Turning Back the Pages: A big gift that keeps on giving

By Colleen Palumbo

This week exactly 10 years ago, we had a wonderful surprise at the museum.

Glen Ewan dropped by to bring the news that the Golden and District Community Foundation had been given a gift of $10,000. The gift was given by Diane and Sam Aylsworth in memory of Diane’s parents, Cecil and Edel Parson.

The Golden Museum will be the benefactor of their gift when it can apply annually for that portion of the funds that have been earned through the careful investment or interest earned from the original gift. The amazing thing about this gift is the original gift is never spent, so it will always be there earning for the continuing operation of the museum.

The news was exciting and I was so pleased that Diane and Sam joined Glen at the museum so that we could talk about their gift. I had met Diane before and it was nice to hear the story of how they met here in Golden.

The following is an article for the 1982 edition of Golden Memories and was written by Diane Parson.

“Leaving their respective homes in England and Australia far behind, Gertrude and Charles Parson arrived to settle in Golden in 1894.

Though Charles, who like his predecessors before him, had chosen the seas as a way of life, fate had determined another path for him. Because the accidental explosion of a torpedo left him injured with a concussion and subsequent speech impediment, this young naval sub-lieutenant was forced to seek a new future.

He married a young widow with a small child and together they immigrated to Canada to join his brother Harry. (Harry was employed by the government to help survey the Banff National Park). Upon arriving in Victoria Charles was hired by Fred Jones to work as an accountant in Golden’s Columbia River Lumber Mill. He worked at this position for about 20 years. He was also the district customs officer for a short period until he became the postmaster for Golden. He filled this position until his death in 1941.

It is of historical interest that brother Harry joined him in Golden, and in addition to having the local General Store, owned property twenty miles south of Golden. During the days of river travel, a stop was made at the Parson’s farm for refueling and replenishing fresh meat. It is from this old hog and cattle ranch locale that the town of Parson is now located.

Four children were born to Gertrude and Charles: Gordon, Allan, Cecil and Phyllis. Cecil was the only one to stay on and make his home in Golden. In 1927 Cecil was married to Edel Kristine Myrthu. She was the daughter of a Danish family from Standard, Alberta.

(Her father, Jens Myrthu, was one of four men sent by the Lutheran Church from Iowa, U.S.A. to establish a new Lutheran colony near what is now Gleichen, Alberta. Instead, they settled in what is now the community of Standard).

These were depression years and during this time Cecil was employed by the C.P.R. and for a period acted as timekeeper during the construction of the Big Bend Highway. Finally he assisted his father in the post office, and upon his father’s death became postmaster. He continued to work here until his retirement in 1969.

Edel was a graduate nurse from the Calgary General hospital, and in the 1950’s joined the local doctors to become the first nurse affiliated with the Golden Clinic.

Three children were born to Cecil and Edel: Gordon in 1928; Norman in 1930; and Diane in 1941. Edel and Cecil were very active in community life and were particularly involved in St. Paul’s Anglican Church. Cecil was one of the original members of the Lion’s Club and has been a long time curler.

Cecil’s retirement years have been spent in good health, and he has been able to enjoy spending his time huckleberry picking, gardening, fishing and bowling.”

Thank you Diane and Sam for your generous gift and like you Sam, I hope that others see this as a way to support the museum in perpetuity.

Please consider adding to the fund on behalf of the Golden Museum. All your gifts made through the Golden Community Foundation are met with a tax receipt for income tax purposes and the fund for the museums grows.

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