By Marilyn Smith
April, 2020

Born in 1961, the third child of Mert and Jessie.  When I was just over one, we moved from Binscarth to the house on Bonny Avenue in Russell.  I went to Major Pratt School, graduating in 1979.

I was often referred to as “the stubborn one”. As a small child, I would often have temper tantrums and a story that my older siblings recall is one time while throwing a tantrum, they shook their heads and said “she’s gonna get it”. Dad would get the “board of education” out and I’d get my spanking. I think I was the only sibling that got the “board” as I was a good match for dad’s stubborness.  

Fond memories involved sharing a room with my big sister, playing with neighborhood friends like Lisa Burgess, Kathleen Thom and later on Donna Kalynuik.  Going for family sunday drives, walking back and forth to the Russell Arena for figure skating lessons, and the most magnificent sunsets looking out our front window on Bonny Avenue.  We had lots of family gatherings at Mom and Dads. They loved to entertain (the famous New Year’s Eve Breakfasts) and listening to the sing-alongs of Mom and Dad’s friends. Kathy practicing her piano lessons at 7:30 in the morning (not great memory).

I liked to babysit (for .25 cents per hour) and figure skate and my first job was at the Avalon Theatre in Russell.

Teenage years were lots of bush parties. Fun with friends and driving around in Stan’s (David Stanchuk’s) Banana Biscane. The hours we drove around and smoked and drank coffee at the Russell Inn were many.  In grade 10 I met Bruce Hutton and we dated throughout high school.

Following high school I moved to Winnipeg and attended Hertzing College for Legal Secretary.

I worked for a few firms and in 1982 I moved to Calgary to be with my then boyfriend Tom Douglas. We got married in 1982 and Matthew was born in 1983 at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary.  We moved several times with residences in Calgary, Binscarth, Iles des Chanes, Brandon. In 1985 Abigail Nicole was born in Russell.  We were living in Binscarth at the time. We moved an old abandoned house in from the country and totally renovated the house.  Our marriage didn’t last and we divorced in around 1989.

I got a place in Russell and worked at several jobs trying to make ends meet. I worked selling clothing at home parties, I worked at the liquor store in Russell. I also worked as a cook in a Senior Care Home. I worked for a nun who was head cook and she was kinda mean but had a soft spot for me.  Eventually my break came when I was hired by Joan Clement to work at the Department of Agriculture “Ag Office” as a secretary.  I started part time.  After a few years I met Dennis Smith at a work conference in Brandon. We dated briefly and he asked me to marry him. I applied and received a full time job with the Department’s Soils and Crops Branch in Carman.  We moved there and in June 1991 were married in Russell. We bought our first house on 4th Street in Carman and lived their until 2006 when we built a house on 6th Avenue SE.

Married Tom Douglas in 1981 while living in Calgary (divorced in 1988)
Married Dennis Smith in 1991 while living in Carman.

Matthew Thomas (1983)
Abigail Nicole (1985)

Abby married Michael Wallin in 2009. They live in Minnesota. Their twins were born in October 2010.

Kyler Jeremie (2010)
Blake Michael (2010)