People

John (Jack) Alexander Anderson

Jack Anderson in front of Bow Valley cabins
Written by Canmore Museum

Jack was born at Graves End, Sussex, England, in 1885. He married Lillian Sufflebottom who was born in 1885 in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. Their first son, Alex, was also born in  England. 

In 1912, Jack left for Canada where he settled in Banff and worked for Moffat Dairy. Lillian and Alex (age three) followed by boat a short time later. On July 25, 1913, the first daughter of Lillian and Jack, Janet Elizabeth Anderson, was born in Banff. Jack, the second son, was born in Banff in 1915. Thelma Louise, the youngest child of Jack and Lillian, was born in Canmore, June 10, 1924. 

The young family then moved to Canmore in 1918. They first settled on Main Street where Marra’s Grocery store sits today – this lot was later sold to Cardo Marra for $3,000.00 in order for Marra’s to expand the present store. After being in Canmore for a short time, they then moved beside Policeman’s Creek where Jack started  Anderson Dairy (Bow Valley Dairy). At this time, there were three other dairies in town – Davidson’s, Kernick’s and Shellian’s. The cows open-grazed up to the Banff National Park gates. The milk was kept cool in Policeman’s Creek where one found the milk house and the barn.

Jack Anderson worked at the mine as a check weighman where he weighed the coal for the mine. Ed Armstrong, from Moose Jaw and son, individual cabins with one main bathroom and shower area. These were the beginning of the Bow Valley Cabins and later the Bow Valley Motel. These cabins were the first homes for many new families when they first arrived in Canmore; here they would be warmly greeted by Nanny, (Lillian) Anderson. Lillian ran the Bow Valley Cabins and dairy while Jack worked at the mine. Jack’s carpenter father often visited from England to help his son build the cabins.

Jack, a hard working miner, did love to socialize; he often visited the Canmore Hotel where he waited to hear the whistle blow which let the miners know if they had to work the next day. Jack loved to curl and spent many hours at the curling rink. He was a member of the Oddfellows, Canmore Legion, and a lifetime member of the Canmore Curling Rink. His garden was credited with many trophies. His rhubarb patch and mint were surrounded by a corral. These were the only things the health inspectors ever saw when they came to inspect the cabins. He never returned to England. His big trip was to the Calgary Stampede Parade, which he never missed going to yearly with his long time friend, Pete Eliuk, the local barber. However, he would never stay overnight and always came home to Canmore after the festivities were done. We often wondered if some of the many dents on his car didn’t happen after a day of fun in the local watering holes at the Stampede! Jack was on a first name basis with everyone in the town he loved, even Canmore’s  finest R.C.M.P.! Yes, he knew how to have a good time.

He was a devoted family man who lived life to the fullest and his greatest joy was to watch his children in sports. 

Alex, the oldest son of Lillian and Jack, was an avid golfer and hockey player. Jenny (Janet Elizabeth), the oldest daughter, also played hockey. One time her hockey team won the Southern Alberta Championship and they were then going on to Edmonton. As Jack was very strict, Jenny didn’t know until the morning they were leaving if she could go or not, as he didn’t approve of the coach, Speedy Dunbar. In the morning, Jack got Jenny up and told her she could go. He gave the bus the wave so they knew she was allowed to come. Thelma, the youngest and, as the family tells it, a little spoiled, was an avid speed skater and is now in the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame for her accomplishments. Thelma also loved to play ball and marbles under the street light with the boys until she saw her father coming down the street from the Canmore Hotel. That is when she hightailed it into the house and pretended she had been sleeping for hours.

Lillian Anderson was a great worker and a life member of the Anglican Church Women’s group. She was also a member of the Rebekah Lodge as far back as 1921. She enjoyed bridge, bingo, horse races and their home was always open to company. They hosted many New Year’s Eve parties where half the town would come. She enjoyed visiting her relatives in England and made numerous visits to her homeland. Lillian rarely missed a horse race in Calgary and if she couldn’t attend personally, she had a bookie! Curling was her first love and she curled from 1918 until 1972; many trophies were won and few bonspiels were missed. She had the honour of throwing the first rock at the Calgary Curling Club Bonspiel for many years. She was a life member of the Banff and Canmore Curling Clubs. She also served as secretary for the Canmore Curling Club for many years. She was a Southern Alberta Curling district winner many times over the years. Jack and Lillian retired from the Bow Valley Motel in 1957 and moved across the street, beside the United Church, where they spent their retirement years. Jack passed away on March 15, 1965 at 80 years of age and Lillian joined him on November 23, 1974, at 89 years of age. Lillian was cremated as she said she didn’t want to be all dressed up in a box with no place to go; these last few lines describe Lillian Anderson at her best to those who knew her well. Farewells are only beginnings and as we all know, Lillian is with her maker, just waiting for us all to join her. She was simply the best. 

Alex, the second son of Jack and Lillian, went on to work at the mine on the “goat”. Alex, like the other Andersons, loved sports and enjoyed hockey, golf and life. He married Mary Fewchuk and had two children, Alex and Richard. Alex passed away in 1952 as a result of cancer. His son, Alex, like his father, was an avid sportsman, active in track and field and loved golf. He married Norma and had two children. He died at a young age. His wife and children presently reside in Edmonton. Rickie, Alex and Mary’s youngest son, delivered many papers in Canmore. At a young age, he was hit by a car on Policeman’s Creek bridge. Misfortune sometimes clouds the horizon and unfortunately Richard, at the age of 19, left the earth in May of 1967. Mary lived all her life in Canmore and passed away in 1997. 

Janet Elizabeth Innes (better known as Jennie) left Canmore and went on to Normal School in Calgary where she graduated as a teacher in 1932. She taught in the country for nineteen years at Sangudo, Langdon, Cochrane and Canmore. In 1951, she married William Charles Innes. Charlie worked as an accountant in the oil business for Purity 99, Gridoil and Ashland Oil in Calgary. Jennie and Charlie had one daughter, Jean Louise Innes, born April 12, 1952. In Calgary, Jennie was a devoted housewife and mother and Jennie and Charlie often visited Canmore. Jennie and Charlie travelled throughout the world. At the age of 58, Charlie lost his battle with cancer and upon Charlie’s passing in 1973, Jennie returned to Canmore and presently resides in the Bow Valley Lodge. Jennie, like her mother, was an avid curler until the age of 84. When Jennie returned to Canmore, she became very involved with the Canmore Seniors group and was an  instigator in helping to get the Seniors Drop-In Centre built. Jenny loved to play bridge and golfed until the age of 84. She is also a lifetime member of the Canmore Golf Club. She is an active member of St. Michael’s Anglican Church, helping to run the races at the annual picnic and organizing the yearly curling bonspiel. Jenny, her sister Thelma and Cross, her brother-in-law, spent many memorable moments travelling about the world. Jennie, like her mother, has been very active in numerous community activities and her home was always open to friends and family. 

Their daughter, Jeannie, followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a teacher. She presently teaches and resides in Calgary with her chosen daughter, Haley Elizabeth, born April 13, 1996. Haley came to Calgary from China in 1997 at the age of 10-1/2 months. Jeannie brought home a special little girl who loves her Nana dearly – the first grandchild for Jennie Innes. 

It certainly was good fortune that Jennie was teaching in Langdon because she found a special available gentleman, Cross Haswell Crowe, whom she encouraged to come to Canmore to work for her father at the dairy. Cross moved to Canmore in 1943 and the next thing we knew, he was courting Thelma Louise and in 1945, married her. Thelma and Cross had two daughters; the first, Wendy Louise, was born September 28, 1948. Wendy went on to become a teacher like her aunt and married Victor George Batycki on July 8, 1972. In 1973, Wendy and Vic returned to Canmore where they purchased the Bow Valley Motel from Wendy’s parents, Thelma and Cross, who were retiring. Wendy and Vic operated the Bow Valley Motel until 1979. They had two children. Shawn Charles Batycki, born December 12, 1973, currently resides in Canmore and is a journeyman electrician for Triple H Electric. Krystal Dawn Louise Batycki was born April 10, 1977, and has just graduated in Edmonton with a Bachelor of Kinesiology and is now teaching school in Japan. Wendy and Vic still reside in Canmore where Vic operates Vic Batycki Contracting Limited, and Wendy and Vic own and operate Century 21, Nordic Realty. 

Thelma and Cross’s second daughter, Diana Lee, was born May 8, 1951. She has lived in Canmore all of her life. On January 20, 1973, she married Ernie Eugene Lakusta who, at that time, was employed by Canmore Mines Limited. When Canmore Mines closed on July 13, 1979, he started his own welding company for ten years and then went on to Continental Lime. Diana worked at the Canmore school as a secretary for five years and then at the Canmore Hospital as a nurse’s aide for five years. They are now the owners of Esso Plus Foods. They had two sons, Michael John and Derek Eugene. Michael lives in Canmore and operates a landscaping business and Derek lives in Calgary and does construction work for a movie company operating out of the city. We are wondering if Derek’s next step is Hollywood!

Cross worked for Cardo Marra’s grocery store and later as paymaster for Canmore Mines Limited. Cross and Thelma Crowe purchased the Bow Valley Motel in 1957. They eventually tore down the old log house, built a new home and a new motel, as well as Canmore’s first laundromat. While Cross worked at the mine, Thelma ran the motel and laundromat and raised their two daughters. Cross and Thelma devoted their lives to their community and their families. Cross was instrumental in getting the artificial ice at the Canmore Curling Rink in 1959. He was elected to serve on the first town council when Canmore was first incorporated and served a three-year term as councillor. He was a community-minded, soft spoken man who was a hard worker, and devoted family man who loved his family and friends. After his retirement in 1974, he helped his daughter and son-in-law build twelve units on the creek at the Bow Valley Motel; these units still border Policeman’s Creek today. Unfortunately, he died at 54 years of age in 1978. The heading on his obituary of the Hoodoo Highlander read, “Cross Crowe, everyone’s friend – now at rest”. Anyone who had the good fortune of knowing Cross knew that they didn’t make them any better. He was a true gem.

Although raising a family and running a motel and laundromat, Thelma, the youngest daughter of Lillian and Jack, always found time for St. Michael’s Anglican Church. She was President of the Anglican Church Women’s group for many years. She also organized the annual turkey supper and ran the church breakfast club for many years. She tested the Brownies, Cubs, Guides and Scouts for their skating badges. She was an avid curler, loved bridge and was a volunteer for the Canmore Hospital, Meals-on-Wheels, the Canmore Centennial Committee, Canmore Recreation Centre and was, at one time, Chairman of the Seniors Bus Committee. For her community service, she was presented with the Woman of the Year Award by Beta Sigma Phi in 1984. Cooking, well that was another thing; where there was smoke, there was dinner! One of Thelma’s fondest memories was holding the torch at the Canmore Nordic Centre in 1988 for the Olympics. This was a great honour for Thelma and the result of her speedskating success where for six consecutive years, 1936 – 1942, she was the Alberta Speed Skating champion. Her memorabilia for her skating are at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in Red Deer where she was inducted in 1976. In 1988, she passed away after a courageous battle with cancer after a very fulfilling life. Thelma was an inspiration to all that knew her and she will never be forgotten.

The Anderson family still lives on in Canmore. Jennie Innes, the oldest daughter of Lillian and Jack Anderson, still has her home beside the United Church on Main Street. Wendy and Vic Batycki and Shawn Batycki and Diana and Ernie Lakusta, as well as Michael Lakusta, still make Canmore their home. 

To close, the Anderson family would like to thank their families, friends and acquaintances for helping them live their lives, fulfilled with magical moments, laughter, and many fond memories.

Vic, Krystal, Wendy and Shawn Batycki

Thelma Crowe holding Olympic torch

Lillian Anderson

Jennie Anderson, brother Alex Anderson

Jack Anderson in front of Bow Valley cabins

Alex Anderson, sons Alex and Richard


In Canmore Seniors at the Summit, ed. Canmore Seniors Association, 2000, p. 3-7.

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