Fitzgerald Family

Judy, Lena, Marjorie, Maurice, David, Billy
Written by Canmore Museum

Written by Lena Fitzgerald (nee Nikituk)

Maurice was born and raised in Canmore. Growing up here, as he remembers it, was quite memorable. Life with Mom, Dad, Jim, and Ted was great. Times were hard for everyone but extended families (Angells, Jacksons, Fitzgeralds) and special friends (Worthingtons, Mifflins, Mrokwias, Lewis, and Reynolds) and others, too numerous to list, made life the quality it was. Church was an important part of their life. Jim and Maurice served as altar boys and Mom and Dad sang in the choir.

His dad (Ed) worked at Canmore Mines but when he came home, there was always something to do. He grew a very large garden and then added a greenhouse. There were enough vegetables for the whole family, and plenty left over to share. His cabbages were popular at all church dinners. Along with his garden, he enjoyed reading. Fishing was also another one of his loves. In the earlier years, he had a horse for himself and one for each of the boys. They would often ride up to Spray Lakes for a weekend of fishing. There was a one-room cabin up there that anyone could use. They cooked, ate and slept, all in this one room. Catching fish always made the time spent very special.

Life for his mom (Gwen) was very busy. A husband and three sons kept her going. Not only did she keep the home, but was involved with the Catholic Women’s League and the Ladies Auxiliary To the Canadian Legion. For the church bazaars, she made gallons of root beer and sat at her treadle machine for countless hours, making aprons to be sold. Her greatest gift was making a meal out of nothing for unexpected company. You would never find her idle.

I was originally from Exshaw but moved to Canmore when I was eight years old. Maurice and I both went to school here but never became interested in each other until grade nine. We courted for a few years. When Maurice left school, he worked as a delivery boy for Cardo Marra, and then went to the mine. When I left school, I went to Banff to work at the Bank of Commerce where I stayed until we married in 1952.

Our home is made from an old mine house that was taken apart and moved in sections across the bridge to where it still sits and we reside today (834 – 5th Street). We had three rooms to start and gradually, as we could afford it, built on. Maurice had lots of help from his dad, his brothers and friends, and family. It’s here we brought our four children after each was born in the old Canmore Hospital: Marjorie in 1953, Judy in 1955, David in 1964 and Billy in 1966. Maurice left the mine in April of 1953 to work at Canada Cement in Exshaw and retired after forty-two years there.

Our children also went to the Canmore School. The girls went to the Sisters of St. Martha for their kindergarten and catechism. By the time the boys were ready for kindergarten, the Sisters had left so they went to the home of Penny Morris where she taught.

Canmore was a wonderful place for children to grow up in. They enjoyed freedom to play anywhere. Fear was not part of their life. There was always plenty for them to do. We had no swimming pool here, so some of us mothers took a carload of children to Banff for their lessons. The girls were involved in Brownies, skating, skiing, curling and music. Mrs. Joyce Cole was the Brownie Leader and I was her helper for awhile.

Our boys were involved in skating, skiing, golfing and hockey. Hockey took up a lot of time. Maurice, along with his brother, Ted, and Bob Bushalak, coached up to twenty-eight little boys when they were “tinymites”. Some could hardly skate but they had fun. It didn’t matter if they won or lost, they just enjoyed playing and being together. We mothers worked the concession at the rink to help fund Minor Hockey.

Our holidays for the first few years of our married life were few and far between. When we did go, it was camping – tenting to start and in later years, graduating to a truck and camper with a boat. Our children learned to water ski and tunnel board. They always found plenty of other children for their dad to teach. He would spend countless hours in the boat – now he’s doing the same for our grandchildren. These kinds of holidays are the best. Friendships were made that have lasted for years, and every year we add to our list.

Even though Canmore is growing so rapidly, we think there’s no better place to live.

Fitzgerald Family: Four Generations

When Edward and Gwen Fitzgerald first came to Canmore in 1930, they bought four lots on 5th and 6th Streets. Ever since then, it has been called Fitzgerald Corner. They lived on one lot and bought a house that used to be the old Canmore train station, built in the late 1800’s.

It was understood that this station house, a two-storey featuring square cast nails, was cut into three pieces and moved to Eighth Avenue and Fifth Street on the corner. This house has since been demolished.

They arrived in Canmore from Wales with their oldest son, James. Once here, they had two more sons, Maurice and Ted. Edward worked as a miner and stayed with Canmore Mines until his retirement in 1966. Gwen passed away in October 1985 and Edward in 1990.

Their sons followed in Edward’s footsteps, also working in the mines. Jim was a supervisor until the mines closed. Ted was a miner for awhile, leaving when there wasn’t any more work available, to work as a labourer in Exshaw. Maurice had the shortest stint in the mines (about a year); then, he, too, went to Exshaw to work, first as a laborer, and years later, as a carpenter for a total of forty-two years.

When the three Fitzgerald boys married, they each received, as a wedding gift from their parents, one of the lots originally bought in 1939. Ted and Maurice built their own houses with the help of many kind friends.

Jim married Sylvia Hubman, daughter of Paul Hubman, one of the famous Hubman boys (Charlie and Frank). Their daughter, Nancy, married Gary Marshal and they have two sons,
Andrew and Brian. Their elder daughter, Janet, died at a young age, but their son Danny carried on the family name when he and his wife, Paula Gregory, had two sons, Daniel and Jonathan.

Maurice married an Exshaw girl, Lena Nikituk. They had four children: Marjorie, Judy, David and Bill. Marj married Wayne May from St. John’s, Nfld. They have two children, Patrick and Jennifer. Judy married Gary Buerk from Coquitlam, B.C. and their children are David and Cathy (Catherine). David married Ann Andruski from Thunder Bay, Ontario. They have a daughter Kirstyn. Bill, the youngest, married Wasanne Jensen from Ferintosh, Alberta and they have three children: Alysha, Darcy and Ashala.

The Fitzgeralds’ youngest son, Ted, married Betty Bell of Canmore. Their daughter, Connie, married Curt Broughton from Vernon and they have a son, Trevor, and a daughter, Erica. Tina, the second daughter, is married to Dave Irwin of Calgary. Their children are Bradley and Michelle. The youngest, and only son, Tim, and his wife, Anna, have a son Liam.

The Fitzgerald family was much the same as many families in Canmore. Everyone went to the dance at the old Y.M.C.A. and the Union Hall. It was a friendly little town, enjoyed by those living here. Gwen was involved in church groups, knitting and sewing bees, which were real social affairs in those earlier years. She was also a member of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Canadian Legion. The Fitzgerald boys were busy with hockey, skating, curling and horseback riding. Maurice and Ted were both involved with minor hockey For years as coaches. Maurice was president of the golf course for a year.

Maurice and Ted were both volunteer firemen in those days when the fire department was just getting started. Maurice was on the first planning commission when the town was first incorporated. This duty lasted three years. During the Olympics, a highlight for both Maurice and Ted were being drivers for the athletes, VIPs, anyone who needed a ride. Many pins were traded with the athletes.

Edward Fitzgerald’s brother, James Patrick, also came to Canada a year after Ed did, settling in Canmore and marrying a Killam, Alberta, girl, Emma. James was a foreman for the Government For twenty years in Canmore, and served in the Armed Forces from 1941 to 1946. Emma and James had three daughters, Helen, Kathleen and Geraldine.

The Fitzgeralds still live in their original Canmore Homes as a closely-knit extended family. They enjoy gardening, travel, hobbies and, of course , their children and grandchildren, all part of four generations of Fitzgeralds who have lived in Canmore, and three generations born and raised in the town.

Judy, Lena, Marjorie, Maurice, David, Billy

David, Marjorie, Judy, Billy

Maurice Fitzgerald, Ron Marra, Ted Fitzgerald, Jim Fitzgerald

Ed, Gwen, Jim, Ted



































In Canmore Seniors at the Summit, ed. Canmore Seniors Association, 2000, p. 87-89

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Canmore Museum