Celebrating Over 25ers

We are pleased to present to you five members of Unit 2 that have come together this summer to celebrate their membership of 25 years in RTO/ERO. This celebration took place on two dates, July 21 and July 31 of this year. Well done to all of you.

July 21
over25July21_2014Here we have the first three of our over 25 ers along with friends and members of the Executive of Unit 2. Left to Right: Bev Kondra (Goodwill Committee), Mim Hunt, Wendy Gosselin (Goodwill Committee), Ursula Todd (friend of Doreen and Enid), Maureen (married to Jim Fisher), Jim Fisher, Doreen Raffa, and Enid Baker. It should be noted that all had a great time at the Hooded Merganser on the shores of Lake Okanagan in Penticton. 

Enid Baker

Enid began her teaching career in the West so it was only fitting that she would return to the Western Provinces for her retirement. She achieved one year towards her B. Ed. From U. of Sask. (Regina) in 1965 and because Ontario had a reciprocal agreement with Saskatchewan chose to teach in the L. Simcoe region for one year. This was followed by 2 years in Churchill, (near Barrie), where she taught Grades 3 and 4. In 1970 she married Ches. The following years were busy what with raising three children, Maxyne, Bob and Doug, and taking various extension courses from Waterloo Lutheran University where she obtained her degree in Sociology in 1976. She also obtained her Art Specialist certificate from the Ministry. Enid then began a 19 year teaching position in Elmvale, teaching grades 3, 4 and 5. During this time she lost Ches. One of her many fond memories of her teaching career is the use of tables instead of desks, which encouraged interaction between students. She also enjoyed team teaching. A new life began for Enid when she retired in 1989 and moved back out West. Her life in Western Canada includes having a good friend in Ted. Other friends include Ursula Todd and Doreen Raffa with the latter and Enid working on and displaying many quilts. We are also indebted for the years of hard work that Enid has put in with RTO District 42/Interior Unit. (This volunteering probably had its roots back in Simcoe County where Enid was quite active with the WTA). We can always count on Enid as being our voice in the Southern part of the Okanagan Valley. She is presently a member of the Unit’s Executive in her role as Political Action Representative. Thanks for your active role in our Unit’s operation and here’s to many more healthy years of retirement for you.         

Doreen Raffa
Doreen is another example of a teacher returning to her roots upon retirement. She was educated at UBC and graduated in Home Economics. Her first teaching assignment was at Vancouver Technical in 1951. This was followed by a position with Admiral Canada in Toronto as a Director of Hotel Service.  She held the same position for a gas company in Ohio where she met Al, a chemical engineer. Their adventure together continued in NY. And eventually they found themselves in Toronto. The following years had Doreen teaching in Mississauga, being a substitute teacher, and, also teaching half time. 1980 found Doreen at Little Centennial Middle School. This was followed by a stint in Peel County at Brampton Secondary School. It should be mentioned that Doreen and Al managed to raise 3 children as well. 1989 saw Doreen retire and the summers that they had come to the Okanagan for their holidays paid off for us, as they chose the Southern Okanagan as their retirement destination. Doreen lost Al in 2011. One of Doreen’s favorite memories of teaching happened at Vancouver Technical. Upon entering a classroom she was greeted by several students involved in a tussle in the middle of the room surrounded by a large group of students. This situation is a challenging one for any teacher but you can only imagine a rookie teacher,  as was Doreen at the time, being faced with a potentially dangerous situation. So, Doreen did the first thing that came to her mind, she read the Lord’s Prayer out loud. Voila!!! Students settled down and the problem was solved.  Not sure if she ever tried that again or not. Thanks for being such a good supporter of Unit 2, Doreen. We have always enjoyed the presence of the Ladies of the South (Doreen, Enid and Ursula) at our luncheons and meetings.         

Jim Fisher
Jim worked for both the Brampton Board of Education and the Peel Board of Education as a technical teacher with his specialty being electricity. It can be noted that he also taught electronics when it was required of him (as it turned out, not too frequently). As have many a technical teacher before him, he began his teaching career by switching from industry where he was a licensed electrician. His educational background included graduating from Ryerson. His first teaching position was at Brampton Centennial Secondary School where he taught electricity for 7 years. Having some experience with college hockey, Jim joined the school`s teachers` hockey team.  His next position was at Lorne Park S. S. where he remained until 1985. During this time he again used his interest in school extra-curricular activities by assisting with the rugby team. His last four years were spent at Glenforest S. S. which he thoroughly enjoyed. As we can all attest, teaching can be a rewarding career with its many good memories. One such memory for Jim was the student who wanted Jim to check his mark, a 92, for as the student put it “I’ve never had a mark above 65”. That student went on to become a successful helicopter pilot in the military. A highlight for Jim.  Following teaching, Jim met up with his present wife, Maureen, in 1991. Retirement from teaching found Jim working in his own small electrical firm in Georgetown and, at the same time, serving on the Community`s Hydro Commission. As if this didn`t tap all of Jim`s energy, he still had enough left over to compete in the Boston Marathon. Jim brought all of this energy to B.C. in 1995 on the recommendation of some relatives and a friend. Good choice Jim. And by the way this energetic teacher also managed to raise three children. Continue to enjoy your time in British Columbia, Jim, and we`re pleased you chose RTO to assist you in your retirement.



over25 photoJuly 31
Another group of Over 25ers met to socialize and discuss fond memories of teaching careers. This get together took place at Sparkling Hill, near Vernon and overlooking beautiful Lake Okanagan. From L to R in the picture we have, Gordon Schwarz, Mim Hunt, Larry Hunt (Social Committee), Don Hull, Wendy Gosselin (Goodwill Committee) and Eunice Schwarz. Matilda “Tillie” Filyk was unable to attend this get together.

Eunice Schwarz

Eunice was raised in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England where she attended grammar school on a scholarship. It should be mentioned that being raised during wartime meant enduring challenges such as the bombing of both hers and her future husband’s (Gordon) homes. These events occurred on the same evening as well. It would also seem that they had become aware of each other at the time. Eunice’s education continued at Cambridge (on a scholarship). Her major was Mathematics. It must be noted that women were not recognized as members of Cambridge University in England at that time. It turned out that this problem was resolved by the wife of King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, when she arranged for women’s degrees to be granted at Cambridge in the summer of 1945.  After graduating, Eunice located to Dundee, Scotland. Her introduction to the Ontario Education environment began when her husband, two daughters and one son immigrated to Ottawa. This family would grow to 7 with the addition of two sons. Eunice taught mathematics to senior students at Ridgemont Secondary School from 1967 to 1989. During this time Eunice and her husband divorced. Eunice retired in 1989 and that fellow she had been aware of back in Grimsby? She married him in 2002. She and Gordon moved to Kelowna in 2005. When asked about a fond memory of her time in teaching, she mentioned that the students were fascinated by her connections with Cambridge University. She informed them that Sir Isaac Newton had also attended Cambridge whereupon they enquired whether he had attended Cambridge at the same as she had. We really appreciate the support that you and Gordon have given to Unit 42, Eunice. We look forward to many more luncheons with the two of you.   


Don Hull
Don was born in Australia where he attended high school and later, became a part time student at a Technical school. He also was employed for five years in a steel plant in Newcastle (about 160 Km north of Sidney). This was followed by employment in New Guinea in gold dredging. Two years later he moved to England and was employed in the metal recycling industry. After one year he left for North Western Ontario, where between 1952 and 1963, Don worked in an iron mine. During this time Don was married and in 1963, he and his wife and 2 children moved to British Columbia where he enrolled in Honours Geography at UBC. Graduating in 1966, Don attended the two summer courses at the Ontario College of Education in Toronto. Don’s teaching experience was with the Muskoka Board of Education. He taught at the High Schools in Bracebridge and Gravenhurst from 1966-1989. Don was a Geography Department Head and during this time he also added a Master’s Degree to his credentials. Don and his wife, Erika, retired to Falkland in 1989. In 2003 Erika passed but Don remained on the 6 acres of land they had shared together. He moved to Vernon in 2006. Don has been a great supporter of Unit 2 and he continues to attend our meetings and luncheons. Thanks Don, and here’s to many more years of your involvement with Unit 2.            


Matilda “Tillie” Filyk
Tillie worked for the Carleton Board of Education, Ottawa, Ontario. In particular she taught at Leslie Park School. She was hired to teach there after she and her husband had spent 10 years overseas. She gives a big thank you to her first Principal, Mr. Geo. Green for giving her this position at Leslie Park. Tillie enjoyed all of her years working with the various teachers and Principals at this school. She also has special memories of her 2 retirement parties. Congratulations Tillie, on reaching the 25 year mark as a member of RTO/ERO.      


 Posthumous Tribute to Elsie Fahlgren
Elsie, retired for 25 years, was looking forward to being part of the 25 ers celebration. Her untimely death in July 2014 prevented this. Her son, David, has given me permission to share information from her obituary. Elsie graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1953 with a degree in Home Economics. She earned her Education degree in 1954.She taught in Dauphin and Kenora. Family, extended family, and friends were a big part of her life. She and her husband, Art, entertained many people at their home on Storm Bay. After his death, she moved in with her son and his family. Life in Kelowna was very full. Some of her interests were curling, travelling, reading, and involvement with both Manitoba and Ontario retired teachers’ associations.

We at 42-2 really miss Elsie.

Submitted by Wendy Gosselin, Goodwill, 422