Family History

Six of my eight great grandparents were born in England; the remaining two, in France. All of my grandparents spent their teenage years in Canada and, one way or another, became Canadian Citizens.

My father’s parents were both born in Canada. My mother’s parents moved to Canada while still young children.

Alberta Connections

My great grandmother moved from France with most of her children to Southern Alberta where she ran her own horse ranch. One of her sons, my grandfather, became Fort MacLeod’s first Auto Mechanic and also briefly a Town Constable, before moving to Spokane. He moved to Burnaby shortly after the Great Depression began.

His wife, my grandmother, grew up in Cranbrook, part of the Mountain Time Zone, aligning more with Alberta than British Columbia. One of her younger brothers spent the final years of his career as a Bank Manager in Lac La Biche, Alberta.

Even though he lived in Vancouver, my other grandfather came to Edmonton to be a student of Medicine at the University of Alberta in the early 1920s, before UBC had its own Medical school.

UBC Connections

My father was still 16 years old when he started on his degree at UBC. Because, with World War II at its peak, he was encouraged to take both Grade 11 and 12 in a single year at Vancouver’s King Edward High School.

He majored in Chemistry and minored in Physics, earning a Bachelors degree in the usual four years. For years to come, what would haunt him, and specifically his resume, was the fact that Chemistry and Physics were still part of the Arts Faculty at UBC, with the Faculty of Science reserved for Engineering. It became hard for a Chemist to get a job with a Bachelor of Arts degree soon after UBC reorganized, with Engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science and Chemistry and Physics in the Faculty of Science.

I had planned to go to UBC since I was eight years old. The boy’s Guidance Counselor at Burnaby Central Senior Secondary recommended the new Douglas College and transferring to UBC for Third Year, but I figured my resume would look better if I spent all four years at UBC, so off I went. Changing my major from Physics to Computer Science at the end of First Year, I still managed to complete my Bachelors degree in the usual four years.