Local man publishes Robson Valley anthology

The front cover photo of Mount Quanstrom, alludes to another topic covered in the book – local geology. / SUPPLIED

by EVAN MATTHEWS

A man raised in McBride has compiled some of the valley’s most historically compelling stories, including some his own.

Lloyd Jeck, 86, has just released his most recent book, Chips From My Axe.

Of the notable stories, Jeck mentions one story about a McBride man who left the village after loading his personal effects onto a wheelbarrow, and heading for the coast on the foot with his wife and 11 goats.

With his youngest daughter as his editor, Jeck dug deep into the Valley’s history, tracing some local families right back to England and learning about their journeys to the Valley.

Jeck describes the book as more of a compilation of the valley’s stories than it is telling of his own, saying the book is “a miscellany of history, nature and stirring practical wisdom.”

Having a member of the McBride RCMP marry into his family sparked an interest in researching specific RCMP members, Jeck says.

“I found two other members from his family, one being his father and the other being his uncle, who were also members of the RCMP,” says Jeck.

“It was through their family name I contacted the RCMP Veterans Association, and found a compelling case history in the Yukon (I’ve re-told),” he says.

Born in 1931, Jeck lived in McBride for the next 48 years of his life. Beginning life during Canada’s Great Depression in an isolated rural environment, Jeck says the Depression undoubtedly contributed to his character.

Jeck ultimately left McBride in the fall of 1979 following the death of his 17-year-old son, one of four children, he says.

“You just have to take the punches as they come, I guess,” says Jeck, reminiscing about the joyous highs and the tragic lows he’s experienced in his life.

The event was so traumatic for Jeck he found himself unable to cope, never mind work, and he left his business due to the physical and emotional strain.

After moving around B.C. for a number of years, Jeck’s family settled in Clearwater.

Over the years, Jeck says he’s put together articles on certain topics, sometimes submitted them to newspapers. However, a lot of the “practical wisdom” in his book comes from the topics he’s researched over his life, he says.

Jeck’s oldest son, Neil, also contributed to the book with some cowboy poetry, Jeck says.

“We’ve included three of his poems, and one of his poems actually opens the book,” he says, noting his son was always good with words.

Neil was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, and has only a few days to live. It was important to Jeck to get Neil a copy of the book in his hands, he says.

“You just have to take the punches as they come, I guess,” says Jeck, reminiscing about the joyous highs and the tragic lows he’s experienced in his life.

Having written two previous books — In the Shadow of the Peaks: Rocky Mountain Tales (2000), and British Columbia Trails Heading North (2011) — Jeck says Chips From My Axe (2017) will be his last book.

“I’m a caretaker at home and it takes quite a bit of time,” says Jeck.

The book can be purchased from the Whistle Stop Gallery in McBride for $18.95, or online through Jeck’s own website.

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