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Kimberley Families

The Owen Family
as told by son, Arthur

George and Nettie Owen were married in Arcola, Saskatchewan, in 1909 and started their married life on a homestead near Arcola. Nettie's maiden name was Jefferson and she was born in Mitchell, Ontario, and George was born in Carman, Manitoba. There were three children in the family: Hazel, Gelena and Arthur.

The family moved to Froud, Saskatchewan, and later on to Nelson, B.C., where Nettie's parents were living. George remained at Froud to look after the farm and Nettie worked in a drygoods store by the name of Meagher's. In 1925 they lived in Rossland, B.C. for a short time where George worked at the Trail smelter.

In 1928 the Fink Mercantile of Cranbrook opened a branch store in Kimberley and Nettie moved there to manage the business. The store was on the corner of Wallinger and Spokane Street, now known as the Woogman Block. Art remembers the trip from Nelson to Cranbrook quite well and, in particular, the slow trip from Cranbrook to Kimberley on a combination passenger and baggage coach which was tacked on the end of the ore train.

Their first night in Kimberley was spent in the North Star Hotel and the next day they went to the Globe Hotel, owned by Frank Carlson. Not long after this the North Star Hotel caught fire and was badly damaged. They later moved to an apartment in the Baragon Block which later became Mae's Hardware Store.

George Owen worked for Pete Woods at Cherry Creek, and Bill Ratcliffe on the L.D. Ranch, and later for Herb McClure on the dairy farm on St. Marys Prairie, and then at the Company farm at Marysville. The family lived for a time above Robichaud's Confectionary Store. Art was still a young lad and remembers going with Albert Wright to herd the cows.

After the Fink Mercantile Store closed down in Kimberley, Nettie went to work in the Mark Creek Store, when Bob MacLeod was the manager.

Art played basketball at McDougall Hall under the watchful eyes of Herb Stanton and Bert Colthorp. In winter he skated and played hockey, with Murray Hellieson as the coach. Art recalls that Jack Pratt was the coach for the Kimberley Dynamiters Hockey team.

The kids used to gather beer bottles and sell them to make five cents to go to the Saturday afternoon matinee at the Orpheum threatre. For awhile, Art and Pete Thorleifson were ushers in the threatre.

In 1936 Art was still going to school but he spent the summer holidays digging ditches for the Company. In 1938 he got a steady job with the Company and spent the next three years on the graveyard shift in the Mine.

Art's sister, Hazel, married Albert Bennett and have two married sons, Barry and Eddie, who are both living in Calgary. Barry has two sons, Mark and Jerry, and Eddie has a son, Jason, and a daughter, Nita.

Gelena married Albert's brother, Ross, and live in Cranbrook and have three children: Charles, Arlene and Wayne. Charles is a transport truck driver and has three children, Arlene, now Mrs. Jim Moir, lives in Cranbrook and has one boy. Wayne is a teacher in Vulcan, Alberta, and has two sons.

Art married Agnes Aikman in 1941. Shortly after their marriage, Art went to Vernon for Army training and then was posted overseas and saw action on the Adriatic side of Italy with the First Division, Royal Canadian Regiment. They weren't able to celebrate a wedding anniversary together until 1956. They have two daughters, Geraldine, now Mrs. Jack Wesse who is living in Victoria and has two children, and Bonnie, now Mrs. Brian McKenzie, who lives in Kimberley and has two children.

After Art's discharge from the Army he went back to work with the Company as a miner until 1953.

Tom Aikman was the owner and manager of a photographic studio and coffee shop where Aikman's Restaurant is now located. Business was good so Mr. Aikman, his son, Cecil, and Art Owen decided to go into business together and Art quit the Company so he could devote his full time to the new partnership. In 1961 the group purchased property across the street and opened up a camera and photography shop. The coffee shop was enlarged to a restaurant.

When Cecil and his wife, Lil, retired and moved to California, his brother, Cliff Aikman, moved to Kimberley and continued the partnership in the camera shop with Art Owen. In 1974 the Aikman's Studio and Camera Store was purchased by Mr. H. B. Lademann.

George Owen passed away in 1965 and Nettie in 1975. Art took a course in Real Estate and is employed with Fred Holmes Ltd. in Kimberley.

Art's leisure time is spent with golfing in the summer and curling in the winter.

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