The Leaman Family
as told by daughter Jeannette
The name Bill Leaman is a very well recognized one in Kimberley. Born in Belvedere, England in 1899, he and one sister came with their parents to Peterborough, Ontario, when Bill was only nine years old. He was twelve when they moved to Cranbrook. Their father obtained work with the C.P.R. where he remained until an accident in the yards in Cranbrook claimed his life.
Bill began working in his teens as a messenger boy for the Royal Bank. During the First World War, he joined up with the Royal Flying Corp, but the war ended before he saw action. He married at twenty, to Marjorie Peckenpaugh, the daughter of the telegrapher at Kingsgate. They were married in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, in 1919.
From 1919 to 1922 Bill worked on Kootenay trains, mostly hauling crude ore from the rich Sullivan Mine to the Kootenay Lake Ferry en route to the smelter at Trail. He joined the company in 1922 as weighmaster at Kimberley. That was the year they were building the Concentrator. When the Concentrator started shipping ore concentrates to Trail for smelting, a man was needed that understood train dispatching and Bill got the job of Metalurgical Accountant in charge of shipping. This was his position for many years.
When they first arrived in Chapman Camp they lived in a tent where the swimming pool now stands. But only long enough to find a proper house. A son, Marvin and a daughter, Jeannette, was born in Cranbrook. Bill Jr. and Gordon were born in Kimberley.
Bill was an extremely active person and besides his job with the Company was soon involved in numerous community affairs - baseball, softball, curling and bowling as well as an interest in hockey. He wrote a sports column for three area newspapers for years. Also the Daily Bulletin included a column by Bill; "Picked up in Passing". He was the main announcer for the early hockey games that were broadcast over a ham radio set from Steve Waites home. Later a more modern setup was arranged between Trail and Kimberley. He was on the executive of the Dynamiters Hockey team. Although Bill never was actually on the village council he was most influential in many area. In community service, few people have contributed more than Bill. He served on the executive of the Chapman Camp Hall, was president of the Community Chest, president of the Benevolent Society, and worked with several other groups. He became the local Magistrate and later a judge in the City. He found this position a most worthy and challenging career, so for many years he held two jobs. He was also a Past Master of the Masonic Lodge.
Bill retired in 1964 after 42 years service with the Company. At his retirement party, he was accused of wearing out three Concentrator Superintendents during his years of employment; Mr. Oughtred, Mr. Banks, and Mr. Poole. Mr. Chambers was in charge when Bill retired. Bill passed away in 1971.
During the war years, Mrs. Leaman was very active in the Red Cross and the Hospital Auxiliary. She enjoyed lawn bowling and bridge and both Bill and she loved to dance.
Marvin now resides in Elliot Lake, Ontario. He has one stepson and two adopted sons. Jeanette married Bob Gibbons in 1946, he came to work for the Company in 1944. Before her marriage, Jeanette worked for the Daily Bulletin and Mark Creek Store when Bob McLeod was the manager. They have two daughters; Karen in Vancouver and Susan is still at home.
Bill Jr., works for the Company in Trail and is married with two sons; one in Cranbrook and one in Nanaimo.
Gordon lives in Mission and is married with one son and one daughter.
Jeannette's recollection of her school years in Chapman Camp was the rivalry between Kimberley and Camp, in all aspects, in sports well as scholastic achievements. The competition was intense. In 1979 there will be a 40-year class reunion. There are quite a number still in the area from that first Kimberley Graduating Class.