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Kimberley Families

The Waites Family
as told by Doris

Steve Waites will long be remembered in this community for his ham radio activities.

He came from Durham, England, in 1920 and after a short period on the prairies, came to Kimberley to work at the Top Mine in the Rockhouse.

The Roberts family came to the Lardeau country from Surry, England, in 1911. For a while they lived at Ferguson, later moving to Marysville. Their history is written in "The Memories of Marysville". Doris Roberts came to the Top Mine in 1920 as did her sister Vi, to work as waitresses in the Cookhouse. Parties and concerts were a regular form of entertainment and this is where Doris met Steve.

They were married in 1922 and their first home was a surveyor's tent until a small cabin was built. The dynamite for blasting the ore came in nice wooden boxes and there were lots of them, so they tore them apart and used them to insulate the. cabin, which gave them both terrific headaches. Doris papered over the top and made the place look very homey.

As early as 1923, Steve had an amateur radio in his home. It became his main hobby for over fifty years.

When the Company moved him to the Assay Office at the Cencentrator in 1925they purchased a block of land at Marysville, in a pretty grove of trees near Mark Creek on the opposite side from the main part of town, and on the road to Kimberley.

Doris Waites

They built a small three-roomed home against the hill that now leads to the Kimberley Golf Course. They lived in this until their beautiful big house was built, with spacious lawns, a tennis court and a croquet set. There was a veranda all along the front. Doris says their home was always filled with friends and activity.

Steve left the Assay Department and was in charge of instrumentation for the entire Kimberley Operations. His knowledge of this enabled him to build an elaborate ham radio outfit. He was responsible for building the first heart fibula tor machine in the old hospital.

They had two children: a daughter, Mildred, was born in Nakusp, while Doris was visiting her mother there, and a son, Donald born in Kimberley in 1927.

When Marysville was first incorporated as a village in 1949, Steve was the Chairman of the first council, along with Warren Keerand Walter Bogstie, a position he held for several years. Cliff Swan, the mayor of Kimberley, presented the first gavel to the newly-formed council.

In the early thirties, when hockey was becoming a league sport in the area, everyone had a radio. Steve was a key figure in arranging the sports broadcasts. When a game was played in Trail, it would be transmitted on Company wires by radio station CJAT, through Steve's radio set, and put over the air from his home. Bill Leaman was the announcer. Doris recalls the local talent that came to the house to fill in the between periods. George James and his one man band was one. They even had a theme song: "Today I am So Happy". When the game was played in Kimberley, they would pack their equipment up to Kimberley on a bob sleigh, so the people in Trail could hear the game over there. During sports days, Steve had an amplifier that enabled everyone to hear. When young Don started playing hockey, he and his buddies would haul their equipment the four miles to Kimberley on the same bob sleigh. Doris remembers making hockey equipment for young Don. His belly pad was made out of gunny sacks stuffed with felt and she padded a pair of his dad's work gloves the same way. There was no fancy manufactured equipment bought in those days of tight money. There were no cars to taxi kids around either. If they wanted to skate or swim, they walked there and back.

The year the Dynamiters won the Allen Cup, Steve and Doris went to Calgary to see them win the Western Championship before they continued east to win the Canadian amateur title. That year the hockey club presented Steve with a plaque and a small trophy in the form of a silver hockey stick in appreciation of all his work in getting the games broadcast.

In the latter years of Steve's life, he was badly crippled with arthritis, so after a year of sick leave, he retired in 1962. The ham radio club held their meetings in his home. He continued to use his set several hours a day, until his death in March, 1974.

Mildred trained as a nurse and went to San Francisco and worked in a doctors office for twenty years. She married Dr. Henry Loon who had two daughters by a previous marriage. They now reside in Sacramento, California.

Don is a metallurgical development technician at the Concentrator. He married Pam Burton of Cranbrook and they have three sons, Kevin and twins Michael and Jim. Kevin is married and lives in Cranbrook where he is assistant manager of Overwaitea. They have a son and a daughter. Michael is a third generation working for the Company. He is taking an apprenticeship in the Machine Shop at the Concentrator and Jim works for Overwaitea in Kimberley.

Don has inherited all of his father's ham radio equipment and is studying how to utilize it. He is also very active with the square dance group and is both the caller and a teacher.

Doris taught Sunday School in Marysville for eighteen years. First in a little house where Galliger's Disco now stands and where Marysville Hardware was for a number of years, and then in Bird's Hall which boasted the only double-decker outhouse in town.

When the first Protestant Church was to be built, in Marysville, the Keer family donated land and Doris, along with other ladies of the congregation, Mrs. Lindy, Verna Kahl, Evelyn Olsen, Mrs. Carragher and Mrs. Bergstrom, helped stack lumber from a torn-down bunkhouse, that had also been donated. The church was built by volunteer labor. When it was finished they named it in honor of Mrs. Keer - "The Laura Keer Interdenominational Church".

Doris is an active member of the Marysville Hospital Auxiliary and for several years their annual tea and bake sale was held on their spacious lawn. Just recently she sold the place as it was too big for her to handle. She lives in an apartment in Marysville so she can still be close to her son and his family and all her many friends. She often spends a few weeks with her daughter in California.

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