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Kimberley Families

The Kavanagh Family

as told by sons, Jack, Buck, Dick and daughter, Kathrine

Kathrine remembers her childhood as a very happy one. Her mother was a jolly person and there was plenty of laughter. Their home was small and the family large, so it resembled Grand Central Station on most days, and their yard was the focal point of neighborhood activity. The six Johnson children and Dr. Davis' two sons lived across the street, a few others also joined them and there was lots of noise.

Mr. Kavanagh came from a large family in Barrie, Ontario. He was Irish and proud of it. He painted everything green, when his wife asked him how come his hat was green, his reply was "It fell in the paint".

His wife's parents were Swedish and came to Spokane from Republic, Michigan with their five daughters.

Mr. Kavanagh left home when he was a mere sixteen. He first went to Rossland and then to Moyie, B.C., where he met and married his wife in 1911. They moved to Kimberley in 1912 and lived at the Top Mine for a short time. Later he purchased a small house at the foot of the back road hill from the Townsite, across from where the United Church now stands. The house was enlarged by degrees as the family continued to grow.

Mr. Kavanagh worked as a teamster and hauled freight and supplies from the town to the Top Mine. He used a truck with a- fla t deck for summer time hauling but continued to use the team of horses and a sleigh for the winter.

Mrs. J. Kavanagh

When the Top Mine was closed down, he took over the janitor and furnaceman duties for the Company Office and the near-by staff houses. Wood and coal was used as fuel in those days and during the long cold winters, he was kept very busy, stoking all the furnaces, often from four a.m. to late at night. Mr. Kavanagh was also one of the first Fire Wardens for the town of Kimberley.

Mrs. Kavanagh's father was Charles Erickson, and he worked at the Top Mine for several years. His four daughters all married Kimberley men, Jack Kavanagh, Clarence (Clink) Myrene, Billy Barr and Dick Brown.

There were seven children in the Kavanagh family, Elmer (Mike), Carol, Kathrine, Irene, Jack, Harvey (Buck) and Dick. They all went to school in Kimberley and all the boys in the family played hockey. Buck played with the famous Kimberley Dynamiters for several years.

Jack remembers when the first Dynamiter hockey team was formed, and also when the arena was built, only a block away from their house. The first hockey game in the arena was played on December 12,1931, against the Nelson Maple Leafs. The score was two - one, in favour of Kimberley and both goals were scored by Art Mackie. Dune Chisholm was the first Dynamiter coach. Jack also recalls the building of three hotels in Kimberley in 1926, right after prohibition: The Kimberley, the Canadian and the Sullivan. Two of the hotels are still in operation, the Kimberley Hotel burned down in 1978.

Mr. Kavanagh passed away in 1944 and his wife in 1951.

All the boys in the family worked for the Company at the Mine. Jack, Jr. worked underground until he had an accident that injured his left elbow. It caused him so much trouble that he was finally sent to Vancouver, where they were able to repair the elbow by plastic surgery. When he returned after five months of treatment, he could no longer do heavy work underground and was transferred to the Company mail truck.

Jack married and had one daughter now a school teacher in Victoria. Divorced from his former wife, he later married Agnes McLean, a school teacher from Gilbert Plains, in 1959. Jack and Agnes owned and operated the Canadian Hotel for a number of years, they sold it in 1966. Jack has always been involved in sports and has been the reporter for as many as seven newspapers. He still writes the sports column for two local papers plus an occasional editorial. He spends several hours a day hiking and in 1977, he walked eighty-five miles from Creston to Kimberley in four days to raise money for promoting Junior Hockey in Kimberley.

Buck started work with the Company in 1940, in the Mine blacksmith shop and later transferred to the locomotive repair shop. He enlisted in the 28th Canadian Armoured Regi- ment in 1942. He was captured in the battle of Salaise Gap in 1944 and was a prisoner of war until the end of hostilities. After his discharge, he returned to Kimberley and went to work in the Mine electrical department. In 1956, Buck married Eleanor Forsythe, a nurse from Swift Current, Saskatchewan, who was working in the Kimberley hospital. His hobbies are hockey, golf, skiing and fishing.

Kathrine was a stenographer and worked in the Mark Creek Store and Lloyd's Hardware. She spent four years in the Canadian Army with the C.W.A.C. She then went to work for the Company at the Mine library for several years. She is married to Freddie Ross who is also an employee of the Company. Fred worked on transportation for several years and now is a slusher miner.

Irene chose nursing for her profession and trained in the Cranbrook hospital. She is living in Surrey, B.C. and was the Matron of the Special Care Home for the elderly. Irene is now a widow and retired.

Dick started work with the T. Connors Diamond Drilling Company in 1941 on surface work for the Company. In 1942, he left T. Connors and started with the Company on transportation. During the construction of the conveyor belt system from the lower levels of the Mine, Dick was transferred to the electrical department. With the completion of the conveyor systems in 1948, he went back to transportation. In 1973, Dick had to take eighteen months off work for sick leave. Coming back to work in 1975, he worked as a skiptender for three years and then transferred to the bit shop. In 1961, Dick married a girl from Pincher Creek, Hazel Eddy. Dick's hobbies are, naturally hockey and then gardening.

S. Kavanagh and H. Kirby

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