Robert and Kathleen Beynon Family

by Kathleen Beynon Page 292 More Big Hill Country 1945-1980

Robert George Beynon “Bob” was the third child of Sophie and Jack Beynon, both Welsh immigrants. He was born March 17, 1926, in the big brick house at the east and of town. Alistair Moore and his wife Dolly lived there for many years.

The Beynons lived on the farm on the Horse Creek road until the girls, Molly and Ada, had to go to school They then bought 21 acres west of town that had to be the site of the old brickyard (now the community of Glenbow) and lived there until the girls finished school. They moved back to Horse Creek and Bob rode his horse to Cochrane to finish his education. 

When he was eight years old his mother took him to Wales for a visit. On the boat, he would slip away to another deck where passengers taught him to play crib and poker. As a teenager he would work for local farmers doing whatever had to be done: plowing, haying or stooking. After chores, he’d ride to Cochrane to play hockey or baseball. 

My Uncle Johnny Arnell umpired and coached hockey games and on occasion, I got to go with his family to the games. That’s how I met Bob. I was born and raised south of the river in the Brushy Ridge district. Our family of five rode the two and a half miles to Brushy Ridge School until we reached grade nine. Then we were sent to Calgary. The School Division paid our tuition but board and room were not included so we stayed with our Grandmother Sarah Wallace in the Killarney district. 

In November 1950 Bob and I were married. We moved to the Horse Creek farm while Sophie and Jack, Bob’s parents, moved into the little brick house on the Cochrane property. During our two years on the farm, our first daughter, Elaine, was born. While I was in the hospital a terrible hailstorm went through the district, breaking windows and destroying roofing. 

In 1951 Bob got a job with Shell Oil at Jumping Pound. He had to drive to Cochrane to catch a ride or take his turn driving. Bob’s first job with Shell was loading sulphur which was trucked into Cochrane from the Jumping Pound plant and dumped by the tracks. He was one of those loading it on boxcars with a front-end loader. It was a terrible job, the sulphur made his eyes red and sore. And it was smelly. Anything silver in the house turned black from his clothes and hands. Bob worked for Shell for 25 years and, after retiring, did some consulting. He went to Little Rock, Arkansas to start a plant there and later did the same thing in Peace River. After that, he tried real estate and sold houses in Cochrane and Exshaw. 

In the beginning, I was left on the farm with no vehicle and no phone, in an un-insulated drafty old house. Later we moved to town to the little house by the cenotaph and it was here that four more children were added to the family: Cathy, Dwight, Nancy, and Trevor. With only two bedrooms and a postage-size kitchen in the 900 square foot house we decided to build. 

In 1961 Bob’s mother was still in the little brick house and we built beside her. In 1979 our land was annexed into Cochrane, but we kept two lots. However, the brick house was demolished. I saved bricks for a flowerbed and each child got some of them. 

In 1979, with Dorothy Anderson, I started a fabric store, “The Fab Bric House”, located in the Old Chapman house and later moved to the Westwinds Shopping Centre. We carried on with it for 14 years. 

As a youth Bob played hockey and ball and rode as an outrider for Gordon Dingwall. We both golfed and curled. We loved to dance and went to one almost every weekend. We travelled to Australia, Hawaii and the British Isles. We had many parties in our new home after hockey, curling games and on New Year’s Eve. 

Bob died on April 27, 2005. The Horse Creek farm is sold, but Trevor is still currently living there. I continue to live in our house in Glenbow. Elaine lives in Calgary, Cathy in Peace River, Dwight in Dartique, and Nancy in Devon. Our family has grown to include 12 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

Photos courtesy CHAPS Archive

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