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Walter Garrick

Our Treasured Heritage-
A History of Coalhurst and District
Pages 332 - 335
by Harry Garrick

Walter, youngest son of Frederick and Minna Garrick, was born in Dominion No. 1, county of Cape Breton, Province of Nova Scotia, on December 17, 1906.

He moved with his parents (Minna and Frederick) and three older brothers to Lethbridge in 1906 where his sister was born. Date is unknown when the family moved to Wigan but they settled in Coalhurst in 1910.

Walter grew up and received all of his schooling in Coalhurst. He worked at various farms before moving to Detroit, Michigan, in 1924 at eighteen years of age where he joined his two older brothers, Bill and Harry.

He obtained a job in 1924 at Detroit as an oiler for Continental Motors Corporation. On May 1, 1924 as the result of an accident on the job, he lost the ring finger on his right hand.

It is interesting to note that in 1925 Walters' wages were increased from $.70 per hour to $.75 per hour.

Walter returned to Coalhurst in 1926 where he helped his parents on the farm and also worked at the mine.

It was during that year he met his wife-to-be who had just moved to Coalhurst and was working at Mrs. Patton's boarding house. She was from Blairmore.

Walter met his wife on the first day she moved to Coalhurst. He was playing in a soccer game and she had gone to watch the game with two of Mrs. Patton's children. It is to be noted that it was a sports event which brought together two of the most wonderful people I have had the extreme pleasure of knowing.

In 1928 a son was born. Two other children, a boy and a girl died in infancy.

In the following years Walter and his family lived at Wallace (1929 and renamed Shaughnessy in late 1929 or early 1930) where Walter worked at the mine. Back to Coalhurst where they lived in a house situated on Frederick's farm. Walter not only helped his parents on the farm but also commuted to Picture Butte where he worked at the sugar factory.

The house was eventually moved to Picture Butte. In 1936 Walter was also employed with the Northern Coal Company in Picture Butte.

They moved back to Coalhurst and, in 1942, Walter purchased the original tract of land from his parents.

A number of setbacks occurred in the farming operation and Walter obtained a job at Hamilton mine where he worked on the head gear of No. 2 shaft and other mining functions with Charlie Watmough in 1942-1943. Walter also worked with Charlie on the mine tipple at Diamond City.

In the mid-forties Walter became a school van driver and caretaker of the Coalhurst schools. His wife assisted him in the maintenance of the schools.

Walter was actively involved in community affairs and was a very staunch supporter of the community. He held various positions in the Home and School Associatin, Coalhurst Water Users Association, trustee for Coalhurst's School District No. 2394, et al.

He was nominated delegate to the Olds Home and School Convention at a regular meeting of the Coalhurst Home and School Association. Some of the things outlined at this meeting, in the mid-forties, were community suppers, rummage sales, picture shows and membership drive. It was also hoped that some means of transportation could be arranged to take the school children to Barons for the sports day in May.

At this meeting, Mr. William J. White, Principal of the Coalhurst Schools, showed three educational films using the new movie projector, and members enjoyed the lunch Mrs. Ashcroft had prepared.

In 1948 Walter was one of the speakers at the second meeting of the Iron Springs Home and School Association. He was also the Vice-Chairman of the Calgary South Area of the Alberta Home and School Federation, at the time, and spoke of the growth of the Home and School organization in Alberta over the past twelve months, stating that there were 4,000 new members enrolled in that period. He stressed the need of co-operation between parents and teachers as each would learn much from the other which would aid in producing the type of citizens which both parents and teachers want.

Walter also assisted in the Friday night dances held in the I.O.O.F. hall and had the somewhat dubious honour of being the "Peace- maker" in the one or two regular sessions of fisticuffs which usually occurred.

He resigned as school van driver and caretaker in 1952 and a poem was written by Charlie Watmough. This tribute was recited by his daughter at a social evening of the Home and School Association held in honour of Walter and his wife.

Walter commenced employment at the Garden Hotel in Lethbridge and, on July 29, 1952 he and his wife moved to Lethbridge after selling the original homestead.

On December 26, 1954 (Boxing Day) Walter passed away, at forty-eight years of age, from injuries suffered in a traffic accident.

Walter was both loved and respected by his family and friends. He is fondly remembered as Big Luke; or Luke by Harry Gordon and as Bull by Duncan McNabb. To this day, Walter is still missed but remembered with affection by those who were close to him.

Truly - my dad was a native son of Coalhurst.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup