Labrador West Pi­o­neer: Gail Pike

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - Front Page - BY GARY SHAW

Gail Pike rep­re­sents the def­i­ni­tion of a Labrador West Pi­o­neer from ev­ery an­gle that you could pos­si­bly look at it from.

She ar­rived in Labrador West with her par­ents in Jan­uary of 1963 as Gail Shep­pard, a 15-year-old girl with Mom and Dad and two brothers, one older and one younger, Gor­don and Wayne. Her Dad had moved the fam­ily to Labrador for the work in the min­ing sec­tor from Spa­niards Bay, New­found­land.

In her first year in Labrador West, she fin­ished Grade 10 at the Mc­Manus School and went the fol­low­ing year to fin­ish Grade 11 at L.C.C. Things were dif­fer­ent in Labrador West in those early years. There were no roads in or out of Labrador West. The streets were cov­ered in snow dur­ing the long win­ters and were full of mud come spring.

Any fam­ily va­ca­tions out­side started with a train ride or a flight to Sept. Isle where they would con­tinue their travel to their ul­ti­mate des­ti­na­tion.

Although there was the sense of iso­la­tion, they made their own fun within the com­mu­nity. There was a Teen Cen­tre that pro­vided the lo­ca­tion for many nights of en­ter­tain­ment. Dances were held on a reg­u­lar ba­sis with live bands pro­vid­ing the mu­sic. The school not only pro­vided them with their ed­u­ca­tion, it also pro­vided a great lo­ca­tion for dances and so­cial­iz­ing on most Fri­day nights.

It was at one of these many dances that Gail met one of the band mem­bers, Aubrey Pike. As is so of­ten said, the rest was his­tory. Aubrey and Gail ended up as hus­band and wife and so their life’s jour­ney to­gether, be­gan.

Aubrey set up house­keep­ing and worked his whole ca­reer at the Iron Ore Com­pany of Canada while he and Gail raised their three chil­dren, Kirk, Kim­ber­ley and Kory. Kirk is still in Labrador West and Kim­ber­ley and Kory are both in Hal­i­fax. There are now four grand­chil­dren in Gail’s life, two boys and two girls.

Gail has been on her own since the pass­ing of Aubrey 15 years ago. Aubrey’s legacy has been the won­der­ful fam­ily he has left be­hind, and is af­fec­tion­ately re­mem­bered as “Mr. Soccer” through­out Labrador West and be­yond.

Gail’s con­tri­bu­tion to Labrador West has not missed a beat since her ar­rival all those years ago. She raised their fam­ily, a won­der­ful fam­ily that stand­ing on its own, has been a great ef­fort, very well done.

Now, for the rest of the story. Gail has given a life’s work, 25 years to the Coop Pre-School, groom­ing the chil­dren of our com­mu­nity in many of the nec­es­sary life skills that would serve them well on their jour­ney to adult­hood. It is a mo­ment of great pride for Gail as she walks through the mall from time to time, and is stopped by some of these kids — her kids — as adults with their own kids, and is in­tro­duced by them, to their chil­dren as their teacher, when they were young.

In the early years Gail played an im­por­tant role in Ladies Com­mu­nity Group, which met ev­ery Wed­nes­day night to en­joy do­ing crafts, hav­ing a lunch and so­cial­iz­ing.

Gail sat on the Coop Board for 25 years and is cur­rently sit­ting as the pres­i­dent of the New­found­land and Labrador Fed­er­a­tion of Co­op­er­a­tives. She has also been a sit­ting mem­ber of the Labrador West Polic­ing Com­mit­tee for 30 years. She is also a mem­ber of Crime Pre­ven­tion New­found­land and Labrador Com­mit­tee.

Gail is also and ac­tive and long term vol­un­teer and sup­porter of the Labrador West Food Bank.

When you add up the re­mark­able body of work that Gail has given to Labrador West, she is not only a Labrador West Pi­o­neer, but de­serves a huge thank you from our en­tire com­mu­nity.

GARY SHAW — SPE­CIAL TO THE AURORA

Gail Pike

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