Merilyn and John were high school sweethearts and married in Vancouver, B.C. in 1954. After living on both coasts and in several other Canadian cities, as well as Cleveland, U.S.A., they decided to settle in paradise, arriving in Canmore in 1991, accompanied by their small Chinese Crested dog, Doogle.
Merilyn was born in Vancouver, B.C. and grew up there. John was born in Budapest, Hungary and grew up in Ecuador and Colombia, where his dad worked in the oil business. After two years in Ontario, the family moved to Vancouver, where John and Merilyn met.
John had spent three decades doing exciting research in condensed matter physics at several laboratories and lecturing at three different universities. Finally, after twenty-three years at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, the aggravation of dealing with petty administrators convinced him that the time had come to retire and pursue his other loves, the mountains and outdoor activities.
On their arrival, Canmore still enjoyed the warmth of a small town where people exchanged greetings and trivia at the post office when they picked up their mail. The massive developments extending well above the valley floor had not yet clouded the landscape. As well, many of the hotels and restaurants on Bow Valley Trail had not even been started. In the short eight-year span since their arrival, Canmore’s population has more than doubled.
John served on the Canmore Library Board from 1991 to 1997. In 1993, Canmore had one of the smallest, most crowded libraries in the province. The library shared space with the Senior’s Drop In Centre on Sixth Avenue. When the Alberta government decided to sell the Canmore Liquor Store in 1993, Merilyn and John, Ken and Lorraine Williamson, Dave and Frances Robinson and the town librarian Jean Luthy, mounted a campaign to urge town officials to purchase the building for a new library and art gallery.
To aid in the furnishing of the new library, Merilyn and John helped to form The Friends of the Canmore Library Society. In 1994, Merilyn became the second president of the Society, succeeding Ken Williamson. After renovations to the old liquor store were completed, the new, larger library was officially opened early in 1996. We were all thrilled to see and enjoy the new library. Subsequently, some of the town offices moved into the old library site.
During this period, John served two years on the town planning commission. Among his many frustrations was the inability to get developers to abide by the building codes, particularly as to height and density of new developments.
From 1997 to 1998, John wrote the Senior’s column for the Canmore Leader weekly newspaper and was on the board of the Canmore Seniors Association.
Merilyn joined the relief staff of the Canmore Community Daycare in 1992 and retired in 1998. She worked as a substitute teacher in the Bow Valley from 1992 to 1999 and enjoyed both types of work.
Merilyn and John have three children. Richard was born in 1955 in Port Alberni, B.C. Richard, Karen and their two children reside in Albuquerque, N.M. Richard obtained his doctorate from Cornell University, and currently is head of North Star Research Corporations a highly successful company he founded in 1986. Wendy was born in Medicine Hat in 1958, and graduated from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Fashion Design in 1980 in Toronto. After a varied career in the fashion industry she is currently an executive at Club Monaco. She and her husband, Jeff Grottick, and their two children, reside in Toronto. Merilyn and John’s youngest child, Mark, was born in Halifax in 1963, and lives in Kitchener. When Mark reached school age, Merilyn was free to attend the University of Alberta and obtained her B. Ed. in 1975. During her graduation ceremony, John sat on stage as a faculty member, while the rest of the family sat in the audience.
Now, John takes pleasure in many outdoor activities, including skiing, hiking, photography and cycling. Merilyn enjoys the occasional hike, tending a small garden and playing her piano keyboard. She sings with the Senior Choir as well. They both enjoy visiting with Merilyn’s mother, Ruth, who lives at the lodge. All three of them often attend concerts together.