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Kimberley Families

The Thomas Family

as told by Rosa and her daughter, Eileen

James (Jim) Thomas was born in Cornwall, England, and worked in a tin mine there, before he and a friend came out to a mine at Grass Valley, about eighty miles east of Sacramento, California. By 1912he was in Calgary working in the Ogden shops of the C.P.R.

It was there he met Rosa Austin. She was born in Norfolk, England, and had come to Calgary to stay with two brothers that had come there earlier. Jim and Rosa were married in 1913.

Jim's next job was in the copper mines at Butte, Montana, in 1914 where a daughter, Thelma, was born. He was back working in Calgary when a son, Vivian, was born. His next job was working on the construction of the Tranquille Sanitarium and their only accommodation was a tent. By the winter of 1919, Jim was working in Vancouver when the influenza epidemic was so bad, and they had to live across from a very busy cemetery.

Their next move was to Drumheller and Rosa remembers the long train trip through the Rockies. Jim went mining and a second daughter, Eileen, was born there. By 1922 they were back in Calgary where Jim got work at a foundry, and their third daughter, Pauline, arrived. The next move was to Cranbrook where Jim worked for the Sash and Door Lumber Company, piling lumber.

Rosa and Jim Thomas.

In 1928 he got a job with the Company in Kimberley as a miner. They first lived in a little house next door to the Barragon apartment building and a son, Norman, was born while they lived there. A couple of more moves and they finally obtained a house on the Townsite. Jim retired from the Company in 1948 and after a lengthy illness he passed away in 1959.

Thelma married Frank Goosney while he was working as a mechanic for Jim Mitchell. He went to work for the Company in the Steel Shop and is now retired. They have two children, Pat and Cyril, and they still reside in Kimberley. Pat married Art Thorrougood and Cyril is an electrician for the Company.

Vivian married Ruth Elkerton and they had one daughter, Marilyn, now Mrs. Scoates in Vancouver. Vivian was a steel sharpener for the Company before his death in 1946.

Eileen married Ralph Case and they had two daughters, Judith and Sharon, before Ralph passed away in 1947.Judith is married and lives in Winnipeg, and Sharon is also married and lives in Grass Valley, California. In 1949Eileen married James Donald, who had one son, Scott, and they had two more sons, Bruce and Norman. Scott lives in Rossland, and works in the research lab for the Company. Bruce is a mining engineer in Saskatoon and Norman is a pharmacist in Nanaimo. All three boys are married. Eileen and James lived at Riondel for seventeen years. After the Bluebell mine there closed down they went to Elkford for three years and, later, Calgary for three years. James retired while they were there and they have just recently returned to live in Cranbrook.

Pauline married Dave Gold, a machinist for the Company. They are now living in Elkford. They had five children, Diane died at age five. Jeff and Greg are twins and there is Jill and Robin. Jeff and Greg are now working at Port Hardy on Vancouver Island.

Norman, the only one born in Kimberley, received all his schooling to grade thirteen before attending U.B.C. In order to become a pharmacist he had one year apprenticeship with Fraser McKay before attending University. He returned and worked one more year with Fraser McKay and then accepted a position with Park Davis Company in Lethbridge. Norman married Catherine Hennessy, a nurse in the Kimberley Hospital, in his last year of University. They had five children while they were living in Lethbridge: Cara, Paula, Jeff, and twins, Andrea and Greg. After leaving the employment of Park Davis, Norman worked for a clinic before returning to Kimberley and purchased Lloyd Saunders Drug Store. When the Bank of Montreal moved to their new building where the theatre used to be, Norman bought the old bank building and remodeled it into a drug store where he served the residents of Kimberley for many years.

Norman did not really want to leave Kimberley, but the opportunity to advance his position in life was a real challenge and this year of 1978, he sold his business and accepted the position of Registrar for the B.C. Pharmaceudical Association in Vancouver.

As a boy, Norman took singing lessons from Mrs. Glanville and Mrs. Suart. He has delighted many audiences with his beautiful voice. His last tremendous effort for the community of Kimberley was his driving force that got the Pines Special Care Home built.

Rosa resides on Burdett Street and is a familiar figure as she keeps active on her daily walk to and from town. She is a faithful member of the Senior Citizens Association.

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