84-year-old returns to Rimbey

Roots in Rimbey

Richard Harrison was born in St. Paul’s Hospital in Rimbey in 1935 to Gilbert and Alice Harrison. He was also baptized at the hospital.

The couple had three sons, Kennedy, Richard and Neville and lived in the Willesden Green district.

Gilbert and Alice Harrison were originally from England. Gilbert, a free spirit, spent several years riding on freight trains as he made his way around the United States. This hobo lifestyle ended in Canada, specifically in the Rimbey area.

When he had decided to settle down in Rimbey wrote to Alice and asked her to come to Rimbey and be his wife.

She accepted and their wedding took place at St. Cyprian’s Church in Lacombe on Sept. 14, 1932 with the Rev. T. H. Chapman officiating.

After they were married the couple returned to Rimbey.

In Aug. 1938 Alice, with her three boys in tow, returned to England. Her husband followed a few months later.

Last year Richard Harrison came into the possession of some personal documents about his parents, which had been kept by his older brother who had passed away. It was then he discovered information about his roots that he never knew.

He found the information to be fascinating and determined to learn more he asked his niece Joy Tilbury and her husband to accompany him to Canada, specifically to Rimbey.

Last Thursday, Harrison met with Allen Tarleton from The Masons in Rimbey and Review editor Treena Mielke to talk about his past and learn more about the place of his birth.

Later, Tarleton spent some time with Harrison and the Tilbury’s touring around the area. They also went to Pas Ka Poo Park where he met with park administrator Cheryl Jones and learned about the history of Rimbey. He was especially interested in archives from St. Paul’s Hospital where he was born.

Later, The Tilbury’s and Harrison enjoyed refreshments with volunteers at the truck museum.

While Harrison may not have found all the answers he was looking for when he visited Rimbey, one can be sure he found the visit to be interesting and, perhaps, help to tie up loose ends regarding his childhood.

“I’ve discovered I’m an Albertan,” he said, with a smile. “And I think that’s a good thing. “Canadians are so friendly and kind.”

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