Parents sometimes raise a household of seven sons, but it’s not your everyday occurrence in our part of the world. In Sooke it was Ernest and Hazel Pontious that raised seven sons on a small farm in the centre of town, right off Caldwell Road.
Arriving here from the U.S. to work in the fishtraps industry, Ernie Pontious became a foreman in charge of the wire shed for the traps. The family home still stands today; though it is no longer the central heart of a farm, it has slowly found itself surrounded by many new houses.
The beaming group of sons and their wives seen here in1950 at the Olde England Inn in Victoria had gathered for the wedding of their only sister, Edna, the youngest. Her proud parents watched Edna share the spotlight with groom Bill Korpan. (Note: Their son Gary Korpan was to serve as mayor of Nanaimo in the 1990s.)
The Pontious sons in the photo were Harold, left, who was a foreman at the fishtraps until their1958 closing, and Ralph, Russell, Jim, Don and Ed who were in various fields of the forest industry, from truck driving and contract logging to log booming. Don was reputed to have taken his team of horses into Sombrio Beach for mining exploration in the late 1930s. The family suffered the tragedy of losing son Howard at 19 to a fishtraps accident.
Standing left of the groom, clad in a plaid dress and a big smile, is Marcia Pontious (now Selby) of Cranbrook. After Sooke was incorporated, Marcia made an arrangement with the District so that the waterfront land she had inherited would become a park. This is now Sooke’s well-used Ed Macgregor Park.
Standing alongside her mother Gladys Pontious (in the tailored suit) on the right of the bride is a little girl in a plaid skirt. Look closely and you’ll see the same perky smile you notice when she’s working at the counter of the hardware store. It’s Judy Jay!
While not many of the originals are likely to be at the 75th anniversary of the Sooke Community Hall on April 28tthis year, they were out in force for the Reunion Banquet we videotaped in 1987.
Elida Peers, Historian
Sooke Region Museum