Bill Harrison was born in 1891 in Boian, Bucovina. He immigrated to North America, an ambitious and young man. Bill worked for a time in the coal mines in West Virginia U.S.A. before moving to Alberta. He then worked in the coal mines in Drumheller and Burns Packing Plant in Edmonton. In his senior years Bill loved to reminisce and tell stories of his adventures to the younger generations. He told of how his proficiency in the English language allowed him to get better jobs. He was made foreman because he was able to pass as an American or Canadian and not a lowly immigrant. Bill told of the working conditions in the mines and packing plants. These jobs enabled Bill to save the money necessary to buy a farm and he decided to live among his fellow Romanians at Boian, Alberta. Here he met his young bride Katie Mihalcheon at Pakan; some seventy miles north east of Edmonton. Pakan was a thriving settlement with a mission school, a church and a small hospital. Katie was born to a pioneer family having eight girls and one boy. Katie in her latter years would tell stories of how the girls would have to do the work of men on the farm. Her father would, however, have hired help with only one son to help. She often told of how her father would bring treats for them when he walked the seventy miles to Edmonton for supplies. Katie remembered how as a young girl some Indians came to the farm and how they helped her family. She told of how they gave her family some blankets and food. Katie recalled that the Indian men were tall and strong and the women kind and beautiful; a proud people. Bill and Katie settled and farmed in the community of Hairy Hill. They were blessed with four children; three girls and one boy. Doris, Marie, Val and Nick.
Both Bill and Katie took a very active part in the Romanian community at Boian and later in Edmonton. While on the farm, Bill was Secretary- Treasurer for the Boian Church for twenty-five years. Katie was an active member of the Ladies Auxiliary both in Boian and Edmonton for many years. Farm work was hard but both Bill and Kate knew how to enjoy life and hosted many large parties and had many friends. Katie recalled how as a teenage girl she attended a Boian Community dance. The man who had the job of delegating who should dance with whom matched Katie with a man who was somewhat ugly and deformed; for a joke. She recalled that she did dance with this gentleman, very beautifully, and was the envy of all who watched. She was a very proud woman all of her life. Katie was the Godmother “Nasa” for approximately fifty children. This is but one measure of the respect she upheld in the community. She had a wonderful memory and knew the names of most every Romanian originating from Boian and how they were doing. Both Bill and Katie had beautiful both knew many Romanian songs and old Christmas carols of countless verses. Most of these are now unfortunately forgotten and lost as they were not recorded. Bill and Katie moved to Edmonton to a beautiful home in Highlands. They both worked for a while in Edmonton before enjoying retirement. Bill passed away in 1986 at 95 years old and Katie passed away in 1991 at 84 years old. Their four children all speak Romanian beautifully. Doris, upon graduating from school, moved to Edmonton. Here she met and married Rosario Bourassa, who was in the U.S. Army, stationed in Edmonton. They later moved to Ogden, Utah, U.S.A., where Doris, now widowed and retired from a banking career, still resides. She has three children; Annmarie, a nurse, secretary, married to Glen Urry, Mary-Ann, a nursing coordinator married to Jim Jones, and Michael, an engineer married to Julia having three children, Jessica, Mathew and Maxx. Val, Marie, Doris, Nick Marie, after graduating from Hairy Hill, moved to Edmonton and worked as a secretary. She married Ernest W. (Jeff) Jefferd who at the time was in the Royal Canadian Navy. Jeff was a business manager in the insurance industry in Edmonton. Jeff was extensively involved in youth organizations and is a long-standing Rotary Club member. Jeff and Marie are now retired and enjoy travel and their family. They had two daughters; Donna and Sharon. Donna obtained a B.Ed. from the U of A and taught school before staying home to raise a family. She married Les Lutic, whom she met while they both danced with the Balada Romanian Dancers. Donna and Les are active in the Romanian Community in Edmonton. They have three daughters; Nicole, Chantelle, and Lauren. Sharon graduated from college with a secretarial diploma and now works at the Leduc Public Library. She married Don McAmmond who is employed in the steel industry working for Wilkinson Steel. They have two daughters; Sara and Megan. Val also moved to Edmonton and worked for Imperial Oil for over twenty-five years. She still is very active and works for Block Brothers Income Tax. Val enjoys life and loves to dance. She also has travelled to many parts of the world and has plans for more travel and a lot more dancing and fun. Nick left for the U.S.A. as a young man. There he joined the U.S. Airforce and was trained as an engineer. He married Dorothy Tolesko and had two children, Jody and Kimberly. They later moved back to Alberta. Kimberly, who was a Balada Romanian dancer, passed away at fourteen years of age. Jody travelled and saw the world, working for eight years on a cruise ship. After working as a casino manager in B.C., he is now settled in Edmonton and is a driver for ETS. Nick, along with Marie and Jeff, travelled to Romania. Nick passed away on January 7, 1990. This is the story of four generations from pioneer days to present. Each one in their own way is very proud of their heritage.
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