By Chris Parker
January 30, 1954 was cold and Bill Arnold had been saying for months he needed something to keep him warm, but he did not go to the local hardware store to acquire ‘a heater’, instead he married the love of his life, Sylvia, now matriarch of a large and growing family. Consisting of five children, 15 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren with two more on the way – the family is spread across two provinces and Finland.
Bill’s pursuit of Sylvia included long bicycle rides across the Alberta prairie in the Wetaskiwin area and led to a marriage in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Their life journey wound through Crescent Spur (20 years) before settling in McBride nearly 35 years ago. While Bill is remembered for his years involved with the Ambulance Service, Sylvia is remembered for her years as Secretary at the local High School. In more recent years Bill has continued to be a supporter of the community by being an active photographer, member of our Chamber of Commerce, involved with EV Free Church, and as the local framer of artwork and special memories.
At the pot luck dinner held in their honour on Saturday February 1 at EV Free Church, their eldest daughter Lori acted as mistress of ceremonies and kept feeding the crowd with the memories of this long and happy marriage. In turn others sent congratulatory messages and poetry from across Canada and beyond to fill in some of the blanks and explain why the photograph memory albums on display were so full. Amongst the memories, Bill and Sylvia with all five of their children canoeing and on hikes and picnics together. Special guests included former EV Free Minister Dan Carlaw and his family who led the Grace and Thanks(giving) for their long marriage.
With three of their grandchildren standing in for their wedding party and several of their other family members adding comments (as well as helping with food, beverage and other details) the 80 guests enjoyed a light hearted trip down this memory lane as they celebrated this very special occasion. When asked how their marriage had lasted so long Bill replied, “By praying for each other and our family every single day.”