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Kimberley Families

The Lester (Mac) McKenzie Family
as told by Connie

Mac McKenzie was born in NOrth Nation Mills, Quebec, near Hull. He entered the N.W.M. Police in 1919 and trained in Regina. He was posted to Lethbridge and later stationed at Fernie during prohibition, to help stem the rum running in that area.

Consuela (Connie) Sinton was born in Montreal and met Mac in Ottawa where they became engaged. She came west to join her father, who was living in Airdrie at the time. Mac left the Police Force in 1922 and he and Connie were married in Lethbridge.

They came to Kimberley in June of that year and Mac began working as a painter for the Company, a job he remained at for forty-three years.

Their first home was a tent in the little hollow that use to be where the hospital lower parking lot is now. For cooking, a stove top had been set up outside on rocks. They had purchased a second hand bed and mattress, only to discover it was loaded with bed bugs. Freight from Eatons took ages to arrive, but sleeping on the floor was better than an infested bed. In November they moved into one of the small houses across from the Townsite cookhouse and bunkhouses. In 1926 they moved into a house on fifth avenue. At that time the Company was building houses as fast as mushrooms grew!

Connie's father, Robert Sinton came to Kimberley in 1924and worked as a teamster for the Company, hauling materials from the station. He had been working for the C.P.R. at Yahk, making ties. He moved to Calgary in 1927.

Connie and Mac McKenzie.

Connie lost her first son in childbirth in the Cranbrook hospital. Three children were born in Kimberley, June, Margaret and Gary.

June worked in the hospital office for a year and a half before she married Peter Jack from Silverton, in 1949. They have three children, twins Brian and Wendy and Eileen. Peter is the President of American Potash in Saskatoon.

Margaret worked in the Kimberley Trading Company before training as a telephone operator in the Kimberley exchange for one year. She transferred to Victoria for two years, then back to Kimberley for a year. In 1951, she married Norman Drew, who was working at the Estella Mine at the time. Norman in now a grain buyer at Milk River and Marg. operated a very successful ceramic shop there for five years. She also taught classes in ceramics in several centers in Alberta and Montana. They have three sons, Michael, Rob and Rick.

Gary joined the Airforce where he remained for sixteen years, and spent one year with the U.N. in Egypt. He married Shirley Wilkenson and they have one son Scott. They live in Kimberley and Gary drives for Oldhams Transport out of Cranbrook.

Connie has lived at her home on McDougall Townsite for fifty-three years. Mac retired in 1964 and passed away in 1973. Connie has many memories of life in Kimberley in the old days.

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