Michel Negrello, better known as Mike Michel to his fellow workers, was born in Udine, Italy on November 2, 1895, and came to Canada at the age of seventeen years, settling first at Exshaw, Alberta where he worked at the cement plant. He later moved to Coalhurst in 1917 where he began working in the coal mine and spent the next fifty years in the mines at Coalhurst, Shaughnessy and No. 8 mine in Lethbridge.
Mike always had the respect of his fellow workers and was a driver boss during most of those years. He also learned the cable splicing trade from Mr. Watmough, who was brought over from England especially for this purpose. They became good friends for many years through this association.
Mike also worked with mine rescue, and was very dedicated to this aspect of mining and helping a fellow worker in distress was foremost in his mind. This was evident during the explosion at the Coalhurst mine in December, 1935.
In 1919, Mike started courting Teresa Ermacora who came to Coalhurst from Italy with her parents, Mariana and Angelo. They settled in Coalhurst (Wigan) and later on a small farm now owned by Charlie Wesselman.
Teresa and Mike were married on October 8, 1920 and raised three children: a son, and two daughters, Nita and Ella, all born in Coalhurst and attending school there until 1936, when after the mine disaster, the population decreased gradually. Sixteen miners lost their lives in the explosion, one of whom was grandfather, Angelo Ermacora.
Nita married and had one son. Ella married and had one daughter, Sandra. Ella passed away in 1943 and Nita died in 1945 and Sandra in 1981.
The son joined the R.C.A.F. in 1942 and graduated as a Navigation Officer and was posted overseas with R.A.F. Squadron 224 and stationed at Elgin, Scotland. He was involved most of his life in sports, mainly baseball and hockey. He played for the Galt Miner's Baseball Team for several years. He also played hockey, beginning with the minor hockey association and later with the Lethbridge Maple Leafs, senior hockey team. In 1951, he was captain of the Maple Leaf team that won the World Championship in Paris, France. That hockey tour took the team through nearly all the countries of Europe, and one of the highlights of that trip was meeting my Dad's sister and her daughter in Milan, Italy, and my Mother's sister Yolanda Maniago.
Teresa and Mike Negrello celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1970, and since then Mike passed away in July, 1978. Teresa Negrello passed away on December 28, 1983.
Return Pioneer Histories