several years Mike was Mine shift boss and later worked in the Tunnel Machine Shop. He had just retired in 1940 when he passed away. Phoebe died in 1949.

Helen worked in different cafes before she married Art Reinhart and they had one dau.ghte:, Isobel, now living in Palm Springs, California. Helen died in 1946.

Jimmy developed osteomyelitis while quite young, but thanks to the Shriners, and after many operations, he carried on with only a limp. Jimmy went to work at the Customs Office at Kingsgate and eventually spent some years with Immigration in England. He was finally stationed in Fort Frances, Ontario, where he passed away. He married Florence Stender of Cranbrook and they had two children: A boy Mickey and a girl, Penny.

Jessie left school to work in the Post Office when Mr. Fisher was Post Master. The Post Of- fice was located on the present site of Weir's Flower Shop. When the new Post Office was built, next door to the Mark Creek Store she continued to work there and when M:. Fisher retired, she became the Post Mistress for five years.

James (Puffy) Kemp came from Blairmore to play hockey for the newly formed Dynamiter team in 1931. He got a job underground in the Mine and he and .J essie were married in 1933. Puffy was on the hockey team when they won the Allen Cup in 1936 and when they went to Europe and won the World Championship in 1937. They had two boys: Tom and Albert. Tom married Carol Holmes and they have two girls: Brenda and Andrea, and they live in Pentiction, where Tom is an accountant. Albert is an electrical engineer in Toronto. He married Barb Bowles and they have two children: David and Linda. When Tom and Albert were growing up in Kimberley, they both belonged to the Boy Scouts and the Air Cadets. Puffy retired from the Company in 1970 and passed away in 1976.

Jack Bonner married Theresa McCook and they now reside in Kamloops where he is Foreman of the Public Works Department for that City. He worked for the Public Works Department in Kimberley for several years before moving away. Four children were born while they lived in Kimberley: Shirley, Marlene, Judy and Douglas.

Albert trained in the Air Force and was com- pleting his last solo flight in Barrie, Ontario, when he crashed and was killed in 1942. He was just twenty-one years old.

George worked in the Mark Creek Store men's wear department and married Catherine Clark. They have three daughters, and lost one son when he was only a year old.

Mike Bonner and his brothers have perpetuated the family name in the town of Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

Jessie also worked for the Hudson's Bay and in Simpsons-Sears order office in Kimberley. She is an active member of the Royal Purple and ran the Elks Bowling Alley for many years. She en- joys curling and bowling and this year is the President of the Pensioners Curling teams. She is the only remaining member of the family still here.

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