Smithers has another centenarian.
Pearl Ellen Wall was born in Smithers Sept. 22, 1920, to pioneer parents, Addie Hann (Bannister) and Ernie Hann in a tarpaper shack on Broadway Ave. She had two older siblings: Winnie and Wana.
Addie and Ernie met around Vernon, BC where they found out about the Bulkley Valley and with the Bannister family travelled to what was to become Smithers. Smithers had become the terminus for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and jobs were opening up. Ernie and Addie were the first couple who were married in the old Anglican Church in Smithers. Pearl’s oldest sister, Wana, was the first white child born in Smithers.
Pearl married Alton Garrett Wall (Al) August 3, 1940, in the old United Church on Broadway. Alton (Al) became an electrician and they started their life together in Wells, B.C. where Al was working in the Wells Gold Mine.
They moved back to Smithers and Al started his career as a electrical contractor. Later the business developed and grew and became Wall Electric Ltd.
Meanwhile, Pearl and Al had 7 children: Leona, Joan, George, Betty, Barbara, Jerry and Colleen – spanning 1944 to 1960. During those years, Pearl was kept busy raising the children in a house on Aldous Street where the Smithers Town Office is now. The Wall Family had wonderful times with many neighbors on Alfred Street including the Bovills, Aitchisons, Smiths, Perrys, McCammons, and Adomeits.
There was a brief time when Al wanted to move to Phoenix, Arizona, for his health, so he packed up his family and emigrated in 1958. After three years, the family moved back to Smithers and resumed their life in the beautiful Bulkley Valley. Sadly, Al passed away in 1972, leaving Pearl to raise her youngest children, Jerry and Colleen.
Pearl loved gardening, baking, knitting, harvesting and canning, volunteering for the Fall Fair, and socializing with friends and family. In her retirement years, she spent many wonderful times in her cabin on Francois Lake with her partner of 25 years, Larry McGinnis.
Pearl now resides in the Meadows and loves to watch hockey on TV. Her favorite team is the Canucks. She still enjoys the political scene and still has her opinions on current affairs.
If I were to ask her what is her secret of longevity, I’m sure she’d say having a wonderful supportive family, watching the Canucks play hockey, and a glass of wine before dinner.