Pioneer family receives recognition at old-timers’ reunion

Reunions such as the one held in Rimbey for the last 57 years are wonderful moments in time that give people a reason to get together.

Many of the descendants of Sanford and Carrie Allison

Many of the descendants of Sanford and Carrie Allison

Reunions such as the one held in Rimbey for the last 57 years are wonderful moments in time that give people a reason to get together.

The three-day event, held June 22, 23 and 24, attracted more than 250 past and present Rimbey  residents who were all joined by a common denominator.

They had, at one time, called Rimbey home. Some of them still do.

The crowd in attendance at the Rimbey Community Centre seemed happy to be there, and there was lots of hugging and handshaking and reminiscing going on.

Alice Whitesell (nee McCulloch) from Red Deer has attended the Oldtimers’ Reunion for several years.

A 1951 grad, Whitesell recalled living in the attic of a boarding home while she attended Grade 12 in Rimbey.

“There were no busses in those days and we lived five and a half miles from town,” she said.

Whitesell worked from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. as a telephone operator to pay for her board and room while she attended Grade 12. She said there was a cot at the telephone office, so she could get some rest between calls.

She recalls life being hard, but noted she was no different from many of her fellow students, who ended up staying in town and working for their keep.

She recalled her family being hailed out and enduring other hardships, but simply keeping on and making the best of the situation because that’s what people did.

“What you can’t cure you endure,” was a saying her mother used to quote, and Whitesell said she has repeated it often in her own lifetime.

Dick Gillespie, from Lacombe, whose family lived on the Medicine Lake Road, went to work at Lacombe Research Station as a summer student three days after he graduated in 1950. He remained at the research station for thirty-seven and a half years.

Gillespie enjoys coming back to the reunions and spent much of his time chatting and catching up with old acquaintances.

“I’ve had a good day today,” he said. “I admire the committee and all the work they do,” he added.

Carol Plumb, (formerly Carol Jehn) who graduated in 1962, met her husband Gordon that year. He was also in Grade 12.

The couple married and continue to live in the area. Plumb said she and her husband love to attend the reunions. She was pleased the class of 1962 was recognized this year.

“It was one of those classes where everyone got along. It’s still the same way,” she noted.

Gladys Johnson, president of the Rimbey and District Oldtimers’ Association said she was pleased with this year’s event.

“I was quite thrilled,” she said. “It was very nice.”

Johnson said the reunions are important.

“It gives people an opportunity to tell their stories. If you can’t do that a lot is lost.”

Johnson’s grandparents, Sanford and Carrie Allison, who came to the Rimbey area in 1900, were recognized as the pioneer family for 2012.

The couple raised 13 children and had 74 grandchildren.

Johnson recalled her grandmother as being a loving and kind lady. She said the pioneer lady endured many hardships, but she doesn’t recall ever hearing her complain.

“I have lots of wonderful memories of her,” she said. “She was a special lady.”

During the event, lunch was served by the Springdale Ladies and the Rimbey Historical Society served a pancake breakfast at Pas Ka Poo Park, July 24.