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Kimberley Families

The Clerf Family
as told by son Lewis

Mr. George Clerf was born in Wenatchee, Washington, but his parents moved to Greenwood in 1889 where his grandfather worked at the Granby Mine. Mr. Clerf was a tinsmith and plumber by trade and for years owned and operated his own shop in Greenwood.

Lewis Bryant and family were from Moncton, New Brunswick and Mr. Bryant was employed by the C.P.R. on the bridge crew when the railway was being built in the Greenwood area. It was his daughter, Elizabeth, that married George Clerf in 1912.

A son, Lewis, was born while they lived in Greenwood, and he recalls the influences his two sets of grandparents had on his upbringing. The Clerfs were French Catholic and the Bryants were Scotch Presbyterian. Not wlshing to displease either, he would attend the Catholic Church one Sunday and the Presbyterian the next. He also learned to speak French from Grandmother Clerf in a unique way; if he wanted any dinner he had to ask for everything in the correct French, or go hungry.

When the mine and smelter closed down in 1926, Mr. Clerf came over to Kimberley. He worked for the Company as a plumber with Jack Blezzard the foreman, Charlie McKay and Jack Leighton. When Mrs. Clerf and their only son Lewis came from Greenwood, it was Charlie that met the train and drove them to Kimberley. Their first home was in Happy Valley, Lewis was twelve years old, so received some of his school- ing here. His first teacher was Miss Shields.

When Lewis finished school, it was in the middle of the depression and no jobs were available. He spent the summer picking huckleberries and selling them for spending money. A five pound lard pail, full of berries, sold for one dollar, but today he wouldn't even sell one pound for five dollars in view of the hard work involved.

In 1933, he was hired by the Company as a casual laborer. He started work at the Mark Creek Store as a delivery boy. He worked in the grocery department with Henry Cotnoir, Ingie J ahren and Malcolm McIntosh. For awhile he was in the Candy department with Gus Nord, Mrs. Gill and Vi Moody. Then in the Men's Wear, where he worked with Wilf Mason, Bill Kenneman and "Duke" Nicholson, who married Vi Moody.

Mr. George Clerf had to quit work due to ill health and was an invalid for eleven years before his death at sixty-one years of age. Later Mrs. Clerf married Abe Claussen of Cranbrook. When he passed away, she spent her remaining years in the Pioneer Lodge in Kimberley.

Mrs. Clerf's brother, Billy Bryant, also worked for the Company in the Electric Shop at the mine. He is well remembered for his fan- tastic sense of humor. He loved to make people laugh. This had rubbed off on Lewis and he too had a keen sense of humor.

Lewis joined the Army and received his basic training in Vancouver. Due to his rather poor attitude towards army discipline, his training consisted mainly of washing mountains of dishes. He then went to Camp Borden, in Ontario; Sussex in New Brunswick; Lebert in Nova Scotia, and in 1940 he went overseas with the Royal Canadian Artillery Service Corps. He saw action in France, Italy and Germany and returned home in 1945 to continue working in the Mark Creek Store. Lewis was later transferred to the Com- pany warehouse at the Fertilizer plant where he remained until his recent retirement, after forty- one years service.

In 1946 he married Agnes Olson, a nurse from Edmonton. She trained in the Royal Victoria Hospital, before coming to work in the Kimberley Hospital. She was a nurse in the Air Force during the War, stationed in Gander, New- foundland. She, too, has just recently retired.

Lewis and Agnes have three children, one son and two daughters. Grant is now working in Vancouver for CTV. After his schooling in Kimberley, he attended the B.C. Institute of Technology. He married a Cranbrook girl, Terry Schubert, and they have one son and one daughter.

Maureen works for Royal Trust in Vancouver and Louise works in Fields Store. Louise married Barry Loewen, who works with heavy equipment at the mine. They have one daughter.

Lewis played a lot of badminton in the McDougall Hall. He had been a member of the Legion and acted on the executive for a number of years. After retirement he enjoyed gardening and said he would never leave Kimberley, as he and Agnes love it here. They still resided in the first home Lewis came to, in Happy Valley, when he passed away in the fall of 1978.

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