LAURIE Konchak

LAURIE KONCHAK

 

  • Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, February 17, 1943

  • Mother  - Vivian Rhonda Magee

  • Father – William Daniel Konchak

  • Married - Daniel Neil McCullem, April 18, 1974,- Divorced

  • Children - No

  • Moved to Vancouver BC - October, 1966

  • Moved to Seattle, WA - April, 1974

Laurie was born in Winnipeg and when she was only six months old she went with her mother by train to join her dad in St. Thomas, Ontario because he was in the Air Force.  When she was nine months old they returned to Winnipeg and lived in the upstairs suite of Jack & Evelyn Carmichael.  Laurie’s favorite person was their son Bruce who was nine years old.  She would always call for him whenever she heard him downstairs to ‘come have a cupa tea’ with her.   When she was two years old they moved to 253 Young Street where she has her earliest memories.  She remembers her first boyfriend Brucie Andrews, playing with the kids next door, the skating rink her dad made for her in the back yard and especially the day her brother Jeff was born.

     

She started school at Mulvey School and attended Kindergarten there but the family moved back to the family home on Alverstone Street when she was in the first grade.  That was a very traumatic year for her because she started school at Mulvey, then was moved to Principal Sparling School during the year and because her birthday was in February it was decided that she should skip a grade, so she took Grades one and two together going straight into Grade 3 the next year.  It was also the year Winnipeg had a huge flood and the whole city was evacuated so she and her mom and brother went to live in Toronto where she also went to school....all during the first grade.

Academically she did OK but socially she always felt inferior to her classmates and was very shy.  She finished Grade six at Principal Sparling and then went on to Sargent Park School for 7, 8, & 9 before Grades 10 & 11 at Daniel McIntyre High School.  She was the pitcher for the School Baseball Team at Sparling, represented the school in speed skating at Sargent Park and was on the bowling team in High School.  She also played on the school volleyball team, did track and field and curled. In Daniel (McIntyre Collegiate) she chose to take the subjects, like shorthand and typing, that would prepare her for a secretarial career. Following High School she attended Manitoba Institute of Technology where she graduated in 1960.

Her first job was at the Canadian Pacific Railway.  She worked for five years giving her the benefit of a leave of absence and the ability to travel VIA rail for free to Montreal and 25% off on the CP Steamships so she took advantage of that opportunity and went to Europe with her friend Chrystol for three and a half months.  They traveled for two weeks hitchhiking around England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, took a two-month tour of ten countries on the continent and then another two weeks hitchhiking in Norway, Sweden and Denmark before returning by cruise ship to Canada.

 

She spent her summers at the lake up until the time she left Winnipeg.  In 1966 she moved to Vancouver, B. C. with three of her girlfriends and lived in a highrise apartment overlooking English Bay and Stanley Park.  The girls felt that they had ‘died and gone to heaven’ and that they were on permanent vacation.  She worked a little for the CPR then CP Air and finally landed a job at the Hotel Vancouver that she just loved planning all the conventions and sales meetings that were held in the Hotel.  She worked there for about five years and then for a tour operator doing pre and post convention tours and helped him build his business.   She bought a home in Point Roberts and fixed it up and moved there, commuting to Vancouver.  She skied on weekends and met her husband Dan while having a ski cabin at Mt. Baker with five of her friends.  

She married Dan in 1974 and moved to Seattle.  She began working for Lorig Associates when the company consisted of just her and her boss Bruce Lorig.  Over the years she was involved in all of the company’s development projects.  Beginning with the design development, through the construction management process, she also did the marketing, selling and leasing, and set up the property management of each new project.  She became a partner in the company and had the opportunity to invest in the real estate that the company developed.  She worked for Lorig for 17 years.  The company grew to 45 people and by then she felt she was ready for something different.  She did some consulting for a while and met up with another man who wanted to start a new company.  She worked for Hadley Holdings for four years, helping to build four projects and then called it quits.  She retired December 31, 1995 working right up until 8:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve to get everything she wanted to get done, which says it all!!!

During her working years she volunteered to be a Big Sister and has enjoyed a 20-year friendship with her ‘Little Sister’, Angie. She and Angie were matched when she was 10 years old.  Angie now lives in Arizona and is the mother of two boys.  She also was on the Board of the Boys & Girls Club for five years and Plymouth Housing where she organized the property management of the low-income housing projects for the Board.

 

Since retiring she has traveled extensively.  She went to school for three years to learn Spanish and has found a passion in traveling, especially to Spanish Speaking Countries.  She usually lives with a family who doesn’t speak English and has made wonderful friends of the families she has had the opportunity to meet.  She also has a passion for taking videos of her travels and creates wonderful travel videos of her adventures.  The video making combines her creative talents, her organizational and detail-oriented skills and her love of traveling.  She feels she has become a citizen of the world and has invited young people from her travels to come and have an American experience in her home.  She has hosted young people from Japan, Mexico, Spain and Turkey and feels very enriched by those experiences. In 2002 she had her greatest challenge of all when she walked The Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage route across northern Spain.  She began at the border between France and Spain and walked over 500 miles in 40 days ending up at the Atlantic Ocean.  It was an incredible experience and she met some wonderful people from all over the world.

In 2005-2006 she spent six months in Europe and was able to visit the birth places of her ancestors.  She spent several days at the country records offices in Gloucester, England, Cwmbran in Wales and Old Meldrum near Aberdeen in Scotland looking through the old parish records to track the family histories of the Richards, Simmons, and the Murrays.  It was a great adventure and she was able to uncover many of the details you have read about our family history.