Ray and Marilyn Whittle family

pg 805 More Big Hill Country 2009

Raymond Lundy Whittle was born on January 10, 1932, at the Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary. He was the second son of Frank and Kay Whittle and attended school in Cochrane. As there was no Grade 12 in Cochrane Ray attended Mount Royal College in Calgary. 

Family was always important to the Whittles and Frank’s brother and sister Eva and their families celebrated many Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations in Cochrane.  Many family picnics were enjoyed by all. 

After Ray graduated, he and his best friend Bill Beynon went to work at the Royal Bank in Cochrane. Mildred Camden was working there at the time and Ray recalls that she got Ray and Bill to carry her window boxes in every night and out each morning. 

Being in the banking business meant moving and Ray was transferred to Blackie and High Prairie. When he was told his next move would be Stettler he decided he had had enough banking and would go to University and become a Chartered Accountant. 

In 1956, Ray’s father died of a heart attack, so Ray and his brother Dave decided to take over the family business, Whittle Implements. Ray had two more years to complete his Commerce degree and because school was in session during the “down season” at the business he decided to complete his education. He was awarded the Hudson Bay Company’s Gold Medal in Commerce and offered a job with Hudson Bay Oil and Gas but he decided to come home and work with Dave. Ray has always loved animals, especially dogs, and enjoys having them in his life. As a child their pet dog was Trixie. Other animals in his life have been Cindy, a toy Pomeranian that lived for sixteen years; Button, a cockapoo cross that looked like a Schnauzer and lived to be fourteen; Tarley a Manx cat that lived to be twenty; and presently a pampered three-year-old cockapoo, Sandy. Even when Ray and Dave were in business together, dogs were welcomed into the shop. 

Ray has always been interested in sports. He curled and was treasurer of the Cochrane Curling Club for 30 years. A special memory was the year Brian Peverell, Harvey Hogarth, Jr., Jay Bowlen, and Ray won the Banff/Cochrane District and curled in the South Alberta Playdowns. He enjoyed golfing and also fishing in the Bow River with his father and Bob Hogarth, but particularly with his cousin Lloyd Peppard. As kids Ray and Dave played hockey and as adults played baseball with the Cochrane All Stars. Teammates were the Hogarths, Bill Beynon, Bob Beynon, Bill and Bruce Boothby, Roy Downs, Dave Morris and Ken Raby. 

Marilyn Viola Woods was born in the Holy Cross Hospital, Calgary on January 30, 1943 to George and Viola Woods. Her early childhood was spent in Calgary, their home being in West Hillhurst. She attended school at Bow View and Queen Elizabeth. The family attended Knox United Church and Marilyn helped in the Beginner Department Sunday School. She loved children and was willing to help with any small children. 

In 1955, George announced they were moving to Cochrane. It was exciting and terrifying but Marilyn settled in. She became active in C.G.I.T., Sunday School and singing in the Choir. She spent many happy hours with her friends Linda Hansen (Steeves), Sharon Phipps (Morton) and Dianne Klassen (Weekes). She remains a steadfast friend with Linda to this day. 

During her school years, Marilyn was active in the Students Union as secretary, the School Library and a member of the Yearbook Staff. 

Whittle Implements 1960

Marilyn graduated in 1961 and was married to Ray Whittle on October 21, 1961. Bill Beynon was Ray’s best man. Newt Gilbert was the Master of Ceremonies and Jack Macdonell (Marilyn’s teacher) gave the toast to the Bride. The United Church Women (UCW) served the reception in the brand-new Christian Education Building of St. Andrews United Church. 

Marilyn continued her volunteer work at the church, leading C.G.I.T., teaching Sunday School, singing in the Choir, helping cater to banquets, organizing the Turkey Supper, and helping with church teas. 

1964 was an exciting year when Ray and Marilyn built a new house. On application for a mortgage from CMHC, they were told that they couldn’t have a full mortgage since the house would never have any resale value in Cochrane. 

They were also blessed with their first child, a daughter, Lisa Lorraine. Lisa attended school in Cochrane until Grade 11 and then went to Camrose Lutheran College for Grade 12 and her first year of University. She graduated from the University of Alberta in 1986 with an Honors Degree in Psychology. In 1990, she married Kevin O’Leary. She has spent time working as an Interior Decorator with her friend Sabine. She lives in Calgary. 

In May 1970, Ray and Marilyn adopted a second daughter, Melanie May. She also attended Andrew Sibbald School, Manachaban and Cochrane High School graduating in 1988. Melanie attended Mount Royal College in Calgary, seeking a degree in Social Work, then changed to education and graduated with her degree in 1993.

In January 1993, Melanie married Rob Wilke, a golf course superintendent. His profession took them to Osoyoos, British Columbia. They had a daughter, Anna Quinn Wilke in September 1996. In 2000, Rob transferred to Terrace, British Columbia and Melanie was offered a job at the Terrace Public Library as Children’s Librarian. She loves the job and doubts that she would ever return to teaching. In 2005, Rob and Melanie separated. She is taking her Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University in Edinburgh, Scotland. She will graduate in 2007. 

In 1973, Ray’s friend Neil Harvie built a tennis court at his place and asked Ray if he liked to play tennis. They spent many happy hours on that court. Ray continues to play every summer at Clear Lake, Manitoba, and every winter indoors in Calgary. 

Also in 1973, International Harvester decided to close all the small dealerships around the country and maintain only large dealerships in big cities. Ray and Dave continued to run Whittle Implements for 5 years. but Ray had always wanted to spend more time with the insurance business so, in 1978, he bought the insurance business from Whittle Implements and moved into the new Cochrane Valley Shopping Centre. Over the years his secretaries included, Bonnie Peppard (his cousin), Yvonne Bowlen, Bernice Buckler Klotz and Chris Stecyk. Ray sold the business in 1996. 

In 1979, Marilyn took on the job of Church Secretary at St. Andrews United Church, when Rev. Doug Powell was the Minister there. She really enjoyed working in this capacity but also continued working as a volunteer in the Sunday School, UCW, Choir, etc. At this time she took a course mentored by Helen Stover Scott called Education for Ministry, from the University of South Sewanee, Tennessee, U.S.A. 

Ray was asked to work as the Church Treasurer and did the job for eight years. In 1984, they left St. Andrews and attended Symons Valley for two years and the Anglican Church for 15 years. They now enjoy St. Thomas United in Calgary. Their summer congregation is Minnedosa United, Manitoba. 

In 1980 her former teacher, Betty Lou Gilbert, gave Marilyn the gift of PEO. It became a wonderful part of her life. She assumed Chapter offices and in 1986 was elected to the Provincial Board as Treasurer. The theme for her convention in 1993 was “Joy”; indicative of the feelings she has for this group. She still is active in this Philanthropic Educational Organization. 


In 1982, Ray and Marilyn bought a cottage in Manitoba’s Riding Mountain National Park. Marilyn had spent every summer there as a child because her grandparents lived in Brandon, Manitoba. It has become a favorite place for all of the family. Ray and Marilyn spend five months there in the summer. Such a special place! 

In 2002, they sold the family home and bought a condo to accommodate this lifestyle. They return to Cochrane every winter.

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