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Kimberley Families

The Popovitch Family

as told by sons, Nick and John

John Popovitch was born near Zagreb, Yugoslavia. He came to Pittsburg, Penn-sylvania, when he was a young man for a short period and returned home and married Ella Humjam. He worked on a small farm for several years and three sons were born in Yugoslavia: Nick, John and Bill,

John Sr. knew a Mike Novasel in Kimberley and he sent John the money to come to Kimberley where there was work to be had. This was in 1926 and he got a job with the Company, beginning as a mucker underground and worked up to the pipe gang.

A year later in 1927, his wife and family joined him. Nick had already attended four grades in school in Yugoslavia, but had to begin in grade one again to learn English. John Jr. also started in grade one. The three boys received all their schooling in Kimberley.

John Sr. died in 1935, leaving his young family without adequate support. There was no widows pension or welfare in those days, so Mrs. Popovitch took in washing. Nick did odd jobs and delivered papers until 1937 when he got a job with the Company and was sent to Trail for four years. In 1938 John began working for the Company.

Nick joined the Army in 1940 and was with an anti-aircraft unit in Sydney, Nova Scotia. On his return in 1944, he worked on the timber gang underground, building ore chutes. He married a girl from Trail, Gloria Lesehuitta and they have two daughters, Marlene and Delores. Marlene married Ted Arnold and they resided in Calgary and they have two sons, Pat and Mike. Delores trained as a nurse and is now with St. Joseph's Hospital in Vancouver. She has one son, Willy.

John married Sheila Morris, a stenographer from Lethbridge. She worked in the Company offices at Trail and was transferred to the general offices in Kimberley and then worked at the Mine office until their marriage in 1955. They have two children, Thomas (Tom) and Lorraine. 'Tom worked one summer for the Company before he attended Vocational School in Vancouver. He studied to be a draftsman and continued to work in Vancouver. He was married this summer of 1978.

Lorraine is in Calgary studying Respitory Technology at the Foothills Hospital.

Nick retired in 1975 after one year of sick leave. They still live in Kimberley but due to his health, are considering moving to the coast.

Ella Popovitch

John played hockey for the intermediates in his younger days and he enjoyed curling and bowling. He was a member of the Elks Club for a few years. His wife, Sheila, has been Secretary-Treasurer of the Junior Forest Wardens for twelve years and also lends her assistance during July and Winter Fests.

Bill learned to be a welder and worked for the Company for several years before going into construction work that kept him moving around a lot. He married Lottie Currie from England. They had four children, Sylvia who died at about age seven, Elaine, Joey and Dougie. They now live in New Westminster.

Mrs. Popovitch ran a boarding house for a time. She also operated the Dutch Creek Lodge near Fairmont for a few years, in partnership with Matt Radosevich and later they ran the Savoy Cafe and rooms in Kimberley, until it burned down in 1954. In 1957, Mrs. Popovitch married Joe Novak, a miner for the Company. She passed away in 1960.

John has been with the Company for over forty years and will retire shortly. He plans to take life a little easier, with no drastic changes.

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