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Kimberley Families

The Gauthier Family

as told by son Pete

The Gaspe Peninsula was the birth place of Joseph (Oliver) Gauthier. He started moving west when still a very young man. He met Lucy Auger in Dollard, Saskatchewan, where they were married. She had been born in St. Boniface, Manitoba. The couple tried homesteading in Saskatchewan for awhile, but continual crop failures discouraged them.

Oliver was an axman by trade, an occupation much in demand in Kimberley in the 1920's. He arrived in 1921, and went to work for the Company, clearing brush for roads and power lines around the Mine.

Their first home was in Lower Blarchmont (known as French Town), then for a time they lived in a two-storey house back of the Mark Creek Store. Later they purchased property in Meadowbrook.

Oliver and Lucy had fourteen children. Seven were born in Saskatchewan; Vic, twins Mary Ann and Annette, Art, Grace, Don and Ovide. Felix, and Simone were born in Cranbrook. Pete was the first one born in Kimberley followed by Diane, Dennis, Bernadette and Lauretta. Some of the children attended the one-room log school that used to be in Meadowbrook. Annette remembers two of the teachers were Miss Croat and Mr. Mercer.

About the same time as Oliver came to Kimberley, a brother Henry Gauthier, also arrived, but only remained about nine years. They moved to the Peace River near Pouce Coupe.

When the Bull River Aberfelde dam was being built by the East Kootenay Power Company, Oliver worked there when they were putting in the power lines. When he worked at the Top Mine, during the winter, he would ski to and from Meadowbrook on homemade skis.

Oliver Gauthier died of pneumonia in 1935 at the age of fifty-three. Lucy sold the property in Meadowbrook and moved back into town for a time before going to New Westminster and, later, Maillardville where she passed away in 1964.

Two of the Gauthier family remain in Kimberley, Pete and Diane. Annette married James (Jim) Clarricoates of Kimberley, a driller for the Company, and they had five children, three girls and two boys. They did most of their growing up in Kimberley. When Jim died in 1954,Annette went east to Port Hope, Ontario, for eleven years. She now resides in White Rock with her twin sister.

Pete has lived his entire life in Kimberley, but like most boys he was anxious to join the working force at an early age. In 1939, while still attending school, he did casual labour for the Company. For two months he worked for T. Connor's Diamond Drilling Company. He attended mining school and worked underground for six years. For a time he drove a Euclid (a heavy-duty truck). He worked on the back fill with Bill Motek, Gale Carpender and Jack Bonner.

In 1953 Pete transferred to the Concentrator and worked in the Sink and Float section. He took a metal-mechanic's course and a millwright course with the Company, and is now employed in the planning department of the Sink and Float operation.

Pete was on loan to the Ski Club when they installed the chair lift. He did almost fifty percent of the welding on the towers, under the supervision of Ray Gagne. Much concern was voiced when it was discovered he didn't have papers for the job, but after a thorough inspection, his work proved first class. Pete has always enjoyed skiing as well as hunting and fishing.

He married Eleanor Loraas in 1956. They lived in Marysville for awhile before moving to Higgins Street in Kimberley, near the Blarchmont School playground. Pete remembers when part of this school was moved in from Lumberton. It was been enlarged since.

Pete and Eleanor have four daughters; Marlyn, Lauretta, Donna and Judy. Marlyn trained to be a nurse and is now in Penticton. Lauretta is at V.B.C., studying to be a Pharmacist. Donna and Judy are still in school.

Pete's sister Diane lives in Meadowbrook and married Henry Banman. They built a home near the old property. They have four children; Earl, Lloyd, Esther and Clifford. Earl lives in Marysville but works in Cranbrook for the City in the drafting and designing department. Lloyd is an apprentice carpenter for a Cranbrook firm. Esther married Russ Walker and also resides in Cranbrook. Clifford is now married and living in Nelson.

Pete has hunted in the area since he was fourteen years old. He has a small garden each summer and is a member of the Junior Fish and Wildlife Association. He has been an active member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and has been the Secretary for many years. He is also Secretary for the East-West Zone of Eagles. He has a few more years before he retires but he plans to remain right where he is.

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