GLADYS (nee Murray) then Magee, then Campbell
Born in North Gower, Ontario in 1891
Married Gladys Murray 1913
Children Helena (Isabelle), Verna and Vivian
Died in Cardinal, Ontario May 9, 1963
Dave was a handsome Irishman who swept Gladys off her feet when she was only 16 years old when he was living and working in Winnipeg. Gladys married Dave and moved to Cardinal, Ontario where they lived in the home of his parents, David and Isabella (nee Beggs) Magee.
Dave's father David Magee was married to Catherine (nee Johnston) who passed away in 1886. David's second wife was Isabella Beggs. Dave’s half-siblings (children of Catherine) were:
William Henry Magee
James H. Magee
John L. Magee
Dave's full-siblings (children of Isabella) were:
Mary C. Magee
Clark(e) Wallace Magee
Hazel isabella Magee
possibly a son N.P. Magee
Dave' brother Tom had a grocery store in Cardinal and Dave worked in it. It soon became apparent that Dave drank too much and was abusive. Gladys left once and came back to Winnipeg but he followed her, promised to change, and she did go back for another while. On one occasion that Gladys was planning to leave, the grandparents (David and Isabella) hid the oldest daughter Isabelle so Gladys would not go. Ultimately things did not improve. In 1920 or 1921 Gladys' father, John Murray, went to retrieve Gladys and her three daughters and they all left for good moving back to Winnipeg.
Since divorce was out of the question in those days the ties were cut but aside from keeping in touch with his brother Clark, Gladys severed the relationship when she moved back to Winnipeg. Dave did try to maintain a relationship with his girls with the occasional card and presents but unfortunately because of the times the relationship did not continue.
When Dave died on May 9, 1963, his oldest daughter, Isabelle was seen quietly reading the obituary on the front steps of her newer home. Isabelle's wedding anniversary was also May 9th and I am sure she was wondering about how much her dad had missed.
WILLIAM HOPPER 'Pop' CAMPBELL
Born in Mainsville, Ontario April 5, 1896
Came to Winnipeg 1926 as a grain harvester
Married Gladys Murray November 16, 1963
Step-Children Isabelle, Verna and Vivian
Died in Winnipeg May 8, 1966
Bill Campbell lived on a farm until the family moved to Cardinal, Ontario. They were very poor and he went to school but not for long because he had to work. His father Aaron died when he was quite young but his mother, Alice, lived until the early 1950s. Alice had a wonderful sense of humour which may be where Bill got his sense of humour. There were four children in the family with Bill being the eldest, then Annie who died very young when she drowned. His brother Gordon also died when he was a young man from tuberculosis. Bill was always very close to his sister Bessie who lived in Prescott, Ontario until she was in her 90s.
His sister Bessie remembers how good he was to her and she loved to climb up on his knee and comb his hair which he wore in a wonderful pompadour. This became a family legend because granddaughters Rhonda and Laurie, along with family friend’s daughter Dorothy, all remember doing the same. Rhonda and Laurie remember standing behind him in the big green chair in Mom’s apartment on Bannatyne Avenue and combing his hair, putting big silver wave clips and bobby pins in it and trying to curl it. He would always patiently sit there and enjoy it.
Pop was a trickster in his growing up days and always had lots of fun playing tricks on people. Whenever he went on a trip he would bring presents for his sister Bessie and later for his niece Shirley.
He was the first one to have a car in the family and would come over in the evenings to take family members for a ride. He worked for People’s Credit Jewelers as an outside salesman and would pop in frequently when out making his calls. Pop often brought crusty rolls fresh from the oven with him. Later on (part of) his job responsibility was repossessing articles that customers bought on credit but did not keep up payments; a kind of "repo man". He always seemed to have an abundance of watches on hand.
Everyone remembers the wonderful Sunday picnics at Hobbans and Duggards and Pop playing baseball with everyone and throwing the kids in the water. We also have great memories of Pop at Winnipeg Beach and lots of funny stories. He was always making everyone laugh and had some great expressions, like – you had to go to the bathroom so badly your back teeth were floating, or that a good salesman was someone who could sell ice to the Eskimos; someone was busier than a cat covering ‘whasitsname’ on a tin roof. He never could say the work Ukrainian and always put an ‘l” in it calling them Uklaranians.
There are lots of stories from the days when Isabelle, Verna, Vivian and their husbands, along with Mom and Pop spent summer holidays at Winnipeg Beach. Some of our favourite stories on Pop are that he had to sleep in a little pantry just off the kitchen. It was so small that only a bed fit in there so he would have to go over the end to get in bed and there was a curtain that was drawn across. He always said that whenever anyone went by they would open the curtain and peek in to see what was in there. Another time he was out in the biffie and everyone began to wonder what had happened to him he was gone so long. When he came in he said there was no toilet paper so he had had to use up a whole pack of his cigarette papers.
Family dinners are what we remember most about Pop. He and Verna were always telling stories and making everyone laugh. We would laugh so much our stomachs would ache and those family dinners are a real highlight for all members of the family.
HELENA ISABELLE (nee Magee) CRUICKSHANK
Born in Cardinal, Ontario, August 8, 1914
Mother - Gladys Elizabeth Murray
Father – Dave Magee
Married Charlie Cruickshank May 9, 1936
Children – Rhonda, Raymond and Heather
Died July 17, 2011
Isabelle’s mother, Gladys, left Cardinal, Ontario, when Isabelle was 6 and her two sisters, Verna and Vivian were 4 and 2. They went to live with Isabelle’s grandparents, sharing accommodation with Julia (Ma), John (Dada), Aunt Ruby, Aunt Hazel and Uncle Geordie.
As a child, Isabelle always had to keep an eye on her two sisters. When they lived at 180 Princess Street, (above the Murray Harness Shop owned by their grandfather), they used to go around the corner to play on Elgin Avenue. It was Isabelle’s job to keep track of her 2 younger sisters.
When the depression hit, Isabelle, like many others, dropped out of school (in grade 9) to work and help support the family. She did housework and like many people in those days was trying to get a job at Eaton's. One day the phone rang and it was for Isabelle to go to work at Eaton’s, but Ma (her grandmother, whom they lived with) said she was already working but that she had a daughter Ruby who was available for work. When Gladys found out what had happened she took the girls and moved to their own apartment, which caused resentment and hard feelings in the family. Isabelle eventually did get a job working in the Mail Order Department of Eaton’s parceling up things to be sent out.
The Cruickshank Family were friends of Grandpa Murray (George Murray born 1850) and one evening he invited them to a party at his son John’s home, where his granddaughter Isabelle was living at the time. Mrs. (Georgina) Cruickshank insisted that her son Charlie come along and although he didn’t want to go he finally relented. It was the night he met Isabelle and fell in love with her. Charlie asked Isabelle, "How old are you?" Isabelle replied with her right age, "I'm 18" to which Charlie replied, "So am I"; although he was one year younger, 17.
Charlie had a motorcycle and when he would come over and take Isabelle out for a ride, Ruby thought he was coming over to play the piano with her and Hazel thought they should all go with him if he ever came over with a car. There was a lot of jealousy on the part of Ruby and Hazel, which was another of the reasons that Gladys moved out.
Charlie was working for a drugstore as a delivery person and was wishing he could get a better job so that he and Isabelle could get married. He eventually got a job working for Neul’s Spring Service and they were able to get married in 1936.
Mrs. Walker and her married daughter, Margie, lived side by side in a duplex. When Charlie and Isabelle were married they lived upstairs in Mrs. Walker’s home on Maryland Avenue and Gladys, Verna and Vivian lived downstairs next door in the house of her daughter Margie and her husband Johnny Tuff. Johnny was really funny and they have great memories of the great parties they used to have. Johnny always told the story about how Margie was always changing the furniture in their two-room apartment and when he came home he never knew where anything was. One night he came home late, didn’t turn on any lights and flopped onto the bed only to find that the bed was no longer in that location.
From Maryland Avenue Charlie and Isabelle moved to the upstairs of a home on Beverley Street. When the King and Queen came to Winnipeg in 1939 Isabelle was expecting her first child, Rhonda, and Isabelle's sister Vivian remembers them all going to see the parade together. Housing was scarce but their next move was to the upstairs of a house on Lipton Street. Charlie and Isabelle had very little money. The landlord was complaining about the amount of water being used to wash diapers. Charlie was frustrated with trying to find housing for his small family. Landlords did not want children as tenants. Charlie was talking to his Dad (Frank Cruickshank) about the problem and his Dad, who was a carpenter, told him to buy a lot and he would build a house for them. Charlie’s answer was, “I have no money for a house”. His Dad had a good reputation with the lumber yards so in the summer of 1941, Charlie, his Dad and Charlie’s two brothers (Hughie and Alex) built the home on 1156 Downing Street, Winnipeg. Rhonda was 2 years old when they moved in.
There are lots of stories about Isabelle and all the funny things she did over her lifetime. She was a great storyteller and had amazingly things happen to her which made her the source of many funny family stories. One of the favourites is that when she was first married she threw Charlie’s long underwear in the wash with something red and when he went to put it on he had pink underwear. Also she needed to wrap someone’s neck with a cloth when they had a cold and cut up a rag, which turned out to be his long underwear and when he went to put it on it had one long and one short leg. She also took a cake to a picnic that had been cooked in the oven where the temperature was uneven so one side of the cake had risen nicely and the other end was flat so as people got their pieces the pieces got bigger and bigger as you cut across the cake. On another occasion, she tried her hand at knitting a pair of socks for Charlie. Apparently she didn’t know when to stop. The socks, which were supposed to be mid-calf length, came up to Charlie’s knees !
She is also known for her famous lemon pie. Being a new bride she wanted to impress Charlie by making him a lemon pie, which was his favorite. She followed the recipe and was just about to put it in the oven when she remembered she hadn’t put the lemon in so she just squeezed it around on top. Poor Charlie, he took one bite and it didn’t taste anything like lemon pie, then took another bite and got so much lemon that it puckered him up
Isabelle was very much a musician’s wife. Charlie had his own Orchestra and Isabelle spent most Saturday nights (and New Year’s Eve) on her own while Charlie was out with his trumpet. Although Isabelle found those times lonely, she really loved the Big Band era and shared Charlie’s love of collecting records of the famous artists of the day. When a celebrity musician or vocalist came to Winnipeg, Charlie’s orchestra was usually the one chosen to accompany the celebrity. Isabelle would go in the stage door of the Winnipeg Auditorium with Charlie and get a free seat to hear the “big names” who came to town: Louis Armstrong, Mills Brothers, Mel Torme, Frankie Lane, etc. She “thrilled” to the music of the big band sound and would tell Charlie how good the orchestra sounded that night.
Eventually, a new baby boy arrived---Raymond Charles. Then, another daughter, Heather Dale was born, completing the family. The house on Downing Street was very crowded with only 2 bedrooms, 2 preschoolers, plus a teenager in high school and later in university. However, the move to St Vital (28 Cabot Crescent) did not take place until the year after Rhonda got married.
Isabelle was widowed when Charlie died suddenly at 50 years of age. Isabelle was then left to raise her last 2 children on her own. Isabelle had not worked for 30 years and had no training. With the help of her son-in–law, Gord, she got a job at the Bay store downtown. After a few years of working there, she went to work at Shopper’s Drug Mart at Polo Park. She really liked that job and the boss that she worked for in that store. She retired at age 65 and lived with her daughter Heather still in the family home in St. Vital, until (date??)
June 1978 - Isabelle with her granddaughter,
Melanie Dawn Cruickshank
CHARLES NORRIE CRUICKSHANK
Born in Winnipeg August 21, 1915
Mother - Georgina (nee Norrie) Cruickshank
Father – Francis (Frank) Cruickshank
Married Helena Isabelle Magee May 9, 1936
Children – Rhonda, Raymond and Heather
Died in Winnipeg, April 7, 1966
When Charlie was a teenager his mother was worshipping at the Salvation Army Citadel. In Spite of family poverty music was considered to be an essential and Charlie had violin lessons from the best teacher in Winnipeg. The teacher said that Charlie was gifted and an excellent violinist and that he could take him no further…..so now enters the Salvation Army Brass Band. Each week Charlie brought home a different brass instruments—each one a bit bigger than the one before. Finally his dad told him that if he kept on this way, he would have to take a wheelbarrow to the rehearsal the next week to bring home the next chosen instrument. Charlie was about 15 years old at the time and finally settled on the trumpet. The rest is history. He used to sneak down the back lane in his Salvation Army Uniform so the kids wouldn’t see him and tease him.
The Cruickshank family were friends of the Murray's. They had met through Isabelle’s great grandfather (George Murray) who delivered coal oil to the Cruickshank house at 1040 Garfield St. George Murray played the violin and Georgina Cruickshank (Charlie’s Mother) would stop her housework or whatever else she was doing when she saw George Murray coming across the prairie with his fiddle case in his hand. Georgina would play the piano to accompany George. They spent many enjoyable hours playing old Scottish tunes together. One day George told Georgina to bring her son Charlie to a musical evening that was happening at Isabelle’s grandparents’ home. Charlie definitely did not want to go but his Mom insisted that he go. When he got there he met Isabelle and fell for her and the rest is history. She was 18 years old and he was 17.
Vivian remembers one time when Charlie promised to teach her how to ice skate and one day she was waiting on the corner of Sherbrook and Portage when along came Denny (her future husband). He asked her what she was doing and she said she was waiting for her sister’s boyfriend, Charlie, who was going to take her skating. It turned out that Charlie forgot all about her and felt really bad. She never did learn to skate.
When Charlie married Isabelle in 1936 they lived in the upstairs of the Walker’s home for a time on Maryland Street. However, living in someone else’s home with a baby was difficult and since Charlie’s Dad was a carpenter, he told Charlie that he would build a house for him. Charlie didn’t have the money for the lumber but his Dad’s “credit” was good at one of the local lumberyards. In the summer of 1941, Charlie and his Dad built 1156 Downing Street where the family lived until 1962.
When Denny and Vivian came back from St. Thomas after the War with their daughter Laurie, they lived with Isabelle and Charlie for a while (one winter) before they were able to get their own place. Charlie had heard about getting a rum soaked keg to which you could add boiling water and then by rolling the barrel over a period of time you could make your own rum. He bought one of the barrels and they kept it right at the front door and after dinner he and Denny would roll the barrel right out the front door. The rum they made had quite a punch to it. The longer they left it, the stronger it got. They had lots of laughs over making their rum and many good parties.
Charlie had his own Orchestra, called the Charlie Cruickshank Orchestra. He shunned the word "band". Vivian remembers Charlie and his orchestra playing at The Royal Templar’s Hall when they were young and at the Policeman’s Ball in the Crystal Ballroom at the Royal Alexandra Hotel every year. When a celebrity musician, vocalist, other entertainer, the circus or other event came to Winnipeg, Charlie’s orchestra was usually the one chosen to accompany the celebrity. He played for such greats as Louis Armstrong, Mills Brothers, Mel Torme, Frankie Lane, etc. His Orchestra was recognized as being the best Big Band in the city at that time----late 1940's to the end of the 50's. He and a radio announcer from CJOB, Ed Ferry started a teen program called Club 1340. You had to write in for a membership and received a membership card and number in the mail. The program played the popular tunes of the day and at that time the music that the kids were listening to was the Big Band stuff and music like the Mills Brothers. Ed Ferry and Charlie formed a partnership. They rented the Winnipeg Auditorium and put on their own Big Band dances. They became very popular and the young people came in very large numbers to the dances. The dance floor was packed. Isabelle and Ed’s wife worked in the ticket booth at the dances. Isabelle really loved that. She was part of the fun and the music. Those dances were broadcast for half an hour over CJOB every Saturday night. The program opened with the Orchestra’s Theme Song and Ed Ferry announced each song, soloist etc. throughout the program. It was truly and exciting time.
Charlie penned a lot of his orchestra's library by listening to the original song on a 78 rpm vinyl record, played by the big name band of the day who had made the song popular. Then he and a friend would "lift" the score for each instrument in the 12-piece band. It took hours and hours of work to complete one song without the benefit of digital 'spotting'. Then he rented a hall for
Sunday afternoon rehearsals and the orchestra would perfect the song so that it sounded just like the band that people were listening to on the radio.
In the 1950's during the summer months they played at the Dance Hall at Winnipeg Beach. At first the band played every night. That lasted for about 3 summers. Then it was reduced to Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. During this time, Charlie built (with his brothers and father), the cottage at Winnipeg Beach where the family stayed all summer while he commuted back and forth to Winnipeg daily to do his day job. Eventually the pace got to be too much and the cottage was sold in 1957 or 58.
With the family growing, 1156 Downing Street became too small so in 1962 they moved to 28 Cabot Crescent in St. Vital. Charlie did not build this house, however. He had already built the house on Downing as well as helping to build his brother Hughie’s house on Garfield Street and Alex’s house on Clifton, as well as the cottage at Winnipeg Beach and that was enough. He let a builder do this last house.
Charlie died suddenly when he was only 50 years of age on April 7, 1966. He had walked home in the terrible snowstorm that hit the city on March 4, 1966 and it is thought this contributed to the heart attack on April 7th. Probably the most remarkable thing about Charlie was that he was a very gifted musician as well as a perfectionist about his music.
VERNA (nee Magee) LIGHTFOOT
Born in Cardinal, Ontario, July 3, 1916
Mother - Gladys Elizabeth Murray
Father – Dave Magee
Married - Arthur Lightfoot 1941
Children - Donna, Leslie, Eileen
Died in Winnipeg, December 18, 1984
When Verna was little she was never seen without her two sisters. She was the middle one of "The Three Magees." The three of them went everywhere hand in hand. Living above the J. Murray & Co harness shop, on Princess Street, in Winnipeg, she liked to play with the Elgin (Avenue) Gang of neighborhood kids, around the corner. She would have been about five when her mom Gladys moved back to Winnipeg from Cardinal, Ontario where she was born. As she got a bit older the kids would play baseball, make up concerts and she always sang with her sisters. The three girls would go to the movies and then come back and act out all the singing and dancing parts for the boys. The boys would laugh at them but they all had a great time. One time the boys put on a play that was so sad that they had everyone in tears.
Her sister Vivian remembers that she had a very good, strong voice and was easy to harmonize with because she could hold the melody very well. Verna loved to tell jokes and kept the best ones in a notebook. She had a great sense of humour and was always the center of attention with her story telling. She also was a great mimic and always had everyone laughing.
She liked to tell the story of one of the boys taking her to the show one time. When they got there he bought popcorn but ate it all himself and never even offered any to her. She never forgot that.
She was 8 years old when the family moved to Eugenie Street in Norwood where she met her dearest friend Ruth Norquay, who later became Ruth MacLeod, and with whom she shared a lifelong friendship. Verna never liked school very much so she and Ruth were always out with their gang and she never studied. She was a great runner and won any race that she entered. Her sister Vivian said that she could win her own races but she could never beat Verna, she could run like the wind. Verna finally left school in the 9th grade staying home to keep house for her mom and sisters. She and her older sister Isabelle did housework for people and minded children to make a little pocket money. Jobs were hard to come by so when Johnny Tate, who worked with her mother, Gladys, asked Gladys one day if she thought Verna would like a job in the envelope department at Gages she jumped at the chance. One day at work she got her hand caught in the envelope machine and had a pretty sore, swollen hand for a while. She and Gladys used to walk back and forth to work at W. J.Gage Company (Gages), behind the old City Hall, from their apartment on Edmonton Street in all kinds of weather.
A big part of her teen years was the dances. She and Vivian always went to the dances together. They didn’t want to be tied down to anyone in particular because they loved to dance and wanted to fill up their dance cards with the best dancers. They would start out the evening dancing together and then the boys would see that they were good dancers and come and ask them to dance. The night she met Art for the first time, he asked Vivian to dance first and then Verna and after a few more dances they got together to compare notes on who were the best dancers. They both agreed that Art was a terrific dancer but Vivian said “but he is so young!” He really wasn’t but in those days he looked much younger than them.
Besides the dances at the Blind Institute (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) they went down to Winnipeg Beach on the train called the Moonlight Special on Saturday nights to dance. They would take the train down to the beach in the evening and then after the dance let out, the train would bring everyone back to Winnipeg. One night they stayed too long at the dance talking to people after it was over and missed the train. They weren’t alone, there were several people who had missed the train so they had to send the train back again from the city to pick them up. They knew that their mom and Isabelle would be frantic wondering what happened to them but in those days there was nothing you could do to let them know. So they arrived home in the wee small hours of the morning and their mom and Isabelle were indeed beside themselves with worry.
During this time they dated a couple of brothers who had a roadster. Whoever was in the front with the brother that was driving was protected but the one in the back with the other brother would get blown to bits. Another set of brothers they dated were the Smith Brothers and Pop Campbell used to tease them about dating the Cough Drop Brothers. When Isabelle started dating Charlie, who had his own dance orchestra, they used to go to The Cave and The Embassy Ballroom where he was playing. Mostly they went to the Royal Templar’s Hall on Portage Avenue and Young Street as Charlie seemed to be there a great deal of the time. If ever someone was a bad dancer they would go past someone they knew and raise their eyebrows in silent plea to be rescued and someone like Art would come along and tap their partner on the shoulder and cut in on the dance. When Verna started to date Art they would walk from their apartment on Edmonton Street and pick up Art along the way and then all go to the Blind Institute Dances.
When Vivian started going with Denny the three boys, Art, Denny and Charlie would all come over to Gladys’s for dinner every Sunday night. There was always a roast and home-made pies. The girls always kidded that they got their husbands because their mom made such good pies. The boys all lived in the west end of the city and would all walk home together.
When Art went into the Air Force in 1941 he and Verna were married and went to live in Toronto for the duration of the war (World War II). She got a job again with Gages as that was their head office. Every once in a while they would take the train back to Winnipeg to visit everyone and finally came home for good in 1945.
They lived for a while in the Bannatyne Apartments just down the hall from Gladys before buying their first home on Burnell Street. Verna was heartbroken when she lost her first baby, a little girl, but soon afterward adopted her daughter Donna in 1948. They adopted their son Les in 1952 and Verna became pregnant with her daughter Eileen in 1955.
Verna was always a great bowler and the highlight came when she almost bowled a perfect game. It was perfect right up until the last frame when everyone in the bowling alley had stopped their games and crowded around to watch. She got so nervous that she missed the final pin. She enjoyed the Winter Club and spent many happy hours there with her family. She and Art had lots of parties and a wide circle of friends.
She and Art bought a cottage at Laclu, near Kenora, Ontario, and spent their summers fishing, relaxing and entertaining. She was a good fisherwoman and even scored the largest fish ever caught by the family. One of the family’s favourite stories about her is when she tried golfing at Winnipeg Beach. It was in the old days when she was trying to impress Art with her versatility. She found it hard to find the ball after she had teed off so he told her to line the ball up with something. She did but still couldn’t find her ball. When he asked her what she had lined it up with she said a cow, and unfortunately the cow had moved.
She always had the same hairdo and had her hair done once a week. She always had tons of friends and after she and Art moved to their home at 28 Lawndale they always had everyone over for Boxing Day. They had an Open House for as long as anyone can remember on Boxing Day and it was a real Christmas tradition for all of their friends and family.
ARTHUR LESLIE LIGHTFOOT
Born - May 12, 1918
Mother - Charlotte Gravette
Father – Charles Lightfoot
Married - Verna Magee 1941
Children - Donna, Leslie, Eileen
Died in Winnipeg, October 16, 2008
Art lived in the family home at 626 Burnell Street. He was 1 ½ younger than his brother John who was born March 18, 1917. Their dad made a skating rink for them along the side of the house. When he was 10 years a kid at school picked on him so his dad taught him how to box so he could stand up for himself.
He attended Greenway School for grades 1 through 6 then General Wolfe for grades 7 through 9 before going to Daniel McIntyre for High School. He excelled in all sports but was particularly good at Track and Field running the 100-meter, 220 and was the ¼ mile champ. He also did the high jump. He played basketball at Robertson Memorial Church. Went to OBU Camp (One Big Union). When he was 11 & 12 years old he was the Manitoba Swimming Champion at Sherbrooke Pool.
Art met Verna when he was 15 years old at the Blind Institute Dances. He remembers all the wonderful times they all had at Winnipeg Beach, especially at the Dance Hall and also there were lots of parties at the house.
His first job was as a bookkeeper for Bond and Ronald Candy Company. He loved math. When he had been there for one year old Mr. Ronald gave him a job as Salesman and he sold candy until the War. His territory was Southeastern Manitoba. He bought his first new car when he was 19 years old, in 1937.
In 1940 he went into the Air Force and because of his athletics he became a P. T. Instructor. He was sent to Toronto and taught basic training at Manning Depot for about a year teaching new recruits the regulations of war. He then became a Flight Sergeant with an Exhibition Squadron and trained 3 flights of 60 men. The drill team traveled to put on exhibitions for recruiting drives. He then became a Warrant Officer First Class and was transferred to Belleville, Ontario where he ran the Air Force Elementary Training Center, which was the first stage of training for the men who would become pilots.
He married Verna in 1941 in Winnipeg and Verna went to Toronto with him. When he went overseas to England with the Number 6 Bomber Group, Verna came back to Winnipeg and worked at Gages for six months before he came home.
He became a Manufacturers Agent for Steamer Maxwell and worked there four years. It was a Lumber and Hardware Store and one of the products he sold was to Acklands. The Manager of that company took a liking to him and wanted him to come to Acklands to work. He went to work at Acklands as the Manager of the Appliance Department and worked there 6 or 7 years.
In 1957 or 1958 he met George Whitbread and started working in the Security Guard Business. He traveled across Canada setting up various security guard businesses and after about 4 years he finally went out on his own and formed his own company, Lightfoot Security & Investigation where he worked until 1985 when he retired.
After retirement, he still did a bit of consulting. When Verna passed away, which was about the same time as he retired, he began getting involved with slow learners. It was in conjunction with the school, which was behind his home. Art began collecting items that could be repaired and redistributing them to places that could use them. As an example, he collected fishing rods from some of the Shriners that he knew and fixed them up and passed them along to the slow learners. He was honored as Shriner of the Year for the work he had done with the slow learners group. In addition to the fishing rods he also took scrap paper and made them into notepads, collected and distributed clothing, and old trophies (taking off the inscriptions), cleaning them up and giving them to schools to be used as trophies. Art received an Air Canada Heart of Gold award in 1988 for his work with special needs children.
In 1983 his friend Helen Wainwright lost her husband Harold, and his wife Verna died in 1984. They had all been friends through the Winter Club for over 35 years. In 1989 he asked Helen if she would like to go to the New Year’s Eve Party at the Club with him and it was the best thing he ever did. They continued to be very close friends and spent a lot of time together until her death in 2005.
In 2006 Art moved to Amber Meadows Gracious Retirement Living where he says he feels like he is always on a cruise. With good meals, great exercise equipment, bowling and new and old friends to share it with, he feels very fortunate to have found such a wonderful place to live.
Art passed away October 16, 2008, and his obituary is found here:
UNCLE ART’S STORIES:
Art used to look after Hazel Murray and Ruby Murray (Mom Campbell's sisters) and he tells the story of paying a ‘painter’ (someone he knew that was a painter) to go shopping for Hazel each week. He says he paid the guy $25 to do her grocery shopping. Every week the guy would call up and say he wasn’t going to do it any longer and Art would talk him into continuing. Hazel would make out her list and would be mad if everything on the grocery receipt wasn’t in the same order as the list she made out.
He also says that Hazel would buy two packs of cigarettes each week but he doesn’t know what she did with them because he never saw a butt when he was there and he never smelled smoke. He doesn’t know whether she ate them or what.
When Ruby died, Art says, it was seven days before he knew it. He says he doesn’t know why he wouldn’t have been there in seven days because he went quite regularly; but he says Hazel would go into Ruby’s room and talk to her but she wouldn’t answer so it was 7 days before Hazel knew that Ruby was dead. Art can’t remember who came over and found her dead but he said by that time rigor mortis had set in and they almost had to break her arm to get her out the door.
VIVIAN RHONDA (nee Magee) KONCHAK / COOPER
Born in Cardinal, Ontario July 18, 1918
Mother - Gladys Elizabeth Murray
Father – Dave Magee
Married - William Daniel Konchak September 21, 1940
Children - Laurel (Laurie), William Jeffrey (Jeff)
Married to Robert Cooper July 17, 1991
Died in Winnipeg, October 7, 2015
Vivian (Viv) was born in Cardinal, Ontario, the youngest of three daughters. She lived in Cardinal, until she was three years old when her mother Gladys took the girls and moved back to Winnipeg. They lived with their Grandparents (John and Julia Murray) until Vivian was 15 years old. They first lived on Princess Avenue above their grandfather's J. Murray and Co. harness shop. Vivian remembers the Elgin Gang of friends that all chummed together when they lived on Princess and the fun that they all had together. They then moved to 227 Eugenie Street in Norwood, a suburb of Winnipeg, and finally to an apartment, just the three girls and their Mother, when Vivian was in high school.
When she was growing up Viv and her sisters had wonderful friends and spent a lot of fun times down at Winnipeg Beach each summer. They lived to dance and would be over at the Dance Hall every night on the weekends. They would even take the Moonlight Special train down to Winnipeg Beach just to dance. Viv met Denny when she was in high school at Daniel McIntyre. He was three years older and had already left school but was still around with the gang, especially at the dances at the Blind Institute (Canadian National Institute for the Blind). She would always wait to see him come in around 11:00 p.m. and try to save him a dance, and then the evening would be complete. They began dating when she was 17 years old.
In 1939, after graduating from High School, Vivian got a job at Woolworths. She worked in various departments and met some wonderful women there who became life-long friends. They formed the “Woolworth’s Club” of ladies and got together every month. Up until 2002 they still got together almost every month which had been for over 60 years (though some of them have now passed away). In 2006 only Vivian, Glady and Muriel are still alive and they still visit on the phone and Vivian and Glady see each other at least once a month.
Viv and Denny were married in 1940 and their daughter Laurie was born in 1943. Soon after Laurie was born Denny was conscripted and had to go into the Air Force. It was a difficult time with a new baby and Denny having to go away. They managed to see one another a few weekends during the first six months when he was in basic training and then Denny was transferred to St. Thomas, Ontario so Vivian packed up baby Laurie and they went to St. Thomas to be near him.
When Laurie was just about a year old they returned to Winnipeg and lived with her sister Isabelle for a short time before they found a suite in the home of Jack & Evelyn Carmichael (Jack being a boyhood friend of Denny’s and living right across the street from the Konchak family home). They lived there until Laurie was three years old when they moved to Young Street. Soon son Jeff was added to the family, in 1947, and they lived on Young Street until 1949 when they returned to Alverstone Street to the family home at 823 Alverstone.
Vivian worked at several part-time jobs to be able to buy the special things for the family. She enjoyed very much the job she had at the Collegiate Grocery where she worked with Fred and Mary Kowal who became life-long friends. The Grocery store was next to Daniel MacIntyre High School and she enjoyed the kids coming and going and the busyness of the store. She also went back to Woolworth’s for a while and also worked at Jeanne’s Bakery. She financed many of the special things the family enjoyed such as the trip to California in 1950, the boat for the cottage, and many of the luxury items.
When she and Denny bought the cottage at West Hawk Lake she spent her summers there with the kids, with Denny coming down on days off. The family spent many happy times at the Lake and when Denny retired they also spent a couple of years enjoying their summers down there also. The first winter Denny was retired they lived in Vancouver and the second winter in Florida where Denny got a job with a couple from Winnipeg who wintered there.
When Denny died suddenly and left her a widow at 52 years old she had to get herself busy and find another job. She became a Teacher’s Aide at Laura Secord School. She was loved by all the teachers and the kids. She still maintains her friendships with the teachers even though she has been retired from there since 1985, and has continued her friendship with two boys from Laos that came as little boys to Canada and latched on to her on the playground when they felt so afraid of their new school and different environment. They would follow her around at recess and hold on to her hand, as they were just new to Canada and knew they had found a friend in her. She still keeps in touch with them today and has enjoyed watching them grow into successful young men who have now graduated from University and have good jobs. Although Andrew has now moved to Victoria, Stephen still comes to visit her.
When Laurie and Jeff both left home and she felt empty-nested she took in two borders, one from England, Colin James, and the other from a small town in Saskatchewan, Reg Parten. Colin, in particular, became part of the family and when Denny passed away he went back and lived with Vivian for the first year to help her get on her feet again. Colin has continued to be part of the Konchak family.
After she retired she went down to the Lake in the summers to help look after her granddaughters Jamie and Krista, took some wonderful trips with her daughter Laurie to Hawaii, Alaska and New England and kept very busy with all her many friends. In 1990 while attending a Police Pensioners’ Dinner Dance she met Bob Cooper, a retired policeman and someone who had worked with Denny on the Winnipeg Police force. They spent a wonderful evening discovering they had so much in common. It wasn’t long until they were spending a lot of time together and in July of 1991 surprised everyone and decided to get married.
They enjoyed many years of trips to Tim Horton’s where they met up with friends, their Saturday night dinners with George and Mary Crayston, brunch on Sundays with Lois and Bernard for several years and their nightly cribbage games. They enjoyed playing Yahtzee whenever possible and became pretty good at Crossword Puzzles. They had a very busy, wonderful 14 years together taking care of one another.
Vivian and Bob were married for 14 years until he passed away in the summer of 2006. It was another adjustment for Vivian when Bob passed on, but given how ill he was towards the end it was a blessing when he passed away. She continued to live in their lovely suite in St. Vital and was able to enjoy her independent living with the help and support of Bob’s son Bob, daughter-in-law Lynn and her many friends and family.
Auntie Viv with her grand niece
Melanie Dawn Cruickshank
WILLIAM DANIEL (Denny) KONCHAK
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba July 1, 1916
Father - William Konchak
Mother – Hilda Will
Married - Vivian Rhonda Magee, September 21, 1940
Children - Laurel (Laurie), William Jeffrey (Jeff)
Died in Winnipeg, July 1, 1970
Denny was the fifth of the Konchak children and according to his brother George was “the best dispositioned of the Konchaks. Everyone liked Denny. He had a personality you just couldn’t resist.” He was kind, sensitive and got along well with everyone. In his younger days he trailed along behind his older brothers and played all kinds of sports. In his young adult life he was a great sportsman playing all the school sports plus organized hockey, lacrosse and professional football for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
At school he took shorthand and typing which always put him in good stead. He had the usual odd jobs growing up but when he graduated from high school he worked for a while at Crescent Creamery. During the depression, at one time, he was the only one in the family working. Jobs were hard to come by but he finally had the opportunity to get on the Winnipeg City Police Force. He worked as a policeman for the next 35 years with the exception of a couple of years during World War II when he was in the Service.
He met his wife Vivian when she was still attending Daniel McIntyre High School and he was just a year out of school and working, but still hanging around with the crowd. They began dating in 1935 and were married in 1940. Their daughter Laurie was born in 1943 and it was then that Denny had to join the Air Force, during the war, and was sent to St. Thomas, Ontario. Vivian and Laurie joined him after about six months and they all lived in St. Thomas for about nine months.
Arriving back in Winnipeg, they lived for the first few weeks with Vivian’s sister Isabelle and her family at 1156 Downing Street before renting the upstairs of the Carmichael’s home, just across the street from the Konchak family home on Alverstone. Since Denny had grown up with Jack Carmichael it was an easy move for them and they lived with the Carmichaels for the next couple of years. From there they bought their own home at 253 Young Street and that is where his son Jeff was born in 1947. When Laurie was 6 and Jeff was 2 they moved back into the family home at 823 Alverstone Street and remained there until the death of Denny’s mother and his retirement from the Police Force.
When Laurie 7 and Jeff was 3, the family took a trip to California to see Chris, Denny’s oldest sister. They went by bus all the way from Winnipeg to Los Angeles, and it was a long ride for kids but a wonderful trip for the family. They fell in love with California and for a few years discussed whether or not to move there. Vivian and Denny went back again, two years later, driving down with their friends Alberta and Russell to visit Chris again and this time they saw the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Football Game.
Denny always maintained his love of sports and spent many years following the sports that his son Jeff played. Many a cold night the whole family stood frozen around the skating rink watching Jeff play hockey, or melting from the heat in the gymnasium while watching him play basketball. One of the most memorable family trips was the trip to the Grey Cup in 1959. Everyone wore their Blue Bomber Ribbons and downtown the night before the game Denny kept running into people he knew. It seemed like everywhere the family went everyone always knew Denny. One time while riding on the bus downtown Vivian and Laurie were just sitting on the bus and two men were talking about Denny. They were so surprised when they heard his name and the one man said to the other, “you know who I ran into the other day, Denny Konchak, what a great guy he is”. Of course Vivian and Laurie were not only surprised to be overhearing the conversation but very proud too.
Denny was always there to lend a helping hand. He coached lacrosse teams, helped out at the Red Cross with a swimming program for people who were disabled, he was an active member of his church, secretary of his Police Association, member of the Acacia Masonic Lodge and took care of his mother until her death in 1964.
After retiring Denny and Vivian spent their first winter in Vancouver, B. C. where their daughter Laurie had moved in 1966. The second winter Denny took a job as chauffeur to a wealthy couple from Winnipeg who spent their winters in Florida and so Vivian and Denny drove the car down to Florida for the winter and spent a sunny, warm winter in Fort Lauderdale. They spent their summers at West Hawk Lake where they had purchased a summer cottage in 1959. The whole family loved West Hawk Lake and Vivian and the children went as soon as school was out with Denny coming down whenever he had days off. Denny loved to putter around, doing carpentry and all kinds of building projects. He loved to fish both at West Hawk with his old friend Jim Birkett and also there were several fishing trips with the guys.
As with all the Konchak’s, Denny inherited the high blood pressure from his father and died in his sleep, just overnight on his 56th birthday in 1970. It was a tremendous shock to everyone since he hadn’t even been ill. The church was overflowing with people at his funeral and it was a fitting tribute that over 500 people would come out in the middle of the day to say goodbye to someone who had been so well liked.
Here am I, with my Uncle Denny. I remember being quite young at the airport when he lifted me up, onto his shoulders, so I could see the plane.
Somehow, for me, that says it all.
ROBERT (Bob) COOPER
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba August 10, 1917
Father - Herbert Harry Cooper
Mother – Natasha (Nellie)
Married - Madeline, January, 1946
Children - Robert (married)
Married - Vivian Konchak, July 17, 1991
Died in Winnipeg
Bob’s Mother’s first husband was killed in a Railway accident and an uncle sent money for her to come to Canada. She worked for the Uncle for a while, then at the St. Boniface Hospital, Rumford’s Laundry, and then made her way to Saskatchewan where she worked in a hotel and met her second husband Harry Cooper.
Harry Cooper came to Canada and worked until he could send for his first wife and child. When she came she contracted influenza and died and he sent the child back to England but never kept in touch so Bob has, or had, a half-brother in England that he was never able to track down.
When Bob was born his dad was overseas during the First World War and he and his mother were living on Toronto Street in Winnipeg with friends. When his dad returned home in 1919 Bob was 2 years old. The three of them moved to Fort Rouge area of Winnipeg, and life began.
His earliest memory is in the St. James area of Winnipeg. He vaguely remembers his mother ironing and sending him out the front of the house to the water pump for a cold drink of water for her. In Fort. Rouge they lived in an old rental house for a few years and then moved across the street to a more modern home until 1939 when Bob went to war in World War II.
As a youngster Bob went to three different schools. He first went to the old wooden schoolhouse named Riverview School out on the Prairie. At that time there was nothing but hospitals and the Prairie. He hated school and in Grade 2 he decided not to go anymore. He would get up in the morning, have breakfast and go out the door but instead of going to school he would go out and play
until noon when he would come home as if he were coming from school and then back after lunch. One day his mom went to school to pick him up to take him to a movie and he wasn’t there and the teachers thought he was home sick and so ended his playing hooky from school.
Then to Lord Roberts for Junior High and he still didn’t like school because he didn’t like being contained in a classroom. He started to play the banjo and formed a band. Then he went on to High School at Kelvin. Here he liked the shops and became interested in machine work. When he finished school his dad said he couldn’t go to University because there was no money. There were also no jobs available so he asked the School Principal if he could work in the machine shop as a helper which he did teaching the kids how to work with the machinery.
One time in school he wanted some pocket money so he decided to make novelty rings with some inlaid work out of toothbrush handles. One of the girls took them to school and sold all of them at ‘2bits a piece’. He gave her some money for selling them and he and she had a good little business going.
When he was 13 he got into the Cadet Corps of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders and began to learn to play the drums. Meantime he joined the non-permanent active militia and once a week went to play drums with the Pipe Band.
In 1935 the CPR called him to work in The Shops as an apprentice machinist. Since there wasn’t much work they went on short time, which was 10 days work per month for which he received $20. The Union took $2 and he paid $5 a month board at home. They eventually extended their time and he received 35 cents per hour repairing locomotives.
In 1939 when war broke out he enlisted and eventually went overseas with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders in 1940. He met his girlfriend Madelaine on a blind date one Saturday night and they dated for about three years before getting engaged just before he went overseas in 1940. He first went to Camp Shilo for Army basic training. From there he went to Quebec City and was on his way home to get married when all was stopped and he was shipped to Halifax and on a boat overseas. When they left Halifax the convoy got word that a sub pack was coming after them so they broke up and the troop ships took off and were chased north to Norway by the submarine. It took two weeks to get across the ocean but they were able to outrun the sub.
They landed in Scotland on Christmas Day 1940 and were put on a train for Aldershot England. Christmas Dinner consisted of bully beef and hardtack, which they shared between four of them in their compartment on an English train. When they arrived it was a rainy afternoon and an air raid was in progress. They were marched off to their camp.
Bob trained with a reconnaissance division, was eventually promoted to Sergeant and then sent to Officer’s Training at Sandhurst Military College. He graduated as 2nd Lieutenant and by that time his regiment was in action on the continent. He was posted to a French-Speaking Regiment but the language was a problem so after a month he was transferred back to his original 8th Reconnaissance Unit. It was very dangerous work as they operated in small groups collecting information and had high casualties.
When the war ended and the ceasefire was declared they pulled back out of Germany into Belgium and then into Holland and finally turned everything over to the Dutch. In Belgium, just before he was to be sent home, he was splashed with shrapnel while he was outside his car on a recon mission when a bomb burst nearby. He got patched up by the First Aid and they told him he was OK to carry on.
Back in Holland he was promoted to Acting Captain and then in December of 1945 he was sent back to Canada and discharged after 30 days leave. He and Madelaine were married in January of 1946 and lived on Maryland Street in an Apartment. He went back to work at the CPR in the Roundhouse getting locomotives ready to pick up trains. He was eventually promoted to Assistant Air brake Instructor and was sent out with a private car in which he lived and also had a classroom for instructing engineers, fireman and brakeman on the proper operation, rules and training for the operation of locomotives. His private car was hooked on to the train and moved from site to site. He did that job for about a year and occasionally Madelaine was able to join him for a week at a time.
With a new son arriving in July of 1948 he joined the Winnipeg Police Force in October of of that year. He bought a new home on Hindley Avenue in 1948 when Bob, Jr. was 2 months old. During his years on the Police Force he played with the Police Pipe Band and traveled extensively to such events as the Rose Bowl, Grey Cup, Calgary Stampede, and various events, across Canada and the U. S. He worked on the Police Force until 1973. His son Bob joined the Police Force in 1972. After he, himself, retired he nursed his wife Madeline during a lengthy illness until she passed away in March of 1989.
In October of 1990 he went to a Retired Police Officers’ Dinner where he met Vivian. It took him three weeks to get a date with her because she seemed to have such a full calendar, but he finally was able to invite her to lunch. They talked so much they got a parking ticket, and from then on started spending time together. They dated until the next summer when they decided to get married. They were married July 20, 1991 and Vivian moved into the home on Hindley Avenue in the St Vital area of Winnipeg. They spent five happy years there but eventually the property became too difficult to keep up so they finally decided to move to an apartment in 1996. They enjoyed their life together and had a busy but relaxing life going to Tim Hortons, dinner with friends on Saturday night, Brunch on Sunday with other friends and spent 14 years together before Bob passed away in July of 2006.
MOM CAMPBELL'S GRANDCHILDREN
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