Carl and Doreen Dick

Written by Canmore Museum

Carl Dick was born in Didsbury, Alberta, in 1929. He grew up on a farm, attended elementary and junior high school in Sunnyslope, and completed high school in Red Deer Composite High. He then attended teacher training at a branch of the University of Alberta in Calgary after which he taught for two years at rural schools in the Olds School Division. He then taught for two years in the High Prairie School Division in the Peace River country.

The next twelve years were spent as a long distance truck driver, driving semi-trailer eighteen wheelers and hauling refrigerated meat products from Calgary and Edmonton to Montreal, Toronto, Chicago and Detroit and returning west with manufactured goods.

Long distance truck driving was quite exciting at times. One hot, rainy, foggy night about 2 a.m. in July, 1958, on the United States Highway #2 near Bimidji, Minn., there suddenly appeared in the heavy rain a large elephant standing in the middle of the road. Carl wondered if he had been driving too long and was seeing things. He discovered at the next truck stop that what he had seen was real and not an apparition! Apparently earlier in the evening a circus truck had overturned and several large elephants had escaped. 

Carl returned to teaching in 1968 in a one-room school in Seebe, Alberta, which at that time was under the jurisdiction of Calgary Power. During this time he completed his B. Ed. degree at night school and summer school at the University of Calgary.

In 1957 Carl married Doreen Thiessen of Linden, Alberta. She was born on August 3, 1935.  Doreen worked in the Bank of Montreal in Acme and then transferred to Calgary. While working at the main branch of the Bank of Montreal on  8th and 1st St., the teller next to her was held up three times. Also while working at the C.I.B.C. in Kingsland in Calgary, the teller next to Doreen was held up by a man wearing an ostrich plume hat and a purse with a gun inside. 

After moving to Seebe, Doreen was employed by Parks Canada at the Banff East Gate as a gate attendant for fifteen years. There she also experienced exciting moments, such as when the R.C.M.P. phoned to warn her, while working alone in the evening, that should a white van approach the gate, to allow it to proceed without stopping as the driver had committed a murder. Fortunately, the van was intercepted before reaching the gate.

Carl’s grandfather, the late Gerhart Ens of Rosthern, Sask., formerly of Russia, and Doreen’s grandfather, A.W. Klassen of Acme, Alberta, formerly of Germany, were both employed by the Government of Canada as immigration and land settlement agents. Gerhart Ens also served as M.L.A. for the Rosthern constituency for the province of Saskatchewan. 

Some of the most memorable times in Carl’s life were while he was teaching in the one-room school in Seebe for eleven years. The condition of employment included the agreement to complete his B. Ed. degree, and secondly to present a Christmas concert every Christmas. The success of these concerts was attributable to music provided by Dolly Moore, Calgary Power maintenance with stage and props, a large Christmas tree brought in from Kananaskis, and most of all, the keen interest and enthusiasm of the school students.

Carl spent twenty-five years playing the electric bass guitar in a local dance band and playing a slide trombone in Vic Lewis’ brass quartet. During Carl’s teaching years, he was a dedicated member of the Alberta Teachers’ Association finally serving as honorary president of the Palliser District Teachers’ Convention board for 1994.

Three children were born to this marriage: Gregory in 1960, Diana, 1961, and Cary, 1963. Gregory married Maxine Wood in 1982. In August, 1984, he died of unknown causes.

Diana married Clarke Smith, who had a son Justin by a previous marriage. They live on a large acreage in Winlaw, B.C. They have a daughter, Megan, born December 25, 1999. Clarke builds timber frame buildings.

Cary lived in Benchlands, northwest of Cochrane, with his best friend Twyla Debord for ten years. Twyla was accidentally killed in a car accident in July, 1999. Cary works for Baymag in Exshaw.

Carl and Doreen bought a home in Canmore in 1984. They are both retired and enjoy living in Canmore. 

Carl and Doreen Dick, Diana, Greg, and Cary

Carl Dick with his truck, taken in Fargo, N.D.

In Canmore Seniors at the Summit, ed. Canmore Seniors Association, 2000, p. 60-61.

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