Honoured by Brian and Pat, Hal and Linda, Randy and Valerie and Daren and Brenda in recognition of over 63 years of marriage and a lifetime of memories in North Bay.
Honoured by Brian and Pat, Hal and Linda, Randy and Valerie, and Daren and Brenda in recognition of over 63 years of marriage and a lifetime of memories in North Bay.
Orval and Jessie were both born in North Bay in 1927 – Orval on March 11th and Jessie on July 30th. Jessie grew up on a farm in the Wasi area near Callander before moving to North Bay to find work as a young adult. Orval has lived in North Bay all his life.
Orval began a 44-year railway career in 1943 with the Canadian Pacific Railway as a carman apprentice in North Bay. His father, who also worked at the railway, passed away suddenly around this time. After his apprenticeship, Orval continued to work as a carman and then as a car foreman until his retirement in 1987. Orval was a well-liked and respected foreman known to his co-workers only as “Sully”.
Orval and Jessie met on a double date with their older siblings, since Orval’s brother, Ken, was dating Jessie’s sister, Ella. Both couples ended up marrying with Orval and Jessie‘s wedding being on June 18, 1948.
They brought up a family of four sons – Brian, Hal, Randy and Daren – on Princess Street, where they developed lasting friendships with several of the neighbouring families. As young children, their sons remember their father leaving for the afternoon shift as they arrived home from school. As train schedules were fairly precise, he would often arrive home for a quick dinner, returning to the rail yards in time to service the next scheduled arrival.
Jessie is renowned within her family for her baking. Every one of her nine grandchildren – Catherine and Matthew; David and Daniel; Jennifer, Jessica and James; Rebecca and Geoffrey – has their favourite treat, whether it is apple pie, muffins, cookies, or strawberry jam. All of the family dinner gatherings have what seems to be an inexhaustible supply of “goodies” to choose from.
In retirement, Orval has continued to work on the railway – volunteering his time, along with several other retired railway workers, to maintain the heritage railway, where he has been honoured with a signpost marked “Sullivan 100”. Orval also enjoys carpentry. He has been known to make wooden toys for his grandchildren, to help his sons and neighbours with their renovation projects, and, more recently, build birdhouses for every child in his daughter-in-law’s primary school class.
Orval and Jessie continue to enjoy spending time with their family, which has grown to include grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Since the railway has been a big part of their lives, both are proud of the waterfront development of the railway land that started in the 1980s with a promenade along the shoreline and continues to this day.