of the Swan River Valley
100 Years in the
Swan River Valley
1898 - 1998
Jack and Elaine Blair
By way of transfer by the Toronto-Dominion Bank, in September, 1963, we arrived to reside in the beautiful Swan River Valley. Jack was posted as accountant at the Swan River Branch for three years and then appointed manager of the Minitonas Branch in September, 1966.Jack and Elaine were married in May 4, 1957 at Preeceville, Saskatchewan, where both were on staff at the Toronto-Dominion Bank. Elaine’s hometown is Preeceville and Jack hails from Naco, Alberta, which is no longer in existence, and was a small community near Cereal, Alberta. Jack previously worked at several T-D branches in Alberta before being transferred to Preeceville. Almost a year after their marriage, Jack was transferred to St. Boniface Stock Yards Branch, then to Deloraine Branch, and lastly to the Valley, where we have made our permanent residence.
We were blessed with four lovely daughters; eldest daughter Wynne was born at the old Grace Hospital in Winnipeg in March, 1958, Johnna was born at the St. Boniface Hospital, November, 1959 and Delmarie arrived in May, 1962 at the St. Boniface Hospital. Sandee arrived in April, 1964, here in the Valley at the Swan River Hospital. Over the years, Jack was involved in many organizations; coached the Minitonas Hornets (late sixties and early seventies), later played hockey with the Minitonas Old-Timers; was a volunteer fire-man for thirteen years, was the first treasurer for the Arena in the initial planning stage, when it was built and for some time after. Jack served on the Curling Club executive, and curled in the Men’s and presently curls with the Seniors, he also belongs to the Legion and the Masons. Jack is an active member in the United Church, sings in the choir, is a board member and has been treasurer intermittently for many years. Jack retired from the Toronto-Dominion Bank in March, 1987 and since retiring, has more time for golf, which he enjoys immensly. It’s only a few minutes drive from our home to the beautiful Swan River Golf Course.
With four daughters and a husband to love and to care for, Elaine chose to stay home and enjoy the many household duties. She was also actively involved in community work; figure skating club, 4-H club leader for nine years, United Church Women, Sunday School teacher, served on the Board and Presbytery of the United Church. Elaine was employed as bookkeeper by Aveyron Services Inc. and Association for Community Living, Swan River Branch, for a period of ten and a half years, retiring in 1989. She remains active in Church work and finds time to enjoy her many hobbies of quilt ing, crocheting, knitting, reading and, in the summer-time, gardening.
The girls received their elementary and junior high school education in the two Minitonas Schools, and each one graduated from the Swan Valley Regional Secondary School. Wynne, Delmarie and Sandee majoring in Arts and Johnna in Business Education. Wynne attended University of Manitoba, receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1979- majoring in English. She was employed by the Toronto-Dominion Bank, Calgary Branch in 1980.
Johnna commenced work shortly after graduating from High School, she found employment with the Toronto-Dominion Bank, Winnipeg Branch, later was transferred to a Branch in Edmonton. Johnna married Dale Bertram, son of Glenn and Ruth Bertram, Minitonas.
Delmarie worked for Cargill Grain Company for a year after her High School graduation, then attended University of Winnipeg, and received a Bachelor of Education degree in 1985. Delmarie’s first teaching position was at Kelwood, Manitoba. She is now on staff at Taylor School in Swan River.
Sandee attended University of Manitoba and also received a Bachelor of Education degree in 1985. Sandie’s first position was a pilot project at Red River Community College, teaching the mentally handicapped. She is presently teaching fine arts at two elementary schools in Princeton, B.C.
As the family was growing, we enjoyed the many sporting activities, church family, the education system that was in place in the School Division and the wonderful medical care that is available in the Valley.
Our daughters are now married and have families of their own, but always look forward to coming home. Home is where the roots are, here in Minitonas, part of the Swan River Valley.
We are now a family of sixteen; Ron, Wynne and Kaitlyn, Calgary, Alberta; Dale, Johnna, Samantha and Jesse, Thompson, Manitoba; Bruce, Delmarie and Kyle, Swan River, Manitoba; Rod, Sandie and her daughters, Julia and Rachel, Princeton, B.C.
1997 was a wonderful year. We celebrated our 40th Anniversary in May, and again in August when all the family came home. Our oldest grand-daughter, Samantha commented that Minitonas was a great place to have a family reunion and we all agreed with her.
Submitted by: Jack Blair
Manitoba's Swan River Valley is an area rich in history. These family histories were a part of the 1998 Pioneer Centennial History Book project. If you would like the history of your area available online, have your historic group contact the Key Rock Group for information on electronic publication. We offer publication free of charge and also provide the option for making your history book available on CD.