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Conversations

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Q. When and where were you born?
A. I was born in the West Indies in Trinidad on April 9, 1936.

Q. At what age did you come to Canada?
A. I arrived in Montreal at the age of 21. I came by myself, with no family, to attend medical school.

Q. What made you want to become a doctor?
A. It’s what my parents wanted for me. They’re not doctors but they wanted me to become one. I studied in Winnipeg for eight years.

Q. What drew you to Swan River?
A. I used to work on the C.N. railroads in the summer months and I used to take Americans from Winnipeg to Churchill. They had tours and I was fortunate enough to get to work three of those. The train would stop in Swan River for a two to three hour break and I got to see the town.
Later, in April of 1965, when I was completing an internship at St. Boniface Hospital, an elderly gentlemen by the name of Arvid Brust came to see me. He owned the building where the Mushroom Patch is now and upstairs there was a doctor’s office. It was well supplied with everything you would need. He asked me if I had a job, and I didn’t have one at that time, so he told me that there was opening in Swan River and asked if I had a friend that I could bring with me.
Gilbert Welch was a gentleman from Trinidad also that had gone to Medical School with me, so I went and got him and the two of us decided to come and take a look. The Rotary Club had a big meeting at the Swan Motel and they told us we were going to get extremely rich, which of course, didn’t happen. They showed us the hospital and everything. We went back to Winnipeg and brought our wives for a look and the rest is history.
I opened my practise on July 2, 1965. I didn’t plan to stay here indefinity but we never left.

Q. What has kept you in the Valley?
A. My children started to grow up and go to school here. I took up golf. It’s like everything else, we started off here and there was no reason to go anywhere else. The practise started to build up and we just stayed. And, we’re still here.

Q. Do you ever visit Trinidad? 
A. Yes I have visited Trinidad a few times. My brother is still there.





Q. What has been the biggest change you’ve encountered over the years?
A. There’s been a terrific amount of changes since I started. Like I tell people, if I had to practise with the technology I came here with today I’d be run out of town. That’s the most significant thing. There’s been such a massive change in the technology and that’s the most important thing.

Q. Everyone knows the you’re an avid golfer. What is it about golf that you love so much?
A. You can never beat that game, it always beats you. It drives you nuts. It’s also something you can do from the time you’re two till you’re 100 and you don’t need anyone with you to go play a game of golf. When I got out there and got on the first tee it didn’t matter what was going on I could forget about it until I got off the golf course. It was a major escape for me.
Of course, I got called off the course many many times to deliver babies or help in the Operating Room, but I could be alone with the game for a moment. That’s all I’ve really been passionate about, golf and the practise were always enough.

Q. After so many years, how are you feeling about retirement?







A. I’m alright with it. I didn’t plan this, I just got up one morning in the middle of last year and didn’t want to go to the hospital anymore. I was surprised that I made that decision because it had never crossed my mind that I was going to. I started thinking about it more and talked to my wife and my buddies and finally I decided that it was time.

Q. What do you dream of doing now?

A. Nothing special, mostly enjoying time with my wife. I’ll go see my grandchildren, and my great grandchildren. I’ll spend sometime reading all the books that I’ve wanted to read, all the things I haven’t had time to do. I have a lot of books I’ve collected over the years that I want to read. There’s no definite plans for anything else. I’m just going to do what I normally would do and we’ll see what happens in the summer time but I don’t have any major plans.

Q. Is there anything you’d like to say to the community and the legacy you will be leaving behind?
A. I can just say this is a great place to live, except when its 35 below and you don’t have any water. I have been fortunate to have come here, and the people of the Valley have been very good to me and my family. I’ve worked hard but I recieved a lot of support from the residents of the Valley and I’ve always been grateful for that.

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Jakki Lumax
REPORTER
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