For the Bulletin
Unbeknownst to many of us, Kimberley B.C. has been the starting point for many remarkable people who have gone on to do great things on planet earth. Here are their stories (in no particular order),
I went to Selkirk High School with Dirk in the mid 1960s. The next time I heard about him was 1998 when I saw his picture in the Toronto Globe and Mail, announcing Mr. Ryneveld would be one of the lead prosecuting attorneys on the “International Criminal Tribune For The Former Country of Yugoslavia”, (which was held at the World Court of the Hague). One such case was that of Slobadan Milosevic for his war crimes against humanity. Milosevic justified his actions by calling what he did “Ethnic Cleansing”. Mr. Ryneveld also Prosecuted three other cases during his four years at The World Court, Netherlands, one being the rape of more than 50 Muslim Women by henchmen of Slobodan Milosevic. A successful guilty plea was obtained in each of the four cases.
Quoting Mr. Ryneveld at the time “Everything you have learned at home, you leave at the door, and completely reeducate yourself over here”. Returning to Canada after four years at World Court, Dirk became British Columbia Police Complaint Commissioner from 1993 to 1999. He has now returned to Private Practice in Victoria B.C. with McConnan, Bion O’Connor and Peterson, assuming his duties in June 2009. Dirk received his Queens Counsel in 1990.
Kimberley Connection – Dirk started his schooling in Jaffray, before beginning Grade 2 at Watkins School in Kimberley, when his folks moved to town. After Graduating from Selkirk High School Dirk attended the University of Saskatchewan, where he obtained his Law Degree. Dirk has a son Michael who works at the United Nations in New York as an Attorney, and his daughter is a Physicist in San Francisco.
A funny thing I remember about Dirk, one day in the halls at Selkirk, I asked him if he was going to the Dynamiter Game that night? Dirk said he could not go, because he had to study, and look where it got him.
Starting his life on Higgins Street in Lower Blarchmont, Pat Morrow became just the second Canadian to climb Mt. Everest. Pat and his wife Baiba also accomplished an incredible feat by circumnavigating the entire Himalayan Mountain Range (a distance of over 10,000 Kilometres). To my knowledge, this had never been done before. Pat has been on 27 high altitude Expeditions doing photography and filming (and of course doing his own climbing). Mr. Pat Morrow received the “ Summit of Excellence Award” for climbing the seven highest mountains on the planet in 1987. Mr. Pat Morrow was awarded the Order Of Canada for his work in film, photography and climbing, in 1987. A most remarkable fellow.
Then there is the astounding oil painter Mr. Eric Payne, who moved to Southern Australia after graduating from Selkirk High School in Kimberley. Eric taught school in Australia for many years, before discovering a genius for Painting. His stunning work can be seen by Googling ericpayne.com.au. This is a moving video website of Eric’s paintings. Many of Eric Payne’s works now hang in the most prestigious Art Gallery in Australia. Eric in Kimberley was an excellent scholar, and stellar athlete (baseball and basketball). The Payne Family resided in Upper Blarchmont.
Judy Graham Rogers
Leafing through a McCLeans Magazine a few years ago, I saw a picture of my graduation classmate Judy Graham (now Rogers). The Mcleans story was about the 100 most powerful women in Canada. Judy started out as a Lifeguard at Mcdougall Pool, then Valedictorian of the class of 1967, and ascended to become the Manager of The City of Vancouver, a position she held for over a decade. When Jacques Rogge, President of The international Olympic Committee, announced Vancouver as the host of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Mr. Rogge called Judy Graham Rogers up to the Podium to accept for Vancouver and Canada, a remarkable “ moment in time” for our country, Canada, Vancouver, and, Judy herself. Personally I felt very proud to know Judy, my friend from Kimberley.
Grant Albright graduated from Selkirk High School, and thus began a meteoric rise in the world of computers, in a city just south of us, San Diego California. Grant is on the cutting edge in computers, servicing NASA, Jet Propulsion Labs, and Hughes Aircraft, founded by Howard Hughes. His company is called Quantum and employs 20 people. Grant was actually born in New York City, where his dad Clint played ice hockey for the New York Rangers. By the way Clint only played one season in the National Hockey League, beating out Gordie Howe for Rookie of the Year honours. Clint was the first player to don contact lenses in a game. Mr. Albright came to Cominco as an Engineer or Geologist, and to my knowledge did not participate in hockey with the hometown Dynamiters. His son Grant was a gifted tennis player during his teenage years here in Kimberley (and to my knowledge I never beat him in any match).
Larry Musser was a radio show host in Edmonton, then inexplicably, at age 43, “reinvented himself” to become a television and movie Actor, starring roles in X Files, numerous times with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Larry then went into film acting, doing a movie with Anthony Hopkins, Elle McPherson and Alec Baldwin called The Edge, a highly popular movie all over the world. Google Larry Musser actor, you will see a wide array of his film and television work. Mr. Musser was raised on Spokane Street in uptown Kimberley, excelling at baseball and basketball during his teen years, before matriculating at UBC, where a degree in chemistry was obtained. “Muss” is the most ethical person I have encountered, in my travels, a fellow of impeccable integrity.
Alan Fabro became the first Canadian baseball player ever to be given a “Signing Bonus” when Alan signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1962- 63. Fabro was still attending Selkirk, where he was an outstanding basketball player, before matriculating at Gonzaga University in Spokane, playing goalie on the Zags Hockey Club. Business came calling after baseball. Alan went on to own a John Deere Dealership in Lethbridge Alberta, (the third largest of its kind in Western Canada, employing 175 people). Alan Fabro is the kind of person who believes he can absolutely do anything in life he sets his mind to, the single most positive person I have ever been around. Mr Fabro now lives at Wasa Lake.
In the history of ice hockey in Kimberley, spanning over 100 years, only one hockey player has ever made it to the NHL. That would be Jason Wiemer, and not just making it for the proverbial cup of coffee. Jason appeared in 750 NHL games. When you think how long hockey has been played in Kimberley, it is quite remarkable that Jason is the only hockey player to ascend to the elite of the elite, the National Hockey League, for many hundreds of games. A remarkable feat. Jason now trains aspiring ice hockey players in Calgary, Alberta.
The Sevensmas were a very talented Family from Meadowbrook. Mrs. Sevensma was a concert pianist in Europe, before coming to Canada, where she became a much in demand piano teacher. Peter Jr. the eldest child, became an airline pilot, and later a Captain for Air Canada, in Europe. Pete lives in France and still flies Commercial Planes. Middle child Caroline Sevensma was on the Canadian National Ski Team, while still in high school at Selkirk, in fact all three of them were on the National Ski Team Les Espoir. Carol later became the Director of Montessori School in Vancouver. For those not familiar with Montessori School, it is ranked Number 1 in the World for educating Children four years old through High School. Youngest sister Antoinette was a skiing phenom up at Kimberley Resort. On the National Team ( Les Espoir) at 14 years old, “Toni“ was the very best girl skier I ever observed in my time skiing, you could not tell her skiing style apart from the amazing Judi Leinweber. Ms Sevensam and good pal Judi were amazing to watch free skiing. Toni Sevensma is also an accomplished singer. Mr, Peter Sevensma Senior and his wife Mrs. Sevensma have both recently passed on.