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Kimberley Families

The Masich Family
as told by son Bill

John Masich emigrated from Yugoslavia as a youth and married Annie Tilson in Outlook, Saskatchewan in February, 1918, where Bill, Margaret and Gwen were born. Annie Masich was born in Aleghan, Michigan and had come to Canada with her parents to homestead.

As most young people who were homesteading on the dry prairies at that time, they were receiving no returns from their labours, and after they lost their home in a fire, they moved west. They arrived in Wycliffe in 1923 and John worked for the Otis Staples Lumber Company. Here Helen was born. After a year in Cranbrook, they moved to the Top Mine in Kimberley.

The family lived in Meadowbrook, then in Kimberley where John bought land at the far end of Morrison Subdividsion where six more children were born. They were Irene, Dorothy, Alfred, who died when he was five, David, Ruth and Tommy.

With a large family to feed, John worked for the Company, and then went into the business of trucking, hauling sand, gravel and lumber and cutting and hauling firewood and shingles. As the family grew, most of them worked along with their father. During the latter war years, John was the first foreman for the Kimberley City works department. When the family was grown, Mr. and Mrs. Masich moved to a pleasant little country place near Irishman's Creek and it was there, in February, 1957 that John was killed while operating his power sawing machine. Mrs. Masich died in 1966.

John Masich always took his religion very seriously and lived by the lessons of the Bible as he saw them. In the lean years, many of the local families would find that a few extra blocks of firewood had been tossed into the back yard at a time when they needed it most. Mrs. Masich usually found an extra guest at the family dinner, most often a derelict in need of a meal, and who would usually also find a warm place to sleep for the night.

When Bill was eighteen he went to work at the Sullivan mine, in the Rockhouse, then underground where he worked at different jobs including five years in the gruelling "Hot muck" area. He was a conscientious member of the Union Safety Committee and retired in 1978 after forty-one years of continuous employment, except for his time in the army during the war years. He is married to the former Margaret Garneau and has three step-daughters. Margaret is from a local family, the Walkley's, and she is also retired after working in the local Walkley's Meat Market. Bill keeps busy in his retirement with his hobbies of fishing, cooking and gardening.

The oldest daughter, Margaret was married to Ken Cartwright who was injured in an accident in the Sullivan Mine and was confined to a wheelchair. Ken later became a Provincial Court Magistrate and Vital Statistics Recorder until his death in 1965.

Gwen became Mrs. Bill Forsyth and is now a widow with two married children and lives in Prince George.

Helen married Jack Hill. They have three grown daughters and live in Burnaby.

Irene married Martin Hansen, a Kimberley native. They have one son and four daughters and live in Burnaby.

Dorothy is married to Walter Tattrie, a local businessman and they live in Marysville and operate Walter Tattrie Agencies, a local insurance and real estate firm. They have a son and a daughter.

David married a local girl, Norma Stittle. They lived in Kimberley for several years, both working in a local business and banking establishements. David was very active in sports and was one of Herb Stanton's Boxing protegees. He once competed in the Golden Gloves Championships. He is now a business agent with the retail clerk's union in Burnaby and has a daughter and son.

Ruth is now Mrs. Fritz Iversen, has one son and lives in Prince George.

Tom, the youngest, was employed in physical training education for a number of years. He and his family are still very active in track and field competitions in Prince George, where he now lives and operates a contract building firm. He and his wife, Anne have four children.

There are no family photographs of the strangely constructed house that John built, cradled in the valley at the end of Morrison Subdivision, but when the family members get together, they still shake their heads in wonderment at the structural oddity to which another room was attached every few years to accommodate the growing family.

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