The Pimlott family expedition to Williams Creek 37 years ago.

SOOKE HISTORY: A woodsman and his daughters

Ray Pimlott spent his working life working in the woods around the Sooke region

One of the great things about being superintendent for Pacific Logging was that you could take your family out so they could experience seeing the forests in all circumstances, such as this newly logged area.

Ray Pimlott’s working life was almost entirely spent in the woods, and as a devoted family man, scenes such as this expedition to Williams Creek in December 1979 were part of the fabric of his and Glenda’s life.

The Douglas-fir pictured, 12 feet in diameter at the butt, felled and yarded using chokers on a 120 Skagit tower and loaded using an America line loader onto an off highway logging truck, was hauled out via Butler Main and unloaded at the Pacific Logging dryland sort before being put into the water at Butler Brothers booming grounds on West Coast Road.

Perched top left is son-in-law Jim Diebold with his kids David and Denise, another son-in-law Bill Jessiman, and Ray Pimlott standing on a jagged edge of the cut. On the forest floor below are Deanna Pimlott Jessiman, Karen Pimlott Diebold, Stephen Davies with his wife Christina Pimlott, and at right, Kathy Govenlock whose husband Alden took the photo. Linda Pimlott (later Redlick) is kneeling in front.

Ray Pimlott, while born in Victoria, came to Sooke as a youngster with his parents and elder brother. His dad George had started his forest career polecutting with horses in the Great Depression, moving on to Port Renfrew where he pioneered in truck logging.

Moving his family to a tree-shaded home in the centre of Sooke in 1937, George worked as a contract trucker for the forest industry, so it was small wonder that son Ray started his working career driving truck as well.  He moved on to become a loading operator for Butler Brothers Logging and then woods foreman; meanwhile he and his wife Glenda raised their five daughters pictured above.

Ray became superintendent for Butlers, then for its successor, Pacific Logging, their work taking them from the Sooke and Leech Rivers westward.

With changes in management in the mid-1980s, Ray and Glenda had to leave Sooke and move up-island where he continued to work in the industry until his retirement.

After putting in almost half a century in the woods, Wally Butler presented Ray with the massive Butler Bull-Block, weighing over a ton and probably the largest in the world (historically used with steel cables in “high lead” logging) and proud as he was of this treasure, Ray donated it to the Sooke Region Museum, where it can be viewed at the Phillips Road frontage today.

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Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.