Remember key Pitt Meadows figures

Pioneers have left us in the last year, they'll all be missed

As the Pitt Meadows Museum’s year draws to a close, staff and volunteers are preparing for two weeks of well-earned vacation.

During our time-off, some of us will reflect on the recent passing of three people who all contributed so much to the development of the museum and the non-profit society that has overseen it for more than 30 years.

On Nov. 4, Grant ‘Red’ Brown passed away.  Mr. Brown spent thousands of hours working on the artifacts and the interiors and exteriors of the various sites the museum has occupied over the years.

The exhibit cases he constructed are still an integral part of the Old General Store site of the present Museum.

His organization of engine shows at the museum will also be remembered in the community, and the countless hours he spent with his small corps of volunteers, and preparing the Hoffmann and Son site for opening in 2001 will always be remembered by the museum.

On Nov. 9, Sieb Swierstra quietly passed away. Most Pitt Meadows residents will remember him as the face of Remembrance Day in Pitt Meadows.  Still others will remember him for his years on council. At the museum, we also remember him for his patient explanations about diking and the Pitt Polder area, his recent help with the museum’s “Hailing from Holland” discovery box, and for his commitment to ensuring the accuracy of the listing of Pitt Meadows war dead on the cenotaph.

Finally, on Nov. 15, Harvey McEwen passed away in White Rock.  In the late 1970s and 1980s, Harvey was the owner of the building that is now the home of the museum and, for a period of time, he was also the president of the museum society.

It was Harvey who had the General Store site designated a heritage structure in 1988, guaranteeing its preservation for public enjoyment for the decades to come.

The community also lost Jackie Sharpe at the end of June.

Mr. Sharpe was one of the best reference resources this museum had and always willingly provided information to help with exhibits, research requests and simple curiosity.

All of them will be missed.

May all our readers have a peaceful and very Merry Christmas.

Leslie Norman is curator of Pitt Meadows Museum and Archives.

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