Years 1989 -1998

A Brief History of the Dryden STO/RTO/ERO

Part Five: 1989 -1998

1989-1990 - John Pringle was elected District 35 President for 1989/90. An outing for lunch at the Country Kitchen in Kenora and stops at the Blue Heron and an art store were enjoyed by a dozen members in May. An outing to Sioux Lookout for lunch had taken place the previous fall. New retirees included Wilmer Errington, Bill Salonen, Herb Lindsay, Ruth Moore and Velma Neill. Condolences were sent to the family of Olive Reany, who passed away December 28, 1989. Total membership for District 35 was 39 (including 4 Associate Members).

1990-1991 - Keith Humphrey became the District 35 President for 1990/91. Total membership for District 35 stood at 53 (including 3 Associate Members). Six luncheons were held over the course of the year with an average attendance of 20 members. Venues included Kuppers, the Riverview Lodge, the Anglican Church, the Best Western and Ho Ho’s. Some members travelled to Kenora for lunch with Kenora STO/RTO/ERO members at Casey’s.

1991-1992 - Wilmer Errington was the President for District 35 for 1991/92. A letter from the Provincial Office dated October 23rd confirmed the appointment of Les McPherson to a two-year term as a member of the Provincial Standing Committee for Pension Concerns. In response to a request from Betty Hawke, a number of members submitted stories and anecdotes about school Christmas concerts and these were printed in the District 35 December newsletter.

1992-1993 - Wilmer Errington continued as the District 35 President for 1992/93. Monthly luncheons were held in various locations including a May luncheon at Huber’s. Total membership for District 35 remained at 50. Provincial STO/RTO/ERO President Mae Hill and her husband attended the June luncheon meeting. The December District 35 newsletter contained a number of articles about memories that members had of Christmases past.

1993-1994 - Betty Hawke took on the duties of President for 1993/94 as well as Newsletter Editor.

1994-1995 - Frances Pringle took over as President of District 35 STO/RTO.The June edition of the District 35 newsletter contained a number of members’ reminiscences of playground games and singing songs such as “Red Rover” and “Mother May I?” An article in the June newsletter was reprinted from the Kenora Miner and News about STO/RTO/ERO member Helen Stemerowicz winning a million dollars in the Western Canada Lottery. A large number of recently retired teachers became District 35 STO/RTO members, including Ray Nielsen, Brian Davidson, Diane Mason, Arlene Hyslop, Bernice Ferguson, Irene Sachowski, Rudy Hulina, Ellyn Bernier, Allan Best, Sharon McGregor, Bob Clark, Dave Benham, Rita Szabo, Bev Kondra, Yvette LaFleche, Hal Wilmering and Helen Semeniuk. Condolences were sent to the families of Rhoda Gamble, Harvey Woodring (husband of Hazel Woodring) who passed away in 1994 and Gordon Wood When Betty Hawke “retired” as newsletter editor with her last publication the December 1994 newsletter, Wilmer and Shirley Errington stepped up to the plate. The District 35 newsletter was christened “The Thirty 5th Estate” in June.

1995-1996 - Joan Hatch became the District 35 President. After years of trying to arrange a Safe Driving seminar for seniors, Winnie Coutts was able to have one take place, sponsored by the Canada Safety Council. Sybil Willard was recognized for her 25 years of dedication to STO/RTO, and Hank Parks was honoured for his 55 years in amateur wrestling by being presented with the Certificate of Merit in Sports by the Government of Canada and the Certificate of Sports Achievement by the Government of Ontario. In October he was inducted into the Northwestern Sports Hall of Fame in Thunder Bay in the “Builders’ Category”. New retirees welcomed into District 35 STO/RTO were Gerald Gannon, Gary Sobchuk, Mary Bortolot, Marlene Naylor, Dave Smith, Joanne Kohuch, Lorna Brownlee Liddle, Gayle Thompson, Marg Gill, Linda Lampshire, Garry Case and Randi Nielsen. Sybil Willard attended the 25th Birthday of the establishment of the Kenora (District 26) STO/RTO in September. Following the Christmas luncheon at St. Luke’s Anglican Church, monthly luncheons were slated for Riverview Lodge, Kuppers, Ho Ho’s, the Dryden Golf and Curling Club and Linnea’s Tea Room. Sybil Willard became the first member of District 35 to reach the age of 90 years on December 28th, 1995, after having taught from 1924 to 1930 and from 1948 to 1968 at Albert Street School. Rose Blair, Placement Co-ordination Service Manager, who is responsible for the waiting lists for 7 long term care facilities west of Thunder Bay, spoke at the April 1996 luncheon.

1996-1997 - Roy McComb took over the position of President for District 35 STO/RTO. New retirees joining District 35 STO/RTO included Rino Moretti, Donna Kennedy, Sally Rowat, Al Gill and John Borst. The formation of the Ontario College of Teachers meant that many retired teachers holding an Ontario Teacher’s Certificate were required to register with the College if they wished to retain their credentials for the purpose of supply teaching. By June of 1996, District 35 membership stood at 97, almost double what it was just six years previously. This number included new retirees in June 1997 of Gary Bates, Dave Hamilton and Jill Wilmering. Life Members of District 35 STO/RTO (those who had attained the age of 80 years) included Evelyn McKen, Grace Pollock, Anne Groves, Olivia Florence, Mona Clark, Hank Parks, Denise Andersen, Sybil Willard and Laura Howe. Travelling to Atikokan in April, 1997, to attend the inaugural meeting of District 1 Unit 2 were Roy McComb, Sharon McGregor and Velma Neill.

1997-1998 - Wayne McCallum became President of District 35 STO/RTO. Brian Davidson had an article printed in the June, 1997 edition of the District 35 newsletter about his involvement with the provincial Community Policing Committee, which is a volunteer committee that works directly with the O.P.P. and the R.C.M.P. on such projects as Neighbourhood Watch, Crimestoppers and the Rural Numbering System (for 911 call locations). He described his involvement in “Project Phonebusters” which targets those unscrupulous phoners (scam artists) who try to defraud seniors over the phone by offering “prizes” in exchange for money. Barbara Hampe joined the ranks of District 35 Life Members. During the course of the year, protests surrounding Bill 160 engaged many members in support of the teachers and the “85 Factor” became a permanent reality. Luncheon meetings with interesting guest speakers such as John Lyottier from Avenor, Dave Ward from the D.H.S. International Travel Group, Andrew Skene from the Dryden District Hospital Administration, Dr. Barry Armstrong from the Dryden District Hospital Surgical Staff and William Courtney Provincial STO/RTO President, drew many members – at times as many as 55 (almost half of the District 35 membership).