Clem Thompson's parents came from London, England, His maternal Grandmother and Grandfather Ashmore, -along with his mother and father and an uncle, travelled by train to the end of steel in 1892.The C.P.R. tracks had gotten as far as Poplar Grove, now named Innisfail, and at that time still called the North West Territories. They settled on a homestead about twelve miles from the railway. Clem was born there in 1894.
When Clem was only three years old, and his brother Joe was only ten days old, his mother died. They were raised by their grandmother and an uncle. When Clem reached school age, there was no school close enough to attend, except the Indian Mission. For one term he attended this one, the only pale face in the class!
He and Joe spent three years overseas from 1916 to 1919 in the 50th Infantry Regiment. On his return he went back to work for the C.P.R. until November of 1919,when he came to Yahk, B.C. along with two car loads of horses, where they worked in the bush for the C.P.R. logging camp there. He returned to Alberta in 1921 for five years. Joe had been working at the Concentrator in Kimberley since 1922 and, in 1926,Clem came to work on the building of the new addition to the Concentrator. He started on the labor gang, with Harry Stone as his boss.
For the next twenty-one years he worked in the Concentrator and then spent twelve years on heavy equipment outside at the Concentrator. During the Second World war in 1942 Clem was in the Pacific Coast Military Rangers.
Clem, like many others who came here before the town was incorporated, worked toward improving conditions. The Workman's Co-op Committee was first formed in 1925 and Clem joined them in 1935. He acted as Shop Steward and became the president of Local 651 Union for eight years. He recalls attending the meeting that changed the entire set up of working conditions. In the early days, there had been a committee to act as liaison between workers and management, called the "Crab Committee". Mr. Blaylock was Vice-President of the Western Division for the Company and he looked upon the old arrangement as one big family with the usual disagreements, and he was very disappointed in the final decision. Clem spent twenty years on the Union Board.
He was chairman of the Medical Committee and acted on the Workman's Compensation Board. He was a director of the Credit Union for eighteen years. He also worked on the project Society. In 1959, Clem was elected Mayor of the City for two years and in 1970 he was elected to City Council as alderman for a two year term.
Clem married Helen Hovey in 1922. Her parents had come from Michigan to Innisfail in 1908. She was one of a family of eleven children. Clem and Helen had two children: Lee and Marlene. Lee was born in Innisfail and Marlene in Kimberley. Lee has worked for the Company at the Concentrator since leaving school. He married Edna Coon and they have two daughters, and still reside in Chapman Camp. Marlene married Bernie Macine. He was with the R.C.M.P. but is now an insurance agent living in Trail. They have three daughters.
Helen passed away in March of 1975 and Clem still resides in their home in Chapman Camp. He can remember when the Company employed as many as seventeen hundred persons at one time. Many changes have taken place since Clem first came to Kimberley but he has enjoyed his fiftythree years here and, with good health and many good friends, too numerous to mention, it has been a good life.