John and Lorraine Fraser

John and Lorraine Fraser
Written by Canmore Museum

John Thomas Fraser had adventurous parents. His father, Peter, was born in the Shetland Islands, but left at age fourteen to work on freighters around the world. Eventually, he settled on a farm in Washington State near Silcott, to raise fruit, but later, he and his wife moved to Canada to homestead at Duchess, north of Brooks, Alberta. Their son, John (Jack), joined them when he was eighteen. In Brooks, he met his future bride.

Christina Middler Kynock Dick was born in 1904 in Aberdeen, Scotland, the second in a family of seven. Her father was a butcher, a trade he inherited from his father and later passed on to his sons. The family had a comfortable life in Scotland but the parents had a bit of a wanderlust. In 1911, Mr. Dick came to Canada to see if it held a future for his family. He got a position as a butcher in Nanton, Alberta, and sent for his family a few months later. This stay in Canada did not last long though because the family returned to Scotland in 1915, during World War I. Their ship had to change course on the way to avoid Submarines.

Once back in Scotland, Mr. Dick became a government meat inspector, checking meat for the troops. Mrs. Dick and Christina helped in the war effort by knitting socks, bandage socks (to go over bandaged legs) and hats to wear under helmets. Food was rationed but Mrs. Dick always managed to feed her family well, using oatmeal in many ways for porridge, scones, cakes and even bread.

Following the end of the war, the family returned to Nanton where Mr. Dick once again worked at the butcher shop. Christina was old enough to be much help to her mother who had a new baby. Later, she was sent to Brooks to her aunt and uncle’s home to help with their new baby. They operated a bakery and ice cream parlour, and Christina went to work there when the baby was older. That is where she met John (Jack) Fraser. She had served him ice cream in the shop and they had met at town dances.

Her aunt and uncle announced that they were selling their business and moving to Castor, and wanted Christina to go with them. Jack didn’t want her to go so they shocked their families when they eloped to Bassano to be married as soon as the uncle’s business was sold.

After their marriage, Jack worked at the Bassano Dam for eleven years. He was a master mechanic, drove the ditching machine on the irrigation project and controlled water use at the dam as there was also a small electrical plant there. Eventually, he became an electrician. They had two sons, Donald James, born in 1925, and John Douglas, born in 1928.

In 1942, they moved to Exshaw where Mr. Fraser worked for Canada Cement. He supported the labour movement all his life, joining different unions. He served as president of the Mine and Smelters Union in Exshaw for some time. In Exshaw, they always had a big garden, raised some chickens and rabbits, and one time, had a cow and calf. They enjoyed fishing, skating on the river in winter or at the rink in town, and bowling at the hotel (the single men’s living accommodation). Occasionally, they would take the train to Banff for a special outing. Jack died in 1978 but Christina, having moved to Canmore, lived until early 2000.

Their son, John, grew up in Bassano and Exshaw, where he, too, joined the work force at Canada Cement, later Lafarge, finally becoming supervisor of mechanics for Lafarge. He became town fire chief and was active in other organizations.

When he and Lorraine Rodda were married, the ceremony was in the same church, Ralph Connor Memorial United Church by this time, as Lorraine’s parents and grandparents had been married. They moved to Exshaw which was part of the Canmore pastoral charge and Lorraine carried on the commitment to church work which her mother and grandmother had always done. Then, in 1973, she began twenty-four years of service on the Exshaw Council, beginning when it was in Improvement District #8, and continuing when it became the Municipal District of Bighorn on January 1, 1988, retiring finally in 1997.

John died suddenly in 1993 but Lorraine continued to live in their home in Exshaw until December, 1999, when she moved back to Canmore.

John and Lorraine’s daughters carried on the family tradition by being married in the United Church. Karen married Ian Schofield on August 27, 1977, seventy years and two days after her great-grandparents’ marriage there. They now live in Calgary. Corrine (Corri) married Roy Nassett in 1989 and they have two boys, Fraser and John, and live in Canmore.


Karen Fraser and Ian Schofield

John and Lorraine Fraser

Corinne Fraser and Roy Nasset


























In Canmore Seniors at the Summit, ed. Canmore Seniors Association, 2000, p. 90-92

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