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Kimberley Families

The McLay Family

as told by Margaret

Two brothers, Tom and Joe, originally came from working in the coal mines in Kilsyth, Scotland. Joe came out to Drumheller first and by 1928 he was encouraged to come to Kimberley to work for the Company and to play soccer. A year later, in 1929, he interested his elder brother, Tom to come where there was work.

Tom was married to Margaret Glencorse in 1920 and they had four children born in Scotland before they moved to Kimberley: Bill, Ian, Tom Jr. and David. Both Tom and Joe went to work at the Top Mine. Tom was a miner and Joe worked as a sampler in the assay office.

Joe was engaged to Sarah Murray before he left the old country and he met her in Calgary where they were married.

Tom and Margaret's son, Bill, worked at the Mine for a time, then took a course in Diesel Mechanics and still works underground. He married Esther Leinwebber of Calgary and they have three children: Betty, Susan and Tommy.

Ian went to work in the Machine Shop at the Mine. He married Joyce Muir of Kimberley and they had three sons: Terry, Ronnie and Donald. Ian died in 1976.

Tom Jr., is a steam engineer at the Concentrator. He married Althea McCormick of Edmonton. She trained as a nurse and was working in the Kimberley Hospital. They have seven children: four boys, Glen, John, Phillip and Dean and three daughters Lyn, Nancy and Joan. Lyn died at eighteen of Leukemia and Nancy died at the age of thirteen of a rare type of cancer. Joan is married and living in Kelowna. Glen is working for the City of Cranbrook. John is attending Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. Phillip is in Prince George and Dean is attending Mount Royal College in Calgary in this year of 1978.

David (Cougar) is a construction worker and travels around a great deal. He was a goalie for the Dynamiter Hockey Team for two seasons. He attended College in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, with several other Kimberley hockey players: Les Lilley, James McMahon, Buzz and Red Mellor and Ray McNiven, with Father Murray as their coach.

All four of Tom's boys remained in Kimberley although the three eldest saw action in the war. Bill was in the Army, stationed in England. Ian joined the Air Force with his base in Scotland and Tom was in the Navy on escort duty. He was wounded when a torpedo hit the ship where the ammunition was stored and fourteen of his companions were killed.

Joe and Tom McLay, Tom's wife, Margaret and Joe's wife, Sarah.

Joe and Sarah had two children: Billy and Mary Jean. Billy is now the principal of a school in Whitehorse, Yukon. He married Marjorie Whitford, who had four children by a previous marriage. Mary Jean trained as a nurse in Spokane and married an American, Dean Seamount. They have two sons: Steven and Brian and they reside in California.

Both Tom and Joe enjoyed hunting and fishing and Tom liked gardening. They both played soccer in their younger days. Tom was an active member of the Union, the Medical Society, the Compensation Board and the Benevolent Society.

Joe became very involved in Mine Rescue and First Aid. He became an instructor and taught many classes and coached many winning teams over the years. He and Joe Shaw, were both awarded certificates by the St. John's Ambulance Association, making them serving brothers of the Venerable Order of Jerusalem, a high honor in that field.

Neither Tom nor Joe lived to retirement age. Joe died in 1954 and Tom passed away in 1957.

Margaret and Sarah lived together for the last year of Sarah's life. The two had enjoyed a long visit with Mary Jean in California before Sarah died in 1967.

Margaret still resides in her Townsite home and enjoys visits from her friends and her children and grandchildren. Like everyone that lived at the Top Mine, she remembers the friendly atmosphere that prevailed among all the neighbors.

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