Looking back - 1988: Turtle River Superintendent honoured at dinner



Turtle River Superintendent Steve Gingera accepts a gift to honour his retirement at a dinner held in McCreary on June 3, 1988.

By Cassandra Wehrhahn

Neepawa Banner & Press

80 years ago


June 21, 1938

How the prairie west has taken over the job of supplying its own petroleum needs is one of the most recent stories in national development and was told recently at a session of the Tariff Board.

F.G. Gottle, Chief Auditor of the Alberta Board of Public Utilities Commissioners, said that until last year the west was almost wholly dependent on Montana for its supply of crude oil. In 1938 nearly 3,500,000 barrels of oil were imported from Montana.

Turner Valley came in as an oil field and prairie refiners discontinued Montana purchases to an extent that by the end of 1937 they were taking less than 5 percent of Montana purchases. In 1936 they had been taking more than half of it. Today, practically the only Montana oil which enters western Canada comes in as refined products.

Readjustment to meet this sudden transformation was no small task. It called for construction of pipe lines, reduction in railway freight rates, expansion of refineries and other activities.

Producers in Turner Valley benefitted by the enlarged market. Consumers over most of the prairie west benefitted by sharply reduced prices for light petroleum products.

On this year’s consumption of gasoline distillate, and other petroleum fuels, they will save at least $5,500,000.

70 years ago


June 24, 1948

Kelwood: Miss Bernice Hearn, Winnipeg, left last Friday evening for South Africa, where she will spend the next year in the exchange teaching plan.

Between April 1 and June 14, 1948, the Neepawa district had 3.10 inches of rainfall as compared with 1.69 inches in 1947 and the normal of 4.3 inches.

For the first time The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Band is making a tour of the western provinces on a recruiting drive. We had hoped that Neepawa would be included but as their schedule is planned, Clear Lake is the nearest point at which residents of this district will have this opportunity of seeing and hearing this colorful group.

60 years ago


June 20, 1958

Edrans United Church was the scene of a pretty wedding Saturday, June 14 at 2:30 p.m. when Mary Margaret, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Wiebe of the Sinclairville district, became the bride of Norman William McCullough, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. WM. McCullough of Edrans.

Nelson M. Shoemaker, 47-year-old Liberal Progressive supporter, scored an easy victory in the Manitoba election. Making his first bid in the provincial field, he piled up an 893-vote majority over his nearest competitor.

50 years ago


June 1, 1968

Residents of the community were shocked this week to learn that the town’s major industry—the Canadian Salt Co. Ltd., plant— is to be closed down in about one year’s time. The salt industry has been a major industry in Neepawa since 1932.

It took only slightly more than one-half hour after closing of polls in Manitoba before the electors were informed that the Liberals under Pierre Trudeau had been returned to power with the first majority government for Canada since 1962.

Mrs. Mary Swiskoski of Neepawa has a lucky streak going. Last Thursday, Mrs. Swiskoski shared in the $2,500 major prize in the season’s second Parko— just as she had done May 23 in the first Parko of the year.

40 years ago


June 22, 1978

Carol Barber and Carey Henton of J.M. Young School in Eden were among the 30 provincial winners of a Cross Canada trip on the recent “Explore Your Heritage” contest. Their project, which earned them their win, was entitled, “Birnie Settlement”.

Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Hockin are pleased to announce the engagement of their children,

Lorraine Marie and Barry Rae. The wedding will take place Saturday, July 15, 1978. C.M. Merv of Drayson was elected president of the Manitoba Elks Association at their 51st provincial convention held at Lundar on June 16 and 17.

30 years ago


June 21, 1988

A retirement dinner and dance was held Friday, June 3 at the McCreary Community Centre in honor of Steve Gingera, Superintendent of Schools. Mr. Gingera has served the Turtle River

School Division No.32 for 21 years as Superintendent, setting, it is believed, a record of longevity among superintendents in the province, perhaps the nation. Steve served a total of 38 years in education.

Many came to wish him well for his impending retirement, among them representatives from Manitoba Association of School Business Officials, Manitoba Association of School Trustees, the Manitoba Department of Education, and the Deputy Premier of Manitoba, Glen Cummings.

John Kastrukoff, former Superintendent of Susan Valley School Division No.35, Ed Levandoski, Principal, Frances Ross, former Secretary-Treasurer of Turtle River School Division and Eltie Pearce, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees in roasting Mr. Gingera guided the delightful audience down memory lane, relating many hilarious stories from his colorful past.

The younger members of the Gingera family, daughters Dori, Donna, Lauri, and Carole and their escorts provided still further glimpses into the past with a brief and much appreciated slide presentation.

Presentation of gifts, some entertaining, alluding to Mr. Gingera’s love of fishing; some to be treasured; and some to be enjoyed in the tranquil future, were made on behalf of the Board of Trustees, the Local Teacher’s Society, the Principals of Turtle River School Division, and of all guests present. The “Girls From the Lake” roasted “Steve” poetically and then presented him things to delight a fisherman.

Anne Gingera’s contribution to her husband’s position was acknowledged by Yvette Leperre, board member, with a gift and warm words of appreciation. Steve’s mother, Helen Gingera from Dauphin and his niece and her husband, Karen and Rick Brad from Windsor, Ontario were present for the occasion.

Garry Smith, teacher at McCreary school, as Master of Ceremonies, presided with admirable aplomb and humour over the formalities which ended with the man being honored delivering “a few words” of his own. Mr. Gingera visibly moved by the affection and respect shown to him during the proceedings, expressed the thought that “if I had known that I was that good, I might never have quit.”

A very ample and delicious dinner, catered by Lourette Hendelbourck, preceded the formal part of the evening, and the dance, with lively music provided by the final part in the program, which was, despite the mid-summer heat, a most enjoyable event.

20 years ago


June 22, 1998

The town will spend $110 over the next two years to maintain the gravesite of Lewis Hickman, who died when the ocean liner Titanic sank 87 years ago.

But the move, to cash in on the interest generated by the hit movie Titanic, didn’t meet with unanimous approval.

“I feel we’re pretty cheap when you have to ride to fame on the shirttails of some poor soul who happened to drown on the Titanic,” said councillor Ken Hermiston. “It’s cheap and degrading.”

Councillor Bob Durston said he was less concerned about the money being spent to maintain the grave, than he was on the precedent it was setting.

“There are over 4,800 graves and every one represents personal history in our area,” said

Durston. “I’m really concerned about the precedent.”

“Once you do something, it never reverts back to where it used to be.”

Councillor Ron Forsman said he doubted looking after the Hickman grave for two years would set a precedent. The Riverside Cemetery is also home to world-renowned author Margaret Laurence , who was born and raised in Neepawa.

Her grave is not maintained at her wish and that of her family. Forsman said survivors of the Hickman family living in England aren’t averse to having tourists visit the grave, but don’t want to spring for perpetual care. That costs around $600.

“Although we don’t want to use Neepawa cemetery to be a tourist attraction, if it’s low-key I have no problem with it,”said Forsman. “I’m in favor of doing anything to put Neepawa on the map.”

In addition to planting flowers on the Hickman grave local Historian Cecil Pittman (who writes the Press’ Looking Back column) plans to map the location of well-known graves at Riverside Cemetery one month after the sinking of the Titanic on April 5, 1912.

The name of Hickman’s brother Leonard also appears on the grave, although his body was never recovered from the icy Atlantic.

10 years ago


June 23, 2008

Mark Kerkowich of the Neepawa Tigers Track and Field team has been named the Tri-Star Rural High School athlete of the week.

At the Provincial Rural Track and Field Championships in Dauphin, Kerkowich was a triple gold medalist as a member of the senior boy’s medley relay team , 4x400m and 4x100m with times of 3:53.33, 3:49.95 and 46.95 respectively.

Then the following weekend at MILK Track and Field Championships in Winnipeg, his senior boy’s relay team finished with a silver in the medley, bronze in the 4x400m and gold in the 4x100m, with times of 3:51.38, 3:46.82 and 46.06 respectively.

In his grade 12 year Kerkowich also maintains a 75 percent academic average, competes in golf, volleyball, baseball and hockey.