MANY ME­MORIES FOR PI­O­NEER COU­PLE

The Prince George Citizen - - Front Page - KATHY NADALIN

Howard Foot, the youngest of the four sons of Claude Foot, was born in 1939. He was raised and ed­u­cated in Prince Ge­orge and re­mem­bers the gravel streets be­fore the board side­walks were in­stalled.

This pi­o­neer fam­ily, for which Foot Park was named, has close to 115 years of his­tory in the city of Prince Ge­orge. Mem­bers of the Foot fam­ily are still here and con­tinue to be busy giv­ing back to their com­mu­nity.

Howard’s fa­ther Claude ar­rived in Prince Ge­orge in 1906. He worked for the Hud­son Bay Com­pany and came from Ques­nel by a scow that was pulled up river by abo­rig­i­nals; the trip took 17 days.

Fol­low­ing that ad­ven­ture, he worked for the provin­cial govern­ment for 33 years. He mar­ried Kate Ren­wick and they raised their four boys here.

Howard said, “We used to sit on the fence around the big hole in the area across from the North­ern Hard­ware. We threw rocks into the hole and checked out the girls as they went by.

“When my Dad re­tired from the govern­ment, he bought a sec­ond­hand store and I went to work part-time for him. I also worked at the Col­i­seum do­ing main­te­nance work for Bill Woy­cik. My wife Jean­nette was work­ing part-time in the con­ces­sion stand at the time, but we never had the op­por­tu­nity to meet. She also worked as a ju­nior fash­ion con­sul­tant at the Bay.”

Af­ter high school, Howard went into the en­ter­tain­ment pro­mo­tion busi­ness. He started out with the bless­ing of the city coun­cil of the day with a pro­gram called Teen Town. The idea was to in­volve teenagers in com­mu­nity events.

Howard said, “I was con­tacted by a U.S. pro­moter and I pro­moted en­ter­tain­ment con­certs all around B.C. for rock and roll stars like Gene Vin­cent, Buddy Knox and Ed­die Cochran. I also pro­moted car shows, box­ing matches, teen dances and an aquatic show at the old out­door pool on Wa­trous Street. It was an ex­cit­ing time even if I did lose my shirt.

“Af­ter all that, I thought I should get out and see some of the world. I ven­tured to New Zea­land, but a year later I de­cided it was time to go home. I wrote to my girl­friend Trudi Nel­son and said, ‘I love you, let’s get mar­ried, send me $500.’ She did and we were mar­ried in 1963. We raised two chil­dren – Reg and Re­nee. We were mar­ried for over 30 years when, at the age of 52, Trudi passed away sud­denly due to an aneurism.”

Howard worked in ad­ver­tis­ing at CKPG for eight years (one year in ra­dio and seven years in tele­vi­sion). He then spent 20 years work­ing for Ron East at ra­dio sta­tion CJCI. Dur­ing that time a work­mate in­tro­duced him to Jean­nette DeWalt.

Jean­nette was born in 1945 in Prince Al­bert, Sask. When she was nine months old, her par­ents moved to High Prairie, Alta. When she was seven, her par­ents and an­other fam­ily moved to Prince Ge­orge to look for work. Jean­nette still re­mem­bers the road trip through the Pine Pass. The con­struc­tion crew was still work­ing on the new road and had to tow cars through part of it with a Cat.

She grad­u­ated from high school and worked at var­i­ous jobs un­til she found the per­fect job with CP Air in 1974. Over the years, she worked in ticket sales, reser­va­tions, air­port op­er­a­tions, bag­gage, check in and at the board­ing gate. She moved to the re­gional car­rier Cana­dian Air­lines and re­tired in 2002. Jean­nette has one daugh­ter Tracey and she helped raise four girls: Wende, Lana, Natalie and Nicki.

Good Morn­ing Prince Ge­orge was a daily cof­fee shop news­pa­per that Howard bought and ran for five years be­fore sell­ing and re­tir­ing once again.

Jean­nette and Howard were mar­ried in 1996. They have a blended fam­ily of 12 grand­chil­dren who ba­si­cally grew up at Nukko Lake. Jean­nette laughed and said, “When the grand­chil­dren would come to visit, they would ask if they could bring along their six cousins. They al­ways as­sured me that I would not have to do any­thing ex­cept cook.

“We used to take them rasp­berry pick­ing so they could make jam. They made such a mess and would tri­umphantly say ‘isn’t it nice how things go so fast when you have help’ and then they would go out­side to play while I cheer­fully cleaned up. As soon as they had all gone home, we sat down for a hard-earned rest while we rem­i­nisced about all the fun we had with them.”

Howard started the Nukko Lake Wa­ter Ski School in 1979. He is cred­ited with be­ing the first pro­moter of wa­ter ski­ing in Prince Ge­orge. Word got around and peo­ple who had never seen the sport be­fore came out to the lake just to watch what looked like Howard walk­ing on wa­ter.

His wa­ter ski school be­came the train­ing ground – or should I say the train­ing lake – for many fu­ture wa­ter skiers. It was a great fam­ily sport and many par­ents got in­volved and not only sup­ported it but be­came judges at lo­cal events. Af­ter 35 years, Howard left the school to Reg and Brian to run.

He said, “We turned out many good skiers. Back then my son Reg, nephew Brian and daugh­ter Re­nee all wanted to go to the B.C. Sum­mer Games. Reg and Brian wanted to com­pete. Re­nee wanted to com­pete, but also went there to check out the boys. All three of them be­came great on the skis and we are cer­tainly proud of them.

“I was 75 years old the last time I was up on wa­ter skis. It was not a pretty sight.”

Howard skied com­pet­i­tively and won nu­mer­ous medals at the Kelowna Re­gatta, the B.C. Provin­cials and the B.C. Sum­mer Games.

He was one of the first peo­ple in­ducted into the Prince Ge­orge Sports Hall of Fame, in the sport build­ing clas­si­fi­ca­tion, for his con­tri­bu­tion to the sport of wa­ter ski­ing both provin­cially and for our city.

Howard served on the For­est Expo board for nearly 10 years and served on the Sports Hall of Fame selec­tion com­mit­tee for many years. He serves on the board of the North Cen­tral Se­niors As­so­ci­a­tion and en­joys all the ac­tiv­i­ties and the fun peo­ple at their se­nior cen­tre.

Jean­nette helps out with the Arthri­tis So­ci­ety. Be­cause of her rheuma­toid arthri­tis there are now lim­its on her vol­un­teer work and she vol­un­teers qui­etly in the back­ground.

Howard said, “We have done a lot of trav­el­ling around the world and right in our own back yard. Our last camp­ing trip was to Mount Rob­son where we watched the kayak­ers come over the falls.”

Jean­nette con­cluded by say­ing, “So far I have won the bat­tle with can­cer. What a jour­ney that was. A jour­ney that was made eas­ier be­cause of our great can­cer clinic and the won­der­ful peo­ple that work there and who care so much for the pa­tients.

“Prince Ge­orge is a great place to raise chil­dren and grand­chil­dren. We are look­ing for­ward to the next 20 years to see what is in store for Prince Ge­orge. Even be­fore that, we are look­ing for­ward to Jan­uary 2020 when our first great grand­child is due to ar­rive.”

CIT­I­ZEN PHOTO/HAND­OUT PHOTO

Jean­nette and Howard Foot at their Col­lege Heights home and on a Mediter­ranean cruise in 1997.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.