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Canada Obituaries

MERRETT, DOROTHY MARGARET The death of Dorothy Margaret Merrett of W.G. Bishop Nursing Home, Minto, NB occurred on Thursday, January 08, 2004 at the Nursing Home. Born in Manchester, England, she was a daughter of the late William John and Eleanor (Hayward) Cumpston. [Births Mar 1921 Cumpston  Dorothy M  mother Hayward  Prestwich  8d 641]


Mrs. Merrett is a retired nurse, a member of the Christ Church Parish Church, Westmorland Street, Fredericton, and enjoyed painting, playing the piano and organ and singing. She is survived by a son, Graham Merrett of Fredericton and a daughter, Margaret Wright (Roscoe) of Hamilton, ON; seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren; one brother, William Cumpston [Births Mar 1918  Cumpston  William J  Hayward  Prestwich  8d 458]

(Ellen) of England; two sisters, Eileen Strongman of Spain and Edna Webster of Manchester, England. Besides her husband and parents, she was predeceased by one brother, Glyn Cumpston. Although there will be no visitation, a funeral service will be held at York Funeral Home's T. Gordon MacLeod Memorial Chapel, 302 Brookside Drive, Fredericton on Monday, January 12, 2004 at 11 am with Rev. Paul Thompson officiating. Interment will be at a later date in the Anglican Cemetery, Oromocto. For those who wish, remembrances to the Lung Association or the Cancer Research Society would be appreciated by the family. Personal condolences may be offered via  Birth comments in bold are mine.

LEITH KNIGHT The Moose Jaw Times Herald

Tommy Tait and Charlie Cumpston were legendary CPR managers


Tommy Tait was well acquainted with Moose Jaw long before he set foot in the  frontier settlement as the 23-year-old assistant superintendent of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR’s) Moose Jaw Division.

Born in Montreal in 1864, the son of Sir Melbourne Tait, a chief justice of the Quebec Supreme Court, Thomas was only 18 when he went to work for the CPR as private secretary to William Van Horne, general manager of the railway during its construction period.

When the construction period ended with the driving of the Last Spike, Van Horne, quick to recognize an exceptional employee, sent Thomas to Moose Jaw as assistant superintendent of the Moose Jaw Division.

Although the town was an important rail centre and saw the initial rush of land-grabbing settlers and homesteaders, a depression that had been around since the 1870s continued to cast a gloomy shadow across the country.   Unfavourable weather conditions brought on a succession of crop failures, and downward financial trends added to the doldrums. Many of the newcomers gave up and left the prairies as quickly as they came, either returning to former homes or moving westward to the more promising boom mining towns of British Columbia.

Together with his chief dispatcher Charles Cumpston, he staged theatricals in the CPR Dining Hall, certainly the forerunners of today’s dinner theatres. Both young men were members of vestry of their church, and Charlie joined the local Masonic Lodge, becoming its sixth worshipful master.

    Charlie Cumpston began his career with the CPR in 1883, when the prairie section of the railroad was being constructed across what is now Saskatchewan and Alberta.

    A native of Bloomington, Ill., and former employee of the Chicago and Alton Railway, Charlie came to his new job with plenty of experience.

    Initially he was located at Moose Jaw as chief train dispatcher. A year later, he was transferred to Canmore, Alta., to take charge of trains on the “Big Hill,” a treacherous section of track with a 4.5 grade over the Selkirk Range. (Big Hill was later replaced by the Spiral Tunnels.)

    After 18 months, he was moved to Winnipeg to become superintendent of telegraphs. Then it was back to Moose Jaw as chief train dispatcher under Thomas Tait.

    Four years later he was transferred to Fort William as inspector of dispatchers’ offices. His next move was to Cranbrook, B.C., to organize the new rail service through the Crowsnest Pass.

    Charlie was recognized as “one of the best known officials of the CPR.” A fellow railroader once remarked: “It has been a common practice of the company, whenever there was any difficult railroading to do, to send Cumpston there to clear it up.”    Charlie died in Medicine Hat in 1900 at the age of 44. The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. William Nicholls, an old friend from his Moose Jaw days.

    And a wreath from his Moose Jaw  Masonic lodge accompanied the body to Fort Wayne, Ind., where burial took place.                        



WARD - Glen Terrence passed away peacefully at the age of 52 years on February 24, 2006. He is predeceased by his father Harold Dickson Ward and is survived by his mother Nancy Margaret Ward, of Westbank, BC, wife Cindy Wilson, children: Christopher (Kate), Glen and Sheri (Jayson), Felicity and Garret Cumpstone, Sandra Wilson and family including Telly's little Weazer "Alexis", brothers: Bill (Debbie), Alan (Shelley), Gary (Page), nieces and nephews Sarah, Andrew, Bonnie, Brenda, Pam and Shawn. Funeral Services will be held at Lakewood Funeral Home located at 1055 Ospika Blvd, on Wednesday, March 1, 2006 at 1:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Canadian Liver Foundation at #109 - 828 W. 8th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1E2.

LYGAS PAT went to be with the Lord on Thursday, April 24, 2003 at the age of 67 years. Pat is survived by her loving daughter: Cheryl (Bruce) Trenaman and grandchildren: Logan and Lundy; sisters: Ione Williamson of Saskatchewan and Dora Parenteau (Jim Cumpstone) of Hixon; many other nieces, nephews, family and friends. A Service of Remembrance will be held on Sunday, April 27, 2003 at 2:00 pm from Hixon Community Hall, Hixon, BC with Pastor Phil Harlow officiating. Funeral services under the direction of Assman's Funeral Chapel.