EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Thursday, July 19, 2018

'A life living indeed!' Memories of Dr George Edward 'Ted' Young by Dr Roy Marquardt

As I reflected this past week or so on nine years of writing Chapleau Moments, it has taken me into the mothballs of my memory about the people, life and times of the community that I have shared with you as well as articles written by others who have captured some "moments".

On my journey, I discovered a wonderful article by Dr. Roy Marquardt about Dr. G.E. 'Ted' Young but before I share some details,  let me tell you about the birth of Chapleau Moments.

I received an email from Mario Lafreniere, the publisher of the Chapleau Express asking if I would like to write a column. I agreed but in all honesty I thought I may have enough material for about six months. Nine years later, on June 18 when the first column appeared I realize I have still just scratched the surface.

Although many people have provided assistance over the years, which I greatly appreciate, at the risk of forgetting someone, I will mention only three: the late Anne (Zufelt) McGoldrick and Doug Greig. Both made a most significant contribution to Chapleau history and were so helpful to me with research assistance. The other is Hugh Kutner, who established the Chapleau web site now looked after by the Chapleau Public Library. I would just add in the interests of full disclosure that Anne is my cousin.

I also extend my most sincere thanks to Mario Lafreniere for whom it has been a weekly pleasure to write  a column for his newspaper. Mario has been most co-operative and supportive. Thank you my friend.

Now back to Dr. Marquardt and Dr. Young who died on November 14, 2010 at age 95.

In an article entitled 'A Life Living' Dr. Marquardt explains that he was a physician at Chapleau General Hospital providing emergency and clinical medical services who kept hearing from patients and staff about a retired doctor who was "much beloved and respected in the community."

This doctor was known for "his kindness and dedication towards his patients" doing whatever it took to look after them regardless of the challenge to provide medical care and comfort."

To be sure it was a different era as doctors during this time had limited personal living. Their work was their life. Dr. Young epitomized that era, Dr. Marquardt wrote. He got to know Dr. Young having chats with him on many occasions.  Dr. Marquardt got to know Dr. Young at the Bignucolo Residence which led to the article.

 Dr. Young was born in Chapleau, attended Chapleau Public and High School, then attended Queen's University in Kingston to study medicine. Upon graduation he interned at Columbia University in New York City with no plans to return home and open a practice. He came home for "six months" to replace a doctor, and retired just over 50 years later.

He obviously was very impressed with Dr. Young.  He concludes his article by saying that "I must busy myself with addressing patient care issues brought to my attention by the nursing staff. I immerse myself in my work, inspired by this alert, sharp faced, bespactacled man deep into an intrigue novel."

" A life living indeed!"

I was able to spend about a month visiting with Dr. Young when I returned home for the 100th anniversary of Chapleau's incorporation as a municipality in 2001. I stayed at his apartment. In 2004, Dr. Young came to visit me in Cranbrook as he made one last trip across Canada in his motor home. While here we travelled to Creston to visit the cemetery where members of his family are buried. His mother was from Creston.
photo by Gordon Woods

In selecting Dr. Marquardt's article as I mark nine years of Chapleau Moments, it also let me mention that Dr. Young and my father James E. Morris were both born in Lady Minto Hospital shortly after it opened in 1914. My father was killed on active service in the RCAF on July 16, 1943. We go back a long way.

My most sincere thanks to all who have supported Chapleau Moments since 2009. Most appreciated. I leave you this week with a thought from Tom Brokaw, "It's all storytelling you know. That's what journalism is all about."  A life living for sure!  My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Remembering Flying Officer Jim Morris: 'Every day is Remembrance Day' for 75 years

Rotary Park
By Michael J Morris

Rotary Park in the very heart of Cranbrook's downtown core has been one of my favourite places in the city ever since I arrived here 29 years ago just about now.

Over the years I have often stopped there to rest when on a walkabout of that part of the city, but this time I had a special reason for a visit. The cenotaph and Wall of Honour are located there, and for me it was the place to go and spend a few moments in quiet reflection on a long ago incident that affected me and my family and the lives we have led.

Seventy-five years ago, on July 16, 1943, a Wellington bomber took off from an air force base in England. It was to be a short height test flight around the airfield only.

The last entry in the pilot's log book written later by the squadron's wing commander was, "Aircraft exploded in air."

The usual telegram was sent by the war office, expressing regret that Flying Officer James E. Morris, my father,  was killed while on active service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, July 16,1943. Similar messages would have been sent to the families of my father's crew who were on the flight with him. The crew members were five Canadian boys, from Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan, brought together  because of Canada's participation in World War II.

Dad shortly before he was killed 1943

Upon arriving at Rotary Park, I stopped at the cenotaph located in about the exact middle of the park, and read the inscription: "To the honour and memory of OUR BOYS from Cranbrook district who gave themselves for liberty." Every one of those inscribed on the cenotaph, like me, had a family and friends, and I shared a moment with them.

I headed over to the Wall of Honour, a project spearheaded by the Cranbrook Firefighters and Branch Number 24 of the Royal Canadian Legion where the names of those who served their country in the Boer War, World War I, World War II and Korea are inscribed.

As I stood looking at the wall with the Canadian Ensign, Maple Leaf and Union Jack flags fluttering above me, I thought what a truly amazing project it was to have undertaken and to all those who made it a reality -- thank you.

On the other side of the Wall of Honour is  a mural entitled Valour Remembered and a plaque says it was done as a Millenneum Project from the time Cranbrook and district had people involved in the Boer war in 1900 to 2000. The mural was painted by the distinguished internationally acclaimed Canadian artist Joseph Cross, who lives in Cranbrook.

The latest addition to the site is a Garden of Remembrance opened in June 2011.

I sat down on a park bench for some reflection.

My Dad and Mom on Wedding day 1940

Although I didn't know it at the time, July 16, 1943, was destined to be the most significant turning point in my life, and I wasn't even two years old when my father's plane exploded in air and crashed over the English countryside during World War II. In fact, that date had a profound effect on my entire family. Nobody was ever quite the same again. Of course, in 1943, I wasn't really aware of what life was like for my mother, Muriel E. (Hunt) Morris, my grandparents Harry and Lil Morris and George and Edith Hunt, my father's sister Marion, and the close relationship they all had. 
Me with my Dad 1942 Only photo of us

My grandmother Hunt was in England at the time working as a war nurse and my father had visited her the weekend before he was killed. She attended his funeral and burial in Ripon Cemetery, Yorkshire, England. Grandpa Hunt was with us in Chapleau.
Jim Morris 

My father, like so many who joined Canada's armed forces during World War II was an ordinary Canadian from a small town, in his case, Chapleau, Ontario where he was born and raised, called upon to perform the exceptional. There was absolutely no doubt in their minds whatsoever that it was the right thing for them to do. I am sure there are many here in Cranbrook who felt the same way.

After his death, The Evening Telegram of Toronto reported that my father took to flying in his early teens and became associated with several of Canada's early bush pilots who were operating in the Chapleau area. Actually he was going down to the waterfront and getting rides and learning to fly planes, thinking that my grandmother didn't know what was going on. But she did. Mothers always know!  

In 1940 my father enlisted in the RCAF at Moncton, New Brunswick. He became a flying instructor and was posted to No. 10 Elementary Flying Training School at Mount Hope. He was among the first instructors in the Commonwealth Air Training Plan. In 1942 he went overseas. I was born on November 3, 1941.

On November 11, Remembrance Day, we pause for a moment, and for some of us, for much more than a moment, to remember all those who died in war. For those of us affected so profoundly by war, we live with a day of remembrance each day of our lives.

My mother who likely never missed a Remembrance Day service, once told me that "Every day is remembrance day."  I thought of my mother's words before I headed off to Rotary Park and knew it was the right thing to do.

Stephen Hayter, the executive director, of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum in Brandon, Manitoba, has agreed to include my father's  RCAF material in a display there.

In an email to me, Mr. Hayter wrote: "It is your father's story that we wish to preserve for future generations...Your father's name is also listed in our memorial book They Shall Grow Not Old which also states that he was part of #432 Leaside Squadron (Saevitir Ad Lucem), and that his Wellington aircraft #JA 119 crashed one and one half miles west of Malton, Yorkshire."  
Me 2018. a Michael Pelzer photo

As I was leaving the park I noticed another plaque in memory of Soren Johnson, a horticulturist who was instrumental in tree selection for  Cranbrook Rotary Club in 1928 that created the beautiful urban forest in the downtown core.

What a beautiful place it is and what visionaries the members of the 1928 Rotary Club were to create it. And thanks to Cranbrook Firefighters, Branch Number 24 of the Royal Canadian Legion and all the rest who were involved in creating the Wall of Honour. 

They shall grow not old, not at all, for you will always remember yours as I remember mine. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Leo Racicot worked on Canadian Pacific Railway for 51 years also an ardent curler and reeve of Chapleau

Leo Racicot started with the Canadian Pacific Railway at age 14 and retired 51 years later after gaining a broad knowledge of its operations "during the years when railroading was an exciting but hazardous occupation. 

Mr. Racicot started his career in Bonfield where he was born. as a water tank pumper, then moved on to become an extra gang clerk and section man. 

In 1909 he became assistant clerk to the roadmaster at Mattawa and then it was off to Schreiber to work in the shops.

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


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Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE