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Kimberley Families

The Stanton Family

as told by Herb

"Mr. Sports" is the nickname the people of Kimberley have tagged on Herb Stanton.

Herb was born in Bromley, Kent, England, in 1888 and received his schooling there. He worked for a paper company for a short time and also took an apprenticeship with an automobile company in London but did not complete it. Like so many youths, he worked at many different jobs at various places before coming to Canada.

Herb sailed for Canada in April 1907 and spent two years in Guelph, Ontario, working on a farm for a German family for $12 a month, but he said the food was very good. He has worked in sawmills, construction jobs and spent two years at the Bluebell Mine at Riondel. No matter where he was or what job he was on, he became a participant in the sport of the day. In Riondel it was soccer and they competed against teams from Kaslo, Nelson, Trail and Rossland.

The war took Herb across the ocean for a few years with the Eleventh Canadian Mounted Rifles. His battalion left Vancouver in 1916 and was stationed at Seaford, England. He was wounded at Vimy Ridge and was sent back to England to convalesce. After being cleared by the casualty depot, Herb went to Aldershot to study physical fitness and graduated as a physical director. He received the highest marks on a test given to over a hundred men. While serving in the army he achieved the rank of a sergeant.

He returned to Canada in 1919, and after his discharge he went back to Riondel. He conducted boxing classes in Nelson, and it was there that he became a close friend of George (Pop) Foster who went on to become one of the best fight managers in the country. Pop Foster managed Jimmy McLaren, the Vancouver boy who won the world welterweight championship.

Work was scarce around the Nelson area at that time and Herb moved across the border in 1921 to work at the Bunker Hill Mine in Kellogg, Idaho, and continued his boxing career. While in Kellogg he met Miss Ella Leamy, a nurse from Creston, and they were married at Bonners Ferry in 1925.

On a visit to Yahk, B.C. he met Bob Sheraden who was in his battalion overseas. Bob was from Kimberley and in the course of the conversation he told Herb about the McDougall Hall in Kimberley, and that they were looking for a manager. Herb applied for the job and was hired as Recreational Director in September, 1928.

Kimberley has always been a sports-minded town and Herb fitted in perfectly. His knowledge of boxing and soccer stood him in good stead. He trained many young men in boxing. To name a few there were: Hughie Fraser, Jack Butula, Dave and Tom Masich, Russell Shaw, Fred Rightman, Roy McLeish, Mel Hockley, Murdo Morrison, the McLelland boys and many others.

Herb Stanton.

Hugh Fraser became welterweight champion of Western Canada and Jack Butula represented Canada in the 1954 Olympics in Helsinki. Herb represented British Columbia in boxing personally on three different occasions.

For many years McDougall Hall was the center of indoor sports and recreational activities and many people, both young and old, took advantage of the well-organized programs. The Dynamiters' hockey team would limber up after the summer, in preparation for the coming hockey season. Besides boxing, there was weight lifting, basketball, badminton and gym classes for men and women.

Badminton was very popular and Herb's daughter, Carol and her partner, Bert Fergus, represented B.C. in Quebec City. They won the B.C. eighteen years-and-under badminton championship in 1951.

Herb retired from the McDougall Hall in 1949 and worked in the Carpenter Shop at the Mine until going on pension in 1954.

The Stantons moved to Creston in 1970 where Mrs. Stanton passed away in 1973. Herb moved back to Kimberley in 1976, and resides at the "Pines" Special Care Home.

The loss of his right leg in 1971 was a result of a war injury in the battle of Vimy Ridge. He gets around in a wheelchair, but where other men may have quit, Herb's spirit and desire have never diminished.

Herb's great contribution to sports hasn't gone unnoticed and he has been the recipient of many personal honours including the "Sportsman of the Year" and "Citizen of the Year" awards. In 1975 he was guest of honour at a special Sportsman's Dinner and was presented with the "Harry Brown Memorial Trophy".

The four Stanton children were all excellent athletes and all continued their education after leaving Kimberley.

Betty Joan Hickey is a registered nurse and a mother of three girls and lives in Vancouver. Carol Speaker lives in Creston and has two sons and a daughter. Russell is a prominent lawyer in Vancouver and has three daughters. Probably the best known of the family was the late Dr. Rodger Stanton, an outstanding surgeon, whose sudden death in November, 1977 shocked the entire community.

Mrs. Stanton worked as a nurse and matron in the McDougall Hospital for many years before moving to Creston.

Herb's room at the "Pines" is decorated with his many trophies and plaques and he is always ready to talk about sports. Herb celebrated his 90th birthday on November 13, 1978.

Herb Stanton.

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