Graves family gathers for reunion

Armstrong pioneers

  • Aug. 14, 2011 3:00 p.m.

Ken Graves

Special to The Morning Star

This past July long weekend, 127 descendants of the late Clifford and Maud (Moffatt) Graves, Percival & Edith May (South) Graves, and Bessie( Graves) and Thomas French, met for a family reunion at the Schubert Centre in Vernon.

The Graves family arrived in Armstrong, B.C. in the early 1900s from Westmorland Co., N.B. The family of Clifford Graves included Charlie, Nina Collis, Otis, Margaret Stevenson/Williamson, Herb, Laura  Flatekval, Warren, Betty Nichols, Cookie  Green,  Sam, and Marion Spelay/Barisoff.  Percivals’ daughter, Pam Cowie, and Linda McPike, granddaughter of Bessie(Graves) French, were also in attendance.

The majority of the family grew up in Armstrong but is now scattered across Canada, the U.S. and Great Britain. The last reunion was held in 1990 and since then there have been a number of deaths with only the youngest three children of Clifford remaining.

It was important to gather as many family members as possible so the generations could reconnect and in some cases meet for the first time.  In one case, two young women who were acquainted in their home town discovered they were actually second cousins when they recognized each other at the registration table!

The Schubert Centre prepared a wonderful buffet which was followed by entertainment from some of the talented members of this very musical family.  We also enjoyed dancing to the music provided by George Bensmiller, Gerry Creelman, original members of the band Good Company that Herb Graves and Doreen Creelman had been a part of before their passing, along with Bjorn Edblad, a recent addition. The band will be remembered by many in the valley, having played at numerous functions for more than 40 years.

Throughout the evening, a PowerPoint presentation prepared by Herb’s grandson-in-law, Nigel Sparling, gave us a nostalgic and sometimes humorous look at our ancestors past and present. The pictures were provided by many of the family members and sent in prior to the reunion.

Family trees prepared by Brandi Olson, Marion Barisoff and Linda McPike, were also on display.  Linda has done extensive research over many years, tracking her family back to 1470.

The weekend concluded with a continental breakfast on Sunday morning, again catered by the Schubert Centre. Many thanks to our photographer, Brenda Hala, who managed to get all of us on the stage, looking at her and smiling appropriately. Many thanks to Jack Gareb and the staff at the Schubert  Centre for the excellent  job  of catering the event.