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WALKER FAMILY HISTORY

DR. ROBERT HARRIS WALKER INTERVIEW
HIGHLIGHTS OF AN INTERVIEW ON 27 MARCH, 1990
INTERVIEW BY WM. R. WALKER, AT THE WALKER HOME, MIDWAY, UTAH

 

By the time I was born, Mary and Jane had both been born in the house in Raymond.

I was born in the house on the main floor, as were the other children from me on down to Richard.

Dad was the Bishop at the time of my birth and he was the Bishop all the time that I was growing up in Raymond.

We used to have a big barn just to the east of the house, with a hay barn as well. We always kept cows there and we had about 2 or 3 acres of garden, and about an acre and a half of fruit trees. Dad spent a lot of time and effort trying to get varieties that would grow in Alberta. He was very proud of his fruit trees and the strawberries, grapes, raspberries, apples, plums and a hybrid cherry. He showed them to anybody who came to town. To show them that we could grow anything that they could as far south as Utah.

A lot of our duties centered around those activities. We had room for about 6 or 7 cows in the barn and at least one team of horses that could be put in the barn.

When we had been working on the farm, we would usually bring a load of hay back with us at night to put in the hay barn to feed the cows in the winter. The cows provided lots of milk for our family, and for several other families. We had enough cream to make our own butter. We sometimes sold milk, as I recall. We at first didn't have good refrigeration. We had an ice box, and our own ice barn, which was protected by cinders. So when we needed a block of ice we had to go dig in the cinders and pull a block of ice out.

A good part of our yard was in garden and we raised enough that mother would put up at least 300 or 400 quarts of bean and peas and corn. Then we had an equal amount of storage of fresh fruit that she would can. Some of it we raised and some of it would be bought from shipments that came over from B.C. This provided the basis for our living and why they were able to have a large family on a small income and not notice the ups and downs of the economic world.

The home we lived in was the same home that stands on the corner of Park Ave and First Street east, in Raymond. We had all of the land in that block up to the Witbecks. That gave us a large piece of property, especially for in town, and enabled us to do these activities.

At the time of my early years, the front part of the porch was a verandah, and the back part was a structure that was filled in with screen. We grew Virginia creepers on the front part, and hops on the back, and that provided shade and protection. We always had a bunk bed in the back part, and some couches in the front, which always seemed warmer .

The water system came from the city, we had our own sewer system. It was usually quite alright, but I think you would have to live through that era to understand that. We had indoor plumbing, with an indoor bath, which was a great thing in those days when so few people had indoor plumbing. We always had a telephone, and that seemed like a luxury.

One of my first recollections was: Dad was always very interested in sports, and a Mr. Waddis, from the Utah Idaho Sugar Company, gave Dad a radio for the work (and housing) that Dad did for them. The radio was a huge cabinet sized console, with a big 'his master's voice' type of speaker. It had what seemed to me to be a hundred tubes in the radio, although it was probably about 35 tubes. It was good - we could hear all over the country. So when the prize fights were on, everyone in the neighborhood would stop by to listen to the world championship boxing matches, in the living room and dining room. These were great exciting times. I recall that was one of the center of things and Dad always liked to speculate who was going to win.

Our living room was a room with a piano. We often had visitors who would come and stay with us. Grandma Maryann Harris spent at least 3 months a year with us from my earliest memory. She was a welcome person in our house. She was a very fine looking woman. She had beautiful skin and brown eyes; and she had a very happy smile - always.

She always got up early in the morning and made sure the chores were done. Sometimes she would surprise me and have the cows milked before I got up - and of course, that endeared her to me forever. I always felt a little bit guilty because I said I liked my grandma better than my mother. She often stayed with us if mother was away. She would usually have lunch on the table for us when got home from school. You had to be raised in our family to realize the difference.

Mother was a hard-working woman, who prepared most of the food. We probably lived more cheaply than anybody else in town, but we ate the best food. We had our own beef and pork and we could have a change and have chicken.

We had a root cellar. We kept cabbages and potatoes in the cellar. It was alright, unless someone forgot and left the door open in the winter. Part of the duty of everyone that lived in the house was to see that we had an adequate supply of food.

On the top floor we had a storage room, and each fall Dad would make sure we had enough wheat germ, oatmeal for enough porridge for the year. That was at least 100 pounds of each of the elements and that formed the basis for our breakfasts. We had rolled oats for sure. Dad always said : 'Eat them whether you like them or not.' We could have bacon and eggs, or steak, or anything else you wanted for breakfast, but you had to eat rolled oats first. We often had Corn Flakes and Shredded Wheat stored in the closet. He always bought at least a 1000 pounds of flour, and at least 500 to 1000 pounds of sugar. So we always had enough to eat in case there was a shortage of money or a shortage of food in the area. I kind of reminds me of Joseph.

Those were things that we grew up with and were essential in our lives.

In my very early years, I remember that times were really bad, and people often left home and traveled the country looking for work. People from as far away as Manitoba and Vancouver would come, they would ride the rails.

I remember things were very different before the depression started. We would always have a supply of fresh fruit, to share with everyone, then I remember that disappeared. There was a difference also in the purchase of clothing. I remember Dad always dressed very well. I remember when he paid what seemed like a huge sum for a winter overcoat - $70. That was a fine coat. It was lined with fur on the inside. He always wore a special kind of boot. I think Heber Allen and Wilford Heninger were the only men in town that wore that kind of shoe. They were very expensive. He wore them all of his life. They were kind of a lace boot that went up over his ankle. He once crushed his foot in a hay baler, and that's what brought him in from the farm to the sugar office. Otherwise he would have stayed as a farmer. He had studied at LDS Business College which qualified him to work in the office. He never left the office. So sometimes unusual circumstances alter our later careers.

During my early childhood, Ralph, Reed, Glen and Richard were all born. I do not recall Ralph's birth, but I remember the others. I recall Dad coming up and waking the children and saying:' I've got a big surprise for you - guess what?' So that was hard to distinguish between that and Christmas. That's the way the announcement was made of the arrival of children. He would say : 'You can go down and see your mother and the new baby in about an hour.' We were well-disciplined with regards to the demands made on mother from a child bearing point of view. At the birth of each child, she always had somebody live in for a long period of time. It always seemed to me that she had some help. This probably wasn't totally true, but it seemed like it. Aunt Cecil came up and spent some time with us. She was a nurse and helped out. In addition, Mrs. Deardon was there for Richard and Glen. She was an old English midwife; it was said of her that whenever she couldn't deliver the baby the doctor wished he was out of town.

It was the wish of Dad that he should have music in the house and that all of his sons be great athletes. He concentrated on Harris. Fay was a little less interested in athletics, but Harris fulfilled Dad's wishes as far as athletics were concerned. But we didn't escape from the tutelage and demands of training. We had to train at least an hour a day in physical things. That way we would be tired enough that we didn't make any noise, so we had to work out all the time. So its only natural that when we got a little older, we had to go to track meets. We didn't get a choice of going to them, we had to go to the track meets. We had to compete. This was part of our growing up. We went to track meets all over, I recall going to Cardston, Blairmore, Calgary, Red Deer, Wetaskawin.

Harris had been very successful at winning many meets and he brought home enough medals that none of us felt like we really had to compete any more to fulfill our father's great wish that we should be athletes. We always trained in the morning, and if we didn't, we would get to train in the late afternoon. Dad trained Harris and Fay and all of Harris's

friends, like Bruce Galbraith and Jimmy Weaver. A lot of those guys became great athletes in track and field and basketball. Fay got in on that too. We always had a basketball court and a designated tennis court. We thought that we should play basketball and I recall Dad telling us there was no excuse for anyone to shoot a foul shot and miss it. He said you can practice a foul shot and there is no reason why everyone shouldn't shoot perfectly their foul shots.

We always had a stop watch, and everyone had to train and try to beat their record.

I addition to this we were competitive in school. We were not expected to be second in class, we were expected to be first in class. Our rewards for our monthly school report came based on the number of firsts we got. If we were first in the class, that was exchanged for a certain sum of money. So that was a competitive area, and his simple method of rewards.

We always had family night on Monday night. This was long before anyone else did. This was a happy time. We always got together and always sang songs. If someone from the family was away from home we would write letters. We would write for two minutes, and then Dad would call time and we would have to pass the letter to the next person so everyone would get a chance to write (to a member of the family who wasn't at home, or to a visitor). We always sang. Both Father and Mother were musical. My Dad thought he was the best singer in the world. He'd sing anything from an opera number on, and was sure that nobody in New York opera society could come close to him. I think he was a pretty good singer; I don't know how he would compare to the opera stars, but he certainly didn't lack any confidence in his ability. Mother was a good singer, and we were expected to sing. Fay used to give us a bad time sometimes, and I remember a few times that he missed out on the treats because he had been unwilling to sing.

We were all supposed to learn how to play a musical instrument. I remember trying to learn how to play the piano. Then Harris, Fay, Ralph and I all took violin lessons. Ralph used to practice every week while we were at the class. We started out with Lief Erickson, from Stirling. Later we took lessons from Gordon Murray, who was a very fine violinist. He was from Toronto, and I think he played in the Toronto Symphony. He was a good violinist. Everybody had their own violin, and we were supposed to practice. I think the last time I played my violin, I was in grade 11 or 12. I played in church.

Music was part of our lives, as was sports, as you can see.

We had ward parties, it seemed like they were once a week. They often had talent night. We went to those parties and they were reasonably effective. I think Dad saw every change of movies that came to the theater, until I left home. He would always say: 'I'm going to the show, does anybody want to go with me?' So he always took whoever wanted to go to the movies with him in the evening. I also don't think he ever missed a baseball game or a basketball game that was played in Raymond, by a Raymond team. He not only attended, he often kept score. Everybody knew him and everyone paid attention to his comments about the players and about their potential. I always thought he would tell the coach what to do. Dad always played baseball and he was a good thrower. He could throw a nice curve and a nice drop ball. This put him in a league by himself. I always think he felt like he could have been playing in the World Series somewhere. He had that kind of confidence. He tried to teach us all how to pay ball. Harris was a good ball player.

Everybody had to get up in the morning and eat breakfast. Dad always got up early. The fire was a wood and coal burning fire. Dad would always start a fire in the hot water heater. Not everyone had hot water heaters.

We had tough rules in our family. Dad had to know where you were all the time. We had to check in with him all the time. On about Thursday or Friday, we would get our work assignments for the next week. We would find out if we were going to be tending the garden, irrigating, running a tractor, or driving horses, or doing summer fallow, or digging post holes. Those assignments were always made in advance. Then he would always have a few special assignments, if he couldn't think of something for you to do. I remember Dad once said if we weren't working, he would have us dig post holes and then fill them up again. And I used to say to Ralph, when we got some of those peculiar assignments,: 'Do you think this is post holes that we are filling up?'

We were allowed to have friends over and play with our friends, but we weren't as free as most children. It seems that some of the time we spent with our friends was often when they were helping us to do our chores. That helped me with a bit of my own philosophy which is - if you have plans of your own then other peoples plans can sort of fit around yours, and you aren't subject to everyone else's whims. I think that is probably the way we were as children.

With our academic push, everyone was expected to do well in school. I don't think there was any shortage of ability, but everyone was still expected to do well. We had lots of books at home. We had the encyclopedia and the Book of Knowledge, and mother was a fall guy for any book salesman that came to the door. She was sure to buy their books. We had one set of books that included De. I remember mother criticizing me for reading one of the books she bought. On cold bad weather days, I remember sitting at home reading the dictionary and the encyclopedia. I think that was a great help later on in school. It seems like when the teacher would cover things in school, it was never new. I can still remember diagrams and charts from the books I read as a child.

I always thought it was great if it was raining hard at night because then I wouldn't have to go to the farm the next day, and I could stay home and read.

I remember when Dad was Bishop that the Sacrament Meetings were very reverent. Of course, little children didn't usually attend back then, unless they were very quiet. I remember the meetings were very well conducted and very thoughtful.

Dad's way of administering was probably best characterized by Wilford Heninger, who had served with Dad in the Bishopric for 17 years. He said: 'We never had a disagreement, as long as we agreed with Jim.' He and Les Palmer were his counselors. I don't think a day went by without them stopping by Dad's office sometime during the day to talk to him. So they had a continuous Bishopric Meeting, rather than one once a week. They had things pretty well thought out and decided upon.

Tithing was not paid in the tithing office at the church but was paid at Dad's office at work, where he managed the sugar office, just across the street from the church. It had a huge vault .

I remember one brother came in to Dad and told him he had a load of hay he wanted to use to pay his tithing. Dad told him to go sell the hay and then pay his tithing. I guess that was the end of tithing in kind. Dad said the Bishops got more to do than go out and sell hay after somebody dumps it in your yard.

I remember Fast Offerings were collected at the church.

I don't ever remember going to church without a choir. The choir always sang the Sacrament song. The ward was huge. I think we had 800 to 900 people in the ward.

At the Knight Sugar Company, they were first shipping raw sugar from Germany to Raymond to refine the sugar. I think the company became largely a land holding company with a ranching and cattle operation. One time they had 200,000 sheep and 20,000 head of cattle and 2,500 horses. The sheep were usually divided into herds of 1200 to 1500 and each herd had a sheep herder. The old Milk River Ridge area was always covered by little sheep herder camps. They would have a guy take supplies to them every week. They had chuck wagons out on the Kirkaldy Ranch. That gradually disappeared. They had bunk houses with lots of cowboys. They needed lots of cowboys. The Kirkaldy Ranch was 25 miles away. They just had prairie trails, not good roads.

Dad did the books for the Knight Sugar Company and the Meeks Brothers. They had lots of cowboys, and Dad's job was to write their checks and pay them. It was also his job to hire people to fill vacancies. So he was a great source of employment for people. Almost every day, he would go out to the properties to see that things were in good order.

During harvest, Dad was always there to make sure that they were harvesting on time and they were doing the proper things like thrashing at the right time. A lot of people didn't seem to know when was the right time, but Dad did. He always knew how to measure hay so they didn't have to weigh it. He could measure it with a tape measure and he would know how much hay they had everywhere.

He could measure bushels of barley, wheat and oats and he would always know how much belonged to the company and how much belonged to himself. Dad had his own farms and ranches, as well. Those were some of his talents. I always thought he was pretty smart because he could tell how many tons of hay were in a hay stack, or how many bushels of grain were in a granary.

I remember we had a plow that was pulled by 12 horses. I thought that was fantastic.

Money was very scarce, so it was those who managed their farms well that made a profit. We always had sheep and cattle. The sheep kept us from being poor, although I think Fay doesn't remember the sheep as being very useful. We got two crops a year off the sheep: a wool crop and a lamb crop. If you made a couple of thousand dollars off the wool and a couple of thousand off the lambs, that put your family in a different economic category than if you didn't have the sheep. Dad liked sheep.

Sheep were great in Southern Alberta. The land was very dry in the 30s. I remember you could buy lambs for $3 per head. Cows were $12 to $15. So sheep were cheap and steers were inexpensive. I remember we always ate steak and I used to wonder why we didn't get to eat bologna and hot dogs, like my friends. We ate some lamb.

Land was cheap. When I was seven years old we bought section 10. It was just before the Depression. I remember Dad paid $50 per acre. He would not turn it back, he kept and paid it back. During the Depression, you could have bought it for $15 to $20 per acre. When you realize how cheap that land was, you realize how poor the country was .

During the decade of the 30s there was an attitude of caring and sharing. Later on as people emerged from the depression, a whole different society emerged, different than the helpful, sharing cooperative society of that decade.

The war made a change in agriculture and in peoples lives. Dad being Bishop during that time, he was really the welfare supply house for everybody. He knew who had excess food, or hay or wheat. He knew who had land for sale and he knew who looked like they could make a living at it and he would direct them to the right people. It was a built in welfare system, and he ran it all from his office.

By the end of the 30s, the church pretty much owned the sugar factory. So all the farm land got acquired fairly inexpensively. They were pretty liberal in their sale of land, they sold the land inexpensively. So people who wanted to farm, got a chance to do so.

LeGrande Richards was the Presiding Bishop, and he and Dad were friends.

I was told a story about Dad, that he was once asked to teach a Sunday School class to a bunch of rowdy boys. When Dad went in to teach them they were still making a stir, so he picked the biggest kid who was creating the stir, and Dad opened the window and chucked him out of the window. I'm told he didn't have any more trouble with the class.

I can tell you about Dad's political life. I was in Alberta when Dad was leader of the Opposition in the legislature. I went to see him a number of times at the McDonald Hotel in Edmonton. When I finished my mission, I spent a couple of months traversing the country with him on his speaking engagements. They were trying to organize to win the election. He should have won the election at about the time the war ended, but he didn't run that time. Had he persisted with the effort that he did initially, I think he would have succeeded in becoming Premier of Alberta. Dad had some really high profile guys in his caucus of Independents. There was Percy Page and Jack Bolin, Andy Davidson (from Calgary), along with Jim Mahaffey, a guy named Proudfoot (who was a rancher like Dad), and Day, and the Edgars (from Red Deer). They were all very supportive of him.

Percy Page was power in Edmonton. He was the coach of the Edmonton Grads. Bolin later became Lieutenant Governor of Alberta. Davidson was mayor of Calgary for many years. These were guys that were available to Dad and supportive of him.

Had Social Credit stayed to the left, Dad probably would have maintained his enthusiasm as an adversary to them. However, Manning came in and realized that it wasn't his role to be a left-wing socialist. He moved over to be a right-wing conservative by the time he left office. As the Social Credit moved to the right, Dad didn't have the same missionary zeal against them that he had towards the original Social Credit Party.

I traveled with Dad to a number of meetings all over Southern Alberta. The Independents were essentially the union of the Conservative and Liberal parties.

As the leader of the Independent Party, Dad had well-defined political ideas. They were all very conservative ideas. As you can tell from his background, he thought that if anyone was going to make the wagon go you had to get a hold of it and push it or pull it. He thought that anybody worth their salt could get a job and they could look after their own needs and the needs of other people. If you paid attention to the way agriculture was done, you could make a profit in agriculture and provide yourself with food. He felt anybody could be educated if they could read. He firmly believed that. There were lots of books and he felt people needed to read and talk about them so that they could put them to use.

The welfare state that exists now would never have happened if he had had his say. He thought that income tax was bad enough, let alone the taxation that we have now. He felt taxes were a one-way street to Ottawa. He was totally against government being involved in any kind of business. (He was opposed to the Treasury Branch banking.) He said we pay our taxes to run government to govern us, why should we pay money to a government to compete against us in any aspect of business. So head would be a right-wing conservative thinker, even though he bore a Liberal label sometimes.

Dad would speak off the cuff, but he would plan ahead of time the key things that he wanted to cover. He had things pretty well worked out before he would speak.

He would have been a good administrator of a government because he was a high profile leader. People followed him because he looked like a guy who knew where he was going and he always behaved like he knew where he was going. That gave people confidence to follow him, especially after a period when they had been down and out.

He was a good leader. He would go in with a crowd, and within a few minutes it would be obvious who was running the show. People liked him because he could joke about sensitive things, and people didn't get angry with him. I think that is where he was strongest; it was his ability to lead.

In church, if he went to a Relief Society dinner, he would be the guy to clean the chairs and put the tables away. If the chairs were still up after a conference he would say: 'Come on fellows, lets put the chairs away.' He was a guy who did all of those things.

He had the utmost confidence in the people that he called to serve with him. If they did anything, that was OK with him - that was the way it was supposed to be done. If the people who had a responsibility did something in the name of the organization, that was the way it was. So, often he could get people to do things that no one else could.

When they were building the Second Ward church, things were really bad. They had just acquired the land and at the very bottom of the economic cycle they were trying to raise money to build a building. He was never disheartened by it. He said: 'We'll pay for it as we go along.' They had chicken dinners every Friday, it seems like forever. People would donate the food and they would charge 50 cents a head to eat at the dinner. They raised enough money to keep a few men working almost constantly. Most of the work was donated or inexpensive.

The building got put together, which was a great tribute to Dad. It was also a great tribute to people like John Salmon and others who did a lot of the manual labor. John Salmon could do anything. He was a most talented guy.

They had carnivals. This created a great liberal atmosphere among people in Raymond forever. I don't know if it was all good, but it did create an atmosphere of cooperation in bad times. They raffled off quilts, had meals, had some games of chance. He got the adult Aaronic Priesthood (the less active adult men) to come and be involved. They were all involved. They were delighted to come and be a part of this. So he had people who never got involved with the church at any other time of their lives who were running the show and helping raise money to build the church.

They would also raffle a car, and sell tickets for a chance to win the car. To show his character, Jane won the raffle, and Dad put the ticket back and said draw it for someone else. Those were difficult days. I think he got the idea of the carnival from Europe, when he was over there. Most of the people in the ward thought it was a great idea, although there were a few critics.

His mission was probably the highlight of his life. He was about 23 when he left and he went on a three year mission to Holland.

He had great experiences on his mission. He went to a home one time, and they had always gone there for dinner. They had a great big cat and the Elders would always pet the cat. She served the dinner and the Elders later said;' We didn't see the cat today.' The lady said;' No, we just ate it.' I don't think he was very fond of cat after that.

When he was in Rotterdam, they had some great athletes in the mission. They had six or eight elder in Rotterdam and the elder had a track meet against the University of Rotterdam track team and the missionaries won. He didn't know if that did much for proselyting, but he said the little kids used to follow them around and call them names, but after the track meet, all the little kids would follow them around and call them 'The Fast Ones'. He said it changed the attitudes of people towards the missionaries.

His father died while he was on his mission. On the night that his father died, he woke up in the middle of the night and his father was there. He said: 'What are you doing here?' His father said: 'I'm leaving this life, but I wanted to tell you that your job is to stay on your mission.' Then he said he had to go and left.

Dad said he thought maybe it was just a bad dream, but he was awake and his companion was asleep, so he got up and wrote in his journal. He had a conference at Rotterdam a month or six weeks later and he got the mail which had come across on the boat. One of the other fellows said: 'You sure got a lot of letters.' He said: 'They're all bad news, I'll read them after the conference.' It was people writing to tell him of the death of his father.

His father was a healthy guy, but he died from twisting his colon during broad jumping that he was doing during a recess during jury duty. His death was not sudden. It took him about a week to die. They shipped him down from Coalville to Salt Lake. That's what he died of.

He was visiting some missionaries and all of them had their food in foot lockers that were locked. They didn't eat together. He told them that if they were going to try to teach the spirit of the gospel, and cooperation and integrity to other people you wont have to lock your food. He said if I come here again and see your food locked up, I'll recommend to the Mission President that he send you home.

Following the illness or death of the Mission President, he was called as Interim Mission President for a few months while they got a replacement. They probably had a 100 missionaries, I would think.

He sent many postcards, wherever he was. We had all the postcards and we read about the things he did on the postcards, which had been saved by the family.

President Benson called Dad to be the Stake President. He told me there was no doubt about Dad being the one to be called as Stake President. He said the toughest thing was releasing Grandma as Stake Young Women's President. He still remembers that. He said he wasn't too sure if she would sustain her husband as the Stake President if she was going to be released. She loved that calling.

In his talks, he told people what to do and how to do it. He would tell them it was a good year to raise wheat, etc. He pushed very hard. He expected everyone to do like he did to provide food for their families. Food was very important to him. He told people to get their supplies, that was easy for him to do, it was a natural thing for him to do.

Dad always thought Wilford Heninger was the funniest guy. He thought the donation of rock that was still out on the quarter section was one of the greatest donations that the church had ever received. He thought that was really funny.

When the Social Credit Party was getting started, William Aberhart came to Raymond. He came to Dad's office. He said: 'I've been directed to you, thinking that maybe you would be a fellow who could help me out to run the Social Credit Party in Alberta."

Dad said, he didn't know much about Social Credit, but what he had heard of it, it didn't fit in with his philosophy. Aberhart said: Is there someone who can help me? He was very polite to him. Dad said: There a couple of fellows that you might get to help you. One of them was Will Meeks, he is a well-respected guy. And you should try John Blackmore, he is a well-educated guy.' So Aberhart went to see them and Will Meeks wasn't interested at all, and that is where John Blackmore got his start in Social Credit. Dad referred Aberhart to John Blackmore, so I guess the joke is on him.

I was in Calgary, at the Paliser Hotel , with Dad, and we met a man who later became the head of the Masons in Alberta, and was also later a Justice of the Alberta Supreme Court. They were in a suite, and I was in the next room with the door open, so I could hear what they said. The man said to Dad: 'Jim, we will finance your campaign, and we will guarantee you will win, as the Premier of Alberta. We will raise a million dollars and put you in office, in exchange for which we expect you to support our ideas and we expect to name the Finance Minister for the province.'

Dad said: 'I think you got the wrong guy. If I am the Premier, I will name the Treasurer.'

They said: 'If we don't name him, we don't think we can support you.'

Dad replied: 'Well, if I'm going to run for public office, and be elected by the people, I will name the Treasurer.'

The man left and never offered any help to Dad again. He later became the Chief Justice.

That was the election that Dad was defeated. They didn't have any help. They didn't have any financial backing. The financial backing all went to the Social Credit party for the next 20 years. That was probably what caused Dad's downfall in his political career. Mother wasn't very keen about it anyway. She was quite happy when he lost. She probably voted against him.

President N. Eldon Tanner was a member of the Alberta legislature with Dad, but he was on the other side of the aisle. President Tanner was the Branch President in Edmonton at the time. Dad thought very highly of President Tanner. President Tanner had been a Bishop in Cardston at the same time Dad was a Bishop in Raymond. He was younger than Dad. Dad didn't mind Tanner, and he actually like Solon Low. Solon was his opposition, but he liked Solon a lot, actually thought the world of him.

I don't ever remember Dad getting into personalities with people in politics. He carried his battles at a different level - based on what they said and what they believed in. He wasn't into attacking individuals. That always marked him in my mind. I don't ever remember him saying 'so and so' was a jerk, or something like that. If a man changed his philosophy, Dad could easily be on the same side.

He liked President Tanner, alright. They were there at the same time. President Tanner was one who didn't like to antagonize others. I don't think he and Dad ever had any clashes. I talked to President Tanner about it, and he and Dad were friends. Solon was his friend also, even though he ran against Dad. It was a wonder that Dad ever won, since Southern Alberta was almost all Social Credit.

President Hugh B. Brown was president of the Lethbridge Stake when Dad was Bishop in Raymond. Dad knew Hugh B. Brown very well. He had Hugh B. Brown come and speak in the ward quite a few times. Dave Elton was a popular speaker too, and he had Dave come and speak many times. And here Dad was running against Dave Elton as the leader of the party, which was interesting. Dave Elton was a great speaker and a great story teller, but Dad won the nomination overwhelmingly, without any problem. Dave never carried any hostility, none at all.

President Tanner was a party guy. He stuck close to the party and the other Social Creditors, cause he knew where he was going. He needed to do that to maintain his cabinet post.

They told Dad that he was a nominee for the Canadian Senate at the meeting he attended in Edmonton, just prior to his heart attack. If he had survived, he would have been appointed Senator. Mr. Cameron, from Banff (who started the Banff School), got the appointment after Dad died. It would not have been necessary for them to move to Ottawa, just so long as he was there for the sittings.

 

Transcribed by William R. Walker, November 1, 1994

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