The Sooke Region Museum book committee from 1999.

SOOKE HISTORY: Book committee a who’s who of Sooke community

This book committee was responsible for the production of The Sooke Story – The History and the Heartbeat published by the museum in 1999.

BY Elida Peers

There’s a lot of history packed into this 1999 photo taken by Jim McCullough. This book committee was responsible for the production of The Sooke Story – The History and the Heartbeat published by the museum in 1999.

At left, rear, we have Linda (George) Bristol, descended from a long line of west coast and Saanich First Nations families.  As one time chief of the T’Sou-ke people, Linda is still engaged with band work today.

Next is Victoria-born Liz Johnson, a dedicated volunteer who has taken an active role in Sooke organizations since moving here in 1986.

Next is myself, born in Saseenos, whose interest in local history began in grade school.

Centre, rear, is Elinor McClimon, a fourth generation descendant of the Clark and Anderson families of Shirley and the Eves of Sooke.

Audrey Wilson, (now gone from us) is next, so well-known as a member of the Harbourside Lions, and with a long background as one of the Sheringham lighthouse Ardens, and of the Sullivans. Joan O’Donnell brought her Scottish background and Glasgow accent with her when she came to Sooke in 1980, and loaned her talents to the book as well.

Fred Rudd, next, is also gone, a man whose farming history went back to his family’s dairy farm at Burnside and Marigold, where in the mornings before going to school he saw to the milking of 60 cows.

Seated, left, Joyce Linell came to Jordan River from the Fraser Valley in 1964 and contributed her archival skills. Ken Shepherd, the first and longtime president of the historical society, was a child in the 1920s when his family arrived with the Bible Students. He too, is gone.  The smiling white-haired lady next to him, Mae Linell, who came from Manitoba in 1946, was so well-known as Akela the cub leader that the community hall was filled with past cub scouts when her service was held in 2008.

Executive director of the museum at the time, Terry Malone is next, while diminutive Evelyn Stolth is seated between Terry and Tuck Vowles. Evelyn, a daughter of the Clarks and Andersons of Shirley, and mother of Elinor, contributed a wealth of early knowledge to the book before her passing in 2003. Tuck, the eldest of the well-known Vowles brothers of seafood fame, and a leading Lion, was descended from the Poiriers  (think Ecole Poirier);  he left us in 2001.

Sally Bullen, chair of the book committee, and onetime historical society president, completes the middle row. She grew up in Otter Point, youngest daughter of logger Alf Brown. While she now lives in Comox, she continues to help with Sooke events.

Pete Wilford is perched at far left, and contributed his family’s extensive Woodside Farm knowledge; it’s notable that today he is on the film committee producing the film on Woodside Farm.

Kenney Nickerson, an architect from the eastern U.S., was society president at the time the book was compiled, and continues to practice in Sooke today.

Beside Kenney is Rose Dumont, daughter of Jeannie (George) Whitford, who has also served as chief of the T’Sou-ke Band, and is a band councillor today.

And on the right, a face familiar to us all, is Ray Vowles, brother to Tuck Vowles. Ray is another longtime Lion who has served many faithful, hardworking years as president of the historical society as well.

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Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.