Alice Pallard stands next to a garage door which she had painted as a depiction of the terrain in Switzerland where her family was originally from.

Golden Moments: From the Swiss Village to marrying in the mountains

Alice Pallard has been a part of the community in Golden since she was born 90 years ago.

Alice Pallard has been a part of the community in Golden since she was born 90 years ago.

Pallard spent her childhood living in the CPR Swiss Village which would later be known as the Edelweiss Village with here family.

Her father, Ernst Feuz Sr., was one of the famous local Swiss Guides.

“Mom and Dad also lived in Glacier for a while during the summer when he was climbing mountains,” she said. “I was almost born in Glacier but she did get back into town.”

Pallard said her father was away a great deal for work when she was younger.

“Dad and the guides were away a lot. Dad and his brothers would go up to Lake Louise and work a week. They would clean all the snow off Emerald Lake, O’Hara and those places. Then they would come home and the other two would go up,” she said.

She remembers her time in school in Golden. At one point she was witness to a local school catching fire and burning down. On bad weather days she also remembers teachers saying that if the kids from the Swiss Village made it to school then no one else should have had an excuse not to be there.

After school she worked at the King Store in downtown Golden before starting her long career working for the government.

“I worked for the government in different places,” she said. Pallard worked in Public Works, Ministry of Highways, Ministry of Finance  and issued licences as well.

After her retirement in 1982, she became the Marriage Commissioner.

“I said I would just love to do that. I was the commissioner until 2008,” she said.

Over the years she married 800 couples around Golden and she has missed marrying couples ever since.

“I was in the mountains and all over. They took me up in helicopters. It was fantastic,” she said.

Originally she was paid $5 a marriage, many of which were held in her marriage room at her own home.

Pallard performed marriages for everyone who came to her no matter what was said.

“After my fourth gay marriage we were told either quit doing it or retire. I thought ‘what was the difference?’ To me they were just people getting married. I married 15 gay couples before I retired,” she said. “People came from England and all over the place.”

One of her most interesting marriages actually happened in a small plane above the mountains.

“The pilot was looking for a place to land on the ice fields. He tried to pick one which was safe but he had to watch out for a crevasse. The couple wanted to be married at two o’clock and they we were flying around,” she said. “The pilot said that I would have to perform it right away so I said OK and performed the marriage there with the pilot and his wife as the witnesses.”

She took her position very seriously over the years and never liked to leave people without someone to marry them. She even went to Emerald Lake for a wedding on the day after her mother passed away which she said was the hardest thing she ever had to do. She did add that she hopes that she has her mothers genes because she lived to be 100.

Since her second retirement Pallard has not slowed down.

“Since I quit doing the marriages I am still quite busy,” she said.

An avid skier for a number of years Pallard skied until she was well into her 60s. She explained that the only time she ever fell was when a small child crashed into her on one of her last runs ever.

“To get knocked down on that run was funny to me,” she said.

As for Golden itself Pallard has seen it develop from a sleepy little town into what it is today.

“Things have changed a great deal especially the last few years it has changed in many ways,” she said.