Jack Gray could do it all!

There never was a more active and all-round Fort Frances citizen than W.J. (Jack) Gray, our CIBC bank manager when I first knew him. That was before he became a leading light in our Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis club, always with ideas for bettering our town and conditions here generally.
Now Jack was also a builder of importance to us while our senior hockey team was needing a new arena with artificial ice. So Jack took on the building committee chairmanship, which was busy raising the $227,000 required.
And who do you think became the first Memorial Arena management chairman in 1951 and, oh yes, that was right after he finished as rink building inspector.
Jack not only knew financial management, but what it took to set up a community project properly even though, all along the way, he received jibes until the day he turned his back on the rink. Enough for him of hearing about “The house the Jack built.”
It was said that his critics had turned him off the whole thing so thoroughly that he never entered the building to witness a single game.
But there were other developments to look after, including elections! So Jack became the riding’s returning officer and his new home on Sixth Street had its living room appropriated as returning office, full of ballot boxes and walls hung with Bristol boards for the returns from every poll.
It’s said Jack created polling places where they had never been before (Jack also was on town council for a while, if I’m not mistaken).
With elections out of the way, Jack became the district bailiff and reported to the courthouse here daily for fresh assignments in bill collecting. Dixie McFayden was the clerk.
That job paid mileage to the bailiff plus a small percentage on collections—as I discovered after Jack passed away and I accepted the bailiff’s duties from Eric Pearson, the P.C. district chief.
I wondered how Jack Gray, who had become elderly in office, ever survived the strain of being bailiff, especially after I was threatened by a butcher knife on one visit and realized the job could involve considerable shock!
Yes, Jack Gray was the man for all seasons when his record is examined: banking, rink building and management, election returning officer, and bailiff—plus whatever else may have come along in money making!
• • •
I can remember hearing about some “tough guys” fainting after being inoculated although they were already in high school! One who was evidently scared out of his wits simply yelled out to the nurse, “Please be gentle!”
But those outbursts were many years ago—long before our present-day ’flu shot became so generally welcomed!
I took mine without a murmur of protest from the Loney nurse at the Northwestern Health Unit office here and her sociable manner made it very acceptable!
She is a member of the Shop Easy storekeeping family at Emo.
• • •
I’ve known Lloyd Perry slightly for years without hearing about his Second World War experience reported so well in the Times last week by Beth Caldwell.
Our town and district had its war heroes all right—and by the dozens!
• • •
My first “red poppy quarter” was a gift from Allan Bedard, who may have been among the first here to find one. His came during a union meeting in Montreal!
By commemorating the Second World War’s 60th anniversary, it makes me uneasy, however, because I cannot imagine having let so much time slip through my fingers!
• • •
I was happy to see Hector Gaune remembering to cut our lawn again, but wasn’t this somewhat later than usual?
Dwelling on the late October scene reminds me of a sad song about “When the winds of November blow early.” But I’m glad, at this moment, they didn’t start up yet!
• • •
I met Bucky and Edna Lambert right after they moved back into town from Bears Pass, and Edna well remembers delivering the Winnipeg Tribune for me, along with her brother.
This was so long ago that I don’t like to agree with her that it’s been 50 years (you know she’s wrong because she still doesn’t look anywhere near that age!)
• • •
Deer hunting again has been successful and more and more profitable for district resorts, I’ve discovered!
As for the first part of this item, check with Orville Eyolfson who reports seeing 14 deer “piled up like cordwood” along with one bear—all on one small American trailer.
This party, headed south to Windsor, Ont., was seen by other local observers who hoped all that venison did not get spoiled as the weather would be much warmer before that load reached its destination!
The hunters had visited Boffin Lake in Miscampbell here.
Among district resorts enjoying extra prosperity this mild fall would be Buena Vista camp at Morson on Lake of the Woods where the proprietor, Chuck Gates, welcomed the return of 11 hunters from Thunder Bay last weekend.
I talked to these enthusiasts last Thursday at The Harbourage here.
• • •
It was appropriate for Ken Moser, our first new Canadian Tire store operator, to return for the opening of the big new store. And I hope his wife, Gail, was along, too because there never was a more popular couple here!
Several of us, including town councillors and wives, once accompanied them in Ken’s airplane to Estevan, Sask., when that town was “twinned” with Fort Frances by a suggestion from Ottawa which covered expenses.
This was after Estevan sent representatives here for Canada Day.
But then we hear no more about what we all considered a successful idea! Estevan since then has been supplying coal for Atikokan’s hydro-electric station.
• • •
Walter Christiansen is proud of all three of his sons, but it’s not always easy to identify which one he is discussing since their names all start with “K”!
Kelvin has entered the Alaska Hall of Fame but you might know him better as “Brush.” He has been coaching university hockey up there for 20 years now.
Then there are Keith and Kenneth, who propably are lacing on skates right now as “Christy” himself and uncle Willy Toninato, another fallen Allan Cupper, did for many years.
• • •
You’ve got to see Sunny Duffy as a “Red Hat Lady” these days! Her big red hat tops a bright purple suit as Sunny shows what it’s like to follow the rules of her new organization and merely “go out to have fun”—with no charity work or fundraising involved.
Her club is growing fast around the cities, I’m told!

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