Sam Horner: One of Terrace's Oldest Residents From the book 'Skeena Stories: Strangers No More' by Dawna Ottenbreit and Yvonne Moen. Following is their composition on Mr. Samuel Horner.
Sam was born on November 8th, 1909 in Ballycastle Northern Ireland to James and Elizabeth Horner. He was one of six children; went to school in Ireland and apprenticed as a carpenter.
In 1927, the family came to Canada and settled in the farming community of Englehart, Ontario. Sam found work gold mining at Kirkland Lake, Ontario and eventually bought a house there.
While living on the farm, Sam met a beautiful young girl whose family had immigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1930. They lived on a farm next to the Horner family, and Sam and Gladys were married on January 27th, 1939 in the Presbyterian Church in Engelhart. They had two sons, Harvey and Victor.
Sam and Gladys lived at Kirkland Lake until 1946 and then moved to Red Lake where Sam worked at the Barterton mine for 5 years.
Sam heard "big money" was being made in Kitimat BC so they packed up their belonging and headed for British Columbia. They ran out of money in Burns Lake, BC and decided to stop and work there awhile. After about a year they made enough money to move on so they loaded up the boys and headed down the highway and got as far as Hazelton where Sam and Gladys found work at the Red Rose Mine.
In July of 1952 they made the move to Terrace and built a house on Lazelle Street that is now the site of the Lazelle Mini Mall. Sam worked at the airport and then worked on construction of the new Skeena High School. Sam also worked constructing the Alcan dock; for MacMillan Bloedel Ltd.; helped build the Terrace/Kitimat highway which opened in 1957; he worked on construction of the Digby Island Airport in Prince Rupert; he bought a gravel truck and named his company Sam Horner Trucking Co. Ltd., tried his hand at logging and bought two logging trucks. They lived for a time in Masset, BC.
Sam retired, but finding himself bored returned to logging at age 75 and then drove taxi and the school bus. He lost Gladys on July 17th, 1996 and after living on his own for a number of years, made the move to the Walter McConnell Estates assisted living home where he continues to reside today at age 98. Sam will turn 99 on November the 8th and has 6 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
Sam considers himself, "The King of the Castle." He says he's had a beautiful life, the saddest part was losing his wife, Gladys, but his family keeps him going. Sam says the doctors try to straighten him out now and then, want him to exercise, "make a new man out of him." He stays up until midnight, sets his alarm and rises at seven each morning and after taking his medications, makes his own porridge for breakfast.
Sam hopes the government will bring money from the south and get the power projects going. He is also hopeful a use for the dead trees will be found and the mining that we're always waiting for, will "bust wide open." And he laughs and says," Not in my lifetime, I suppose."
He leaves behind Harvey(Sue), Victor(Joann) Tina(Kevin), Dean(Sylvia), Kelly(Jeff), Crystal(Mike), Stuart(Debbie), Jim(Michelle) & grandchildren, Corbin & Austin, Tyler & Paige, Hannah & Reagan, Chantelle, Leigham & Weston, Elizabeth, Samantha & Cassandra, Reese.
A celebration of life will be held in the spring, exact date will be notified in the paper
Skeena Stories: Strangers No More was produced by Skeena Diversity website at www.skeenadiversity.com