by Harvey Glanville
With the recent passing of Alice Glanville (April 28, 2015), the Boundary Country has lost a dedicated pioneer, lifetime educator and treasury of historical wealth.
Alice (nee Clark) was born in Midway 95 years ago, and spent her childhood in Greenwood, along with her seven siblings. Despite limited family resources, Alice was able to achieve her dream of becoming a teacher after attending Normal School in Vancouver. At the tender age of 19, her teaching career commenced in 1939 at the one-room Brown Creek School on the North Fork, the beginning of her influence as a lifetime educator in the Grand Forks area.
A desperate need for filling wartime jobs on the home front lured Alice away from her teaching assignment and she ended up in Montreal in 1941, spending the next two years working in a gun factory. With a youthful spirit for adventure, she took an opportunity during this time to tour the Maritimes on bicycle with a group of friends.
After her marriage in 1943 to James Glanville, Alice was committed to raising her family, which included three sons; Harvey, Ross and Clark. Life on the family dairy farm on the North Fork provided many interesting experiences, and, like many people of her generation, Alice learned to be self reliant.
In 1955 Alice resumed teaching and spent the next 25 years as teacher/librarian at Grand Forks Secondary School. During this period she returned to the University of British Columbia for seven years of summer school, receiving a Bachelor of Education degree in 1967. Balancing family, work, studies, and farm life required a special commitment and sacrifices were often made.
Alice retired from teaching in 1980 and turned her focus to community service.
This included 19 years as a trustee with the local school district (10 years as board chairperson) serving in numerous capacities both at the local and provincial levels. She gained a reputation for being thorough in preparation, assertive in debate, knowledgeable about issues, and well versed at trouble shooting.
Alice also assumed the role of marriage commissioner for 20 years, conducting wedding ceremonies in locations such as mountain tops, house boats, and ski hills.
Perhaps the most influential of Alice’s pursuits was her dedication to sharing and preserving the history of the Boundary Country. She and her husband, Jim, were instrumental in preparing much of the historical content that has been featured in the first 15 editions of the Boundary Historical Reports.
Alice’s historical journalism expanded with the publication of her first book, Schools of the Boundary, in 1991, chronicling a detailed history of 100 years of education in B.C.’s Boundary district.
In conjunction with Grand Forks centennial celebrations, Alice and Jim also co-authored two historical books. In the Shadow of Observation, written in 1987, takes the reader through a nostalgic journey of the community’s past, and Grand Forks … Where the Kettle River Flows, published in 1997, is a revelation of the life and times of the people and events that have carved their niche in the Sunshine Valley.
Alice’s community presence was also felt as a representative on the Boundary Health Council, a committed advocate and volunteer with the local public library, and a primary resource person for the Grand Forks Museum.
She received numerous tributes from different administrative levels, which included being granted Freedom of the City of Grand Forks in 1998, being inducted into the B.C. Historical Society as an honourary life member, and being awarded the Governor General’s Commemorative Medal for community service.
An interest in travel and learning more about the history, culture and politics of other parts of the world, took Alice on many memorable group excursions. This included extensive visits to the former Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China and numerous countries in South America. Alice and Jim travelled together throughout Canada, reaching its extremities in Newfoundland, Bella Coola on the west coast and Inuvik in the Arctic.
They also enjoyed touring extensively throughout British Columbia, most notably visiting more remote locations on back country roads.
Alice had a very reliable memory for individuals and events that crossed her path and she maintained contact with an extensive network of people whom she encountered during her lifetime. In 2011 she moved to Salmon Arm in order to be near family, but the Boundary was her domain, it was a place of deep pride, and Alice did her part to keep its heritage alive.
She has woven part of the fabric of this community, and will be missed by her family and friends.
A memorial celebration of Alice Glanville’s life is scheduled for 1 p.m. on May 30 at the Gospel Chapel.