The Wilson brothers from left

The Wilson connection

The Sooke Community Hall will be celebrating its 75th year

Scarcely more than a teenager when he first began to take a leadership role in the Sooke Community Association, John Wilson has championed the role of the organization ever since. Photographed here circa 1980, John is at left with brothers Jim, Barney and Bill.

Their dad, Pete Wilson was a carpenter, and when he arrived to settle in Sooke in the early1940s he and wife Maggie had pretty much raised their four sons and their daughters Peggy, Elsie and Betty.

Barney, the eldest, served in the U.S. Armed Forces and was in Sooke visiting. Jim Wilson, while he started his career as a house painter and worked as a faller, has been well known throughout our community as a land developer in recent decades. At right in the photo is the youngest, Bill, whose working days saw him as crew on the CPR steamships and Fisheries vessels, then moving on to work at Sooke Forest Products Sawmill.

John met Audrey Sullivan on his arrival in Sooke, and when they married, he found himself related to half of the community. A pile driver operator and a carpenter, John partnered with Fred Oakes to undertake construction jobs in the area. It was Oakes and Wilson who got the contract to build the first professionally operated local fire hall, which opened on Sooke Road in 1958 just west of Felton Road.  Working many years as a millwright at Sooke Forest Products Sawmill, John finished his career as maintenance superintendent for the operation.

John’s community volunteerism was focused on sports and Sooke Athletic Association as well as the Sooke Community Association. He also became a dedicated Lion. Passionate in his vision, convinced of the importance of the role of the Sooke Community Association in holding our population together as a unifying volunteer force, John speaks of these convictions in the 1987 amateur video that is to be shown on April 28 at the hall’s 75th anniversary.

Long-retired and living quietly with Audrey today, this father of five sons and a daughter now sits on the sidelines and watches with interest as the town unfolds with his son-in-law, Sooke’s new Mayor Wendal Milne at the helm.

Elida Peers,Historian

Sooke Region Museum

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