Millie Fisher

Millie Fisher, March 1942
Written by Canmore Museum

I was born in Calgary, Alberta, the third daughter of Raymond Powers, and Margaret Campbell Powers. 

My father was an American who served in the Canadian Army during World War I. He was brought up in Winthrop, Washington, a small town in the Methow Valley in the central part of Washington State. When I was twenty-one years old, I was given the choice of being a Canadian or American citizen.

My mother was born in Scotland and emigrated to Canada in 1906 when she was six years old. Her parents, William and Elizabeth Campbell, had five sons and one daughter when they moved from Scotland to a homestead in Saskatchewan. Some years later, they moved to an Alberta farm not far from Drumheller. At one time, they ran a small restaurant in Calgary and my mother met my father there.

My father, mother, my two sisters and I lived on an Alberta farm until 1928 when we moved to Winthrop, Washington, The main industry in Winthrop at that time was the production of lovely rich cream, produced by herds of light brown Jersey cows. Each farm had a cream separator to separate the cream from the skim milk. The cream was placed in ten-gallon cans, put out beside the road to be collected by the creamery and made into butter. The skim milk was either fed to the pigs or poured into the creek. The second industry was growing lovely red, juicy apples. Having been prairie kids, we enjoyed them very much. 

The years spent in Winthrop were happy years for us, and getting grade “A” in all our classes seemed so easy. I can remember my mother driving a model-T Ford and how we had to jump out to open gates, closing them after Mom drove through. We were in cattle country! 

In 1933, we moved to Oliver, British Columbia. This was quite a change for my sisters and me, one we didn’t enjoy. Our school grades dropped; Canadian schools were different and ahead of us in some subjects. My youngest sister, born in Washington, was just six months old when we moved back to Canada. 

Oliver was hot! The heat and irrigation produced an abundance of luscious fruit. It was a great place for gardens – and weeds! We were able to spend long hours swimming in Tuc-ul-Nuit Lake and the small, clear river. In late summer, we worked in the cannery or fruit-packing house to earn money for textbooks and school clothes. 

After high school, I went with my sister to Calgary, where I worked at housework and packing eggs. I met Walter Erickson who was a soldier stationed at Currie Barracks. Walter wrote me steadily for five years, after he was transferred from Calgary. I enrolled in a Machine Shop Practice course, part of the war effort. When I finished, a girl friend and I were sent to Hamilton, Ontario, to work making anti-aircraft guns – huge guns! We wore purple coveralls and kerchiefs over our hair. After about a year in Hamilton, I joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corp. After Basic Training, I attended the Technical School in Toronto to increase my skills at typing and shorthand, and to take Army Administration. I was then posted to Mewata Armories in Calgary, where I worked in Personnel Selection. This was a happy time in my life, full of good friends and carefree days. 

In 1945, Walter Erickson returned from overseas and we were married on October 6, in Calgary. I received a discharge from the CWAC under the clause – “to set up a bona fide home for an ex-service man”. We lived in Canmore for about a year, during which time I worked as a cook in a camp set up north east of Banff – in the woods! I cooked for fourteen men, including Walter, who were cutting timber. 

We later moved to Calgary where our son Jim was born. When Jim was nine months old, I had very serious surgery which left me unable to care for Jim, so we moved to Oliver, B.C., where my mother and grandmother helped me until I was strong again. Walter bought into partnership in the Oliver Garage – a thriving business with a car dealership. I worked for Trump Limited, a busy place also, that manufactured the “Trump Giraffe”, a mobile aerial platform.

In 1956, we moved back to Canmore. In 1957, our daughter, Margaret, was born. In 1958, we purchased Midway Motel, garage and restaurant from Walter’s father. The operation proved to be a lot of work. After running the business for thirteen years, Walter and I divorced. I went to work in Banff for Dr. Barker, a dentist. In 1975, I married George Fisher. After working for Dr. Barker for nine years, I retired.

My son, Jim Erickson, spent three years as an RCMP officer and then decided on higher education. After completing a business administration course at SAIT, Jim worked for Shell Oil starting as a purchasing agent. On April 3, 1976 Jim and Leslie Gates of Calgary were married. Jim and Les have two children: Jamie Lee, currently attending Mount Royal College, and Mark in grade Eleven.

My daughter, Margaret Erickson, attended SAIT also, taking secretarial arts. Marg worked for Petrocan in Calgary before and after marrying Andy Suurallik, a civil engineer on August 30, 1986. Marg and Andy have two children: Benjamin and Jessica. They were living in Calgary when Burnco transferred Andy to Canmore. Marg, Andy and family were very happy about that, loving a small town and the recreation in the area.

I have since enjoyed all the activities offered by the Canmore Seniors Association and Canmore in general – retirement is great! 


Millie Fisher, March 1942

In Canmore Seniors at the Summit, ed. Canmore Seniors Association, 2000, p. 83-85.

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