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Kimberley Families

The McKim Family

as told by sons, Phil and Fred and daughter, Miki

Philip John McKim (known as Jack) was born in Ireland in 1882.He had some schooling in Ireland and the balance in Liverpool, England. At age eleven he left school to work as a "printers devil". At age fourteen he was apprenticed as a cabinet maker. Every facet of the building trade was included in the seven years it took to earn his tradesman's papers. Agnes Knowles Avery was born in Liverpool in 1881, and she worked as a sales clerk before she married Jack McKim in 1903.

In 1909 Jack came to Canada, leaving behind his pregnant wife and one small daughter. Jack didn't find work in Cobalt, Ontario, where he first stopped so decided to try his hand at harvesting on the prairies, but he caught typhoid and was taken off the train at Tessier, Saskatchewan. The doctor, for whom the town was named, looked after him and notified his wife and much later when he finally got out of quarantine, Dr. Tessier found him a light job at the hotel bar. When he was strong enough, he went back to his trade building houses, barns and stores and even a skating rink that stood until 1976.

It was 1910 before Agnes and her two daughters Eva and Elma (Miki) could join him. For a time Aggie took on the bread baking for the town until they took up homesteading in Alberta in 1913. Here the city-bred girl had to learn about chickens, pigs, cows and horses and also how to build a coal fire with grass, straw or cowslips in lieu of paper or kindling.

In 1914, they moved to Alsask, Saskatchewan, to be near a doctor while awaiting their third child. Alsask was the end of steel for the C.N.R. at that time and building was booming. A daughter, Lily, was born and they soon went back to the farm. Two sons were born while they lived there: Phil and Fred, Lily died before she was two years old. They had one good crop followed by several dry years so in 1923 they moved into Sibbald and Jack found work where he could, building or harvesting and he even tried coal mining. Some friends wrote from Kimberley to say there was plenty of work for carpenters.

In the fall of 1923, Jack came to Kimberley and first worked on the timber gang, underground. In the spring he was building houses on the McDougall Townsite with Walter Glanville as foreman. He built a house for his family on the corner of Wallinger Avenue and Hannay Street, and they came to Kimberley in August of 1924. Jack was transferred to the Carpenter shop at the Concentrator where he became the foreman and instructed many a young apprentice in the art of carpentry.

Agnes and Jack McKim.

Jack became very active in Community affairs. He was a member of the Benevolent Society and he was on the Cemetery Committee. When Tom Summers and Norman Burdett left the school board, Jack was elected and served faithfully for over twenty years. When the Junior High School was built, it was named the P. J. McKim School as a token of appreciation for his many years of service on the school board. He was also a Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias and Aggie was a member of the Pythian Sisters. Both belonged to the Senior Citizens Association.

Jack passed away in 1961 and Aggie lived with her daughter, Miki, in Pitt Meadows until her death ten years later. They are both buried in the Kimberley Cemetery.

Their eldest daughter, Eva, married Eric Stone, a timberman for the Company. They had four children: Ruth, Marlene, Norma and one son, John. He was only a year old when Eva passed away in 1935.

Miki worked at the Townsite Cookhouse for five years and during the war she went to the coast and worked for Boeing Aircraft. She married Eugene Bennett, a heavy equipment operator at Pitt Meadows. They now reside in Greenwood. They had no children.

Phil began his apprenticeship as a machinist at the Concentrator in 1933 where he worked for the next ten years. He liked sports of all kinds and played basketball and junior hockey. He did some skiing and even tried riding in a rodeo. He enjoys hunting, fishing and curling. Phil married Kathleen McGinnis and they had one son, Phil Jr. He lives in Cranbrook and works on construction. Phil spent three years in the Navy where he worked in the engine room on mine sweepers. He returned in 1947 and went to work in the Mine. He and Kathleen were divorced and he married Ferne (Simpson) Liversidge, another divorcee with one son Tommy. Phil and Ferne have three sons: Larry, James and Michael. All are construction workers. They managed the King Koin Laundromat for ten years, a very demanding job. They have resided in Marsyville since 1948 but they own property on the St. Mary's Lake road near Matthew Creek where he plans to build a new home. He retired in 1975.

Fred began a machinist's apprenticeship at the Concentrator in 1937 and finished it in the Tadanac Machine Shop in Trail. He enlisted in the R.C.N.V.R. and served on a destroyer and a cruiser as well as diving tenders, after being chosen to attend the U.S. Navy Diving School in Washington, D.C. for seven months.

In 1942, Fred married Svea Perrson of Kimberley, the daughter of another early-day family. They had three children: Danne, Lenore and Jay. In 1955, they moved to the West Kootenay area where Fred worked on the power plants for West Kootenay Power and Light Company. They purchased a ten acre tract of land on the west arm of Kootenay Lake, about five miles Up stream from Nelson. In 1965 Svea was killed in a car mishap, and daughter, Lenore, and Fred were both severely injured in the same accident.

Danne attended Washington State University and gracidated with a degree in Kinesiology, later becoming manager of the Canadian National Ski Team for three years when it was based at Notre Dame University in Nelson. He later was manager of a large ski area development in south western Alberta. Lenore married a medical doctor and lives in Calgary. Jay trained and skied with the Canadian Ski Team both in Chile, S.A., and various European countries until he was injured and forced from further competition.

Fred married again in 1968 to Kary Ladner of Rock Creek. He will retire in February of 1979. Fred enjoys working in his small orchard and Kary continues with her paintings of landscapes and local scenes. They both still ski in winter.

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