UBC, 1950, BSc, Agriculture


“I was born in Cloverdale BC on June 7, 1928, of Scottish immigrant stock. My family operated dairy farms in Surrey and Langley and in the summer of 1946 I followed the “show circuit” with the Edenbank Ayrshire herd (Oliver Wells and family, Sardis). After showing at Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina, we came home from the Great Falls Montana exhibition due to pre-set wartime prize moneys and escalating post-war prices.

By getting home in August instead of November I was able to enroll in the 1946 BSA class at UBC. Memorable events that first year included waiting in lengthy lineups in the old armory in order to register for all the non”aggie” courses that were mandatory. The old AG 100 classes gave us a solid introduction to the entire faculty’s many departments and to all of the Profs who each gave us some insights into the highlights of the various specialties we might explore further. This old course brought us all together in one body and thinking back on AG 100 it was probably the only time we all spent together because by years 2 and 3 it was off to the more secluded and specialized world of “major” courses. It was a great privilege for younger students such as myself to be associated with so many older students who had served in the armed forces. Many of the older gang were married and seemed (at least) to enjoy having us for home study and social activities. Most of us in the younger set had received some military exposure as lowly Air, Sea or Army cadets but hadn’t got much farther than marching and shining buttons! These senior veteran students had a lot at stake and I’m convinced that they kept us all working at a better pace than might otherwise have been the case. Profs in those days were very much into farm community events such as field days, night courses, Fall Fairs and 4H, so we had met some of the Profs on earlier occasions. Jack Berry, Alden Barss, Jake Biely, Harry King, Dave Laird, Gordon Moe, Stan Wood, and “Prof'” Lloyd were household names in BC farming communities of the 40’s and 50’s.

As graduation approached the question became one of what are we going to do when we get out of here? Many from our year became District Ag’s; some went with Ag Canada, others kept going and distinguished themselves as PhD’s in various specialties. After graduation I took a vocational agriculture teaching series at UBC in the summer of 1950 and landed in Salmon Arm that September as a community agriculturist/teacher in one of the most beautiful areas of the province. The high-school Voc-Ag concept began to wither in many of the communities that launched Ag School programs and I really didn’t want to teach classroom science courses forever, so I later headed for Alberta to open up the “Pioneer” feed division of Purity Flour Mills. Three years later I returned to BC in order to work for the old Brackman -Ker Milling Co (a Purity Flour subsidiary) and to eventually take over the family farm in Delta. In 1961 I was attracted to estate planning and insurance work with Mutual Life of Canada and twenty-one years later I left this old company in order to concentrate on two companion entities that had developed along the way – farm dispersal auctions and farm and ranch appraisals. All were interesting and rewarding enterprises. During these developing years I got involved with some court work as a result of expropriation and right-of-way negotiations and in 1980 I was asked to join the BC Agricultural Land Commission as a commissioner. Five years later I became chairman following the retirement of the late Dr Mills Clarke. This work took us into every corner of the province that had any farmland and we made many friends throughout the twenty-eight regional districts of the province.

Other activities included serving for many years on the Agriculture Advisory Committee of the Pacific National Exhibition and stock judging.” (Editor: contemporaries acknowledge Ian’s other assistance to the PNE over the years as auctioneer at the Charity Auctions. His powerful voice and commanding presence led to large sums of money being bid at these events and donated to worthy charities. The Exhibition in 1998 presented him with an Award for Outstanding Service to Agriculture).

“These days we concentrate on fund-raiser auctions, reunions and tall tales about how great we were in the “old days”. My Royal Columbian nursing student fiancée during UBC days and I celebrated 50 years officially on June 30 of 2000, so the UBC years weren’t all hard work and study. Our years at UBC launched the “Farmers’ Frolics” and other campus events that helped to raise the profile of the “Aggies”. Great days and great events (some best forgotten).”

Ian passed away in the spring of 2007. A man respected and loved by many, he always found time for others in words or acts of kindness. His ability to find the right words at the right moment made him a popular speaker, whether at a Burns Supper, reciting a poem, or eulogizing a friend or neighbour.

He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Marjorie, and children David (Janet), Bryce (Barbara), Ian Jr. (Pam) and Glenda (John).

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