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James Lee Mercer and
Catherine Ela (Coombs) Mercer

Pinepound Reflections - A History of
Spring Coulee and District page 294
by Irene (Mercer) Anderson

Jim Mercer was a grain buyer for Alberta Pacific Grain Co., in Spring Coulee in 1920 and maybe a little earlier. He had been born in American Fork, Utah in 1892. His father came to Canada in 1897. Jim came with his mother and brothers and sisters in 1898. They first located in Cardston but soon settled in Magrath where he grew up. After completing High School he attended the B.Y. Academy for one year. He played semiprofessional ball at the age of 16. He was connected with baseball and bands all of his life. They had a good team in Spring Coulee which he played on. He played ball until he had to retire and then he spent his time coaching others. Jim played many musical instruments but was best known for his talent on the drums and the trumpet. He was a featured drummer in the Cardston Symphony Orchestra. He played drums for the Jones Melody Men, as well as many other orchestras. Wherever he went he was always leading bands. Many young people have been started and encouraged in music by him.

In January 1921, James Lee Mercer married Catherine Ela Coombs and brought her to Spring Coulee to live. Ela was born in 1898 at Salt Lake City, Utah. Her family came to Canada in 1904 and settled in Cardston. Ela also loved sports and music so was very supportive of Jim in his endeavors. She went to all the ball games and cheered him on. She went to all the dances and danced the night away while he played. They both loved drama and spent a lot of time doing one-act and three-act plays. Ela was noted for her teaching ability and spent a lot of her years teaching the youth and adults alike.

Jim & Ela were noted for their hospitality and sociability making young and old alike as well as new-comers to the district feel welcome in their home. They left Spring Coulee in 1930. They went to Rosemary, Alberta for three years and then to Barnwell where they stayed. They were very involved in the Mormon Church and enjoyed giving service wherever they could. Jim died 2 Feb 1972 in Lethbridge and Ela died 28 August 1966 in Taber.

Jim and Ela had 5 children, the last two being born after they left Spring Coulee.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup