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Kimberley Families

The Marunchak Family
as told by Victor

Romania is the country where Vie's parents immigrated from. His father came directly to British Columbia around 1908. He worked on the C.P.R. in the Crowsnest Pass for a short time before moving to Wycliffe, B.C. where he started work in the Otis Staples Lumber Mill. In 1910 he sent for the girl he left in Romania and they were married in Wycliffe.

In the next few years the Marunchaks had four children, Helen, Victor, Anne and John.

Vic recalls growing up in the busy lumbering town that was bustling with activity in those ear- ly days. He went to elementary school in Wycliffe and then attended high school in Cranbrook.

He remembers vividly the two months summer vacation when he was fourteen, when he and George Quick spent the entire time at the Staples Cherry Creek Lumber Camp that employed about one hundred men. They worked, in the cookhouse for a man named Monk. He had only one leg so walked with the assistance of a cane. If the boys didn't get up at first call, at five A.M., Monk hooked his cane around their necks and hauled them out of bed. Their job was setting tables, scrubbing floors, washing dishes and peeling sacks and sacks of vegetables. At the end of the summer, their only pay was the dozens and dozens of empty beer bottles they collected in potato sacks and stored in a shed. They loaded them on the logging train and got twenty-five cents a dozen for them in town.

There were always ball teams in Kimberley, Cranbrook and Wycliffe to provide entertain- ment. Vic remembers when Ingie Jahren came to Wycliffe to play ball. He worked for Lloyd Crowe delivering groceries in a horse drawn wagon.

When Vic finished school it was the beginning of the depression, but he was able to get work delivering milk for Pete Woods at Cherry Creek. For a time he delivered milk for Mr. Scott in Kimberley and in 1934 he went to work at the Company Dairy at Marysville. In 1937, Vic started work at the Mine and the same year he married Louise Dacre. During the forty years he was at the Mine, he worked on the track gang, transportation, barring and finally became a shift boss until he retired in 1975.

Vie and Louise Marunchak

Vic was the only one of the family to remain in Kimberley. Helen and Anne both spent time at Yellowknife. Helen married a man named Dusseault and they had one daughter and one adopted son. Anne married Roy James, a miner for the Company for awhile. They had five sons. Anne died in 1972. John went to Creston when his parents moved there. He married a Creston girl, Rose Bilyk and they have three sons and a daughter. John has worked for Crowsnest Industries and Kaiser Coal. They now reside in Cranbrook.

Louise and Vic have four children, all born and educated in Kimberley until they went to university. They are all married and have families except Jimmy. Dianna lives in Kamloops, Jimmy is in Vancouver, Gary is a teacher in Kelowna and Vicki, the youngest, still lives in Kimberley. She married Danny Moan, who is a millwright at the Concentrator.

Vic's hobbies are hunting and fishing. He recalls one incident in 1939 on a fishing trip up the St. Marys River when one of the party didn't return in the evening. Jim Davis had lost his direction in the dense bush where he couldn't recognize any landmarks and ended up spending a cold wet night alone. Next morning Jim walked into camp a little embarrassed, and just in time for breakfast.

Vic managed the Union softball team for two years, some of the players were Roy Easton, Jim Fowler, Red Johnson and Dingy Bell.

Louise's parents also came to Kimberley in the early 1920's. She and one sister were born in Grand Forks. Her father, William Dacre came from England, but he died when Louise was three years old and her mother remarried Elmer Rice, a carpenter at the Concentrator. His hobby was prospecting and he and Joe Rollheiser worked on their claims on Perry Creek for many years.

Elmer liked to play the fiddle and he and Mrs. Elsie Swan, a pianist, formed an orchestra and played at many dances in the area. He could still play when he was eighty-six years old but arthritis crippled his hands rather badly in the last two years of his life. Mr. Rice passed away at eighty-eight.

Louise's brother Milton (Tuffy) Dacre learned the butcher business from Mr. Joe Walkley, Sr., and opened his own shop in Fruitvale, B.C., many years ago after marrying one of the Walkley girls.

Tuffy retired in 1977 and his son-in-law has taken over the butcher shop.

Vic and Louise still reside on the Ritchie Townsite. They have found a good life in Kimberley and plan to remain.

Vic's mother will be ninety-one years old in 1979 and she is living in the Green Home in Cranbrook. Mr. Marunchak passed away in 1960.

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