Pam Stewart

After 15 years with the Rotary Club of Vancouver, Pam is about to enjoy a much deserved retirement.  Besides keeping our Presidents in-line and on-track, Pam has provided exemplary service to a demanding membership, always with a smile and a grace that has come to be appreciated by us all.  Here is her story in her own words.

I was born Vernon quite a few years ago, and mainly grew up in Lumby, a small logging town about 12 miles out of Vernon. I am the oldest of four, with two brothers (one deceased) and one sister. Attended a small town school that combined grades 7 – 12, and there were 18 people in my graduating class.

My father owned a planing mill and I worked there one summer. This was well before any gender equality, so I had to wear coveralls during the heat of the summer.

After grade 12, I worked at the army cadet camp in Vernon, because at that time the summer camp ran for seven weeks with about 1500 cadets in residence in old army huts that were built during the second world war. I worked in the sergeant’s mess, and one thing I learned was that the army life would never be for me.

I decided it was time to leave home, and had an aunt living in Red Deer, Alberta. A friend and I decided to make the move, and we met another girl there and shared an apartment. I never thought people could live in such a cold place. Anyone who has spent winters on the prairie will know exactly what I mean.

I worked at various jobs there before starting at the Bank of Commerce before it became the Imperial Bank of Commerce. Met my future husband, and as he was in the army reserve I thought it might be interesting to join, because after all there was the small (very small) matter of being paid. We couldn’t be in the same unit, so I joined the Tank Corp. Didn’t spend much time doing anything except working in their office once they found out I could type. Did spend a weekend at Camp Sarcee outside Calgary, and actually went for a ride in a tank. The others in the tank were maniacs who just wanted to see how fast it would go, and off across the prairie we went, lurching and bouncing. Tanks don’t come with springs. It didn’t take me long to realize (again) that I really didn’t want to be in the army.

We got married and at first my husband worked at Safeway, then he joined the fire department. He was always looking for something better, and wound up taking a position in Jasper. We lived there for a year, and working in a bank and dealing with tourists all day was “interesting”. Then we moved to Hinton where he was manager of a grocery store, before finally moving to Edmonton where we lived for about 20 years. During that time my daughter and son were born.More cold winters, one year it snowed every month of the year except July.

I went to work for the provincial government in a data entry position (the old keypunch machines), and eventually was promoted to supervisor of a section of 24 women. During the downturn in the early 80’s the government began to cut back positions, and it was a very unhappy time to be working there. Finally in 1992 I decided to take a buyout package and move to BC, where both my children were living, as by that time my husband and I had decided to part ways.

When I got to Vancouver in 1993 I worked at temp jobs for awhile, and loving the water, I decided to take sailing lessons – in November in a martin 242 sailboat. Did quite a bit of sailing until I broke my ankle and that ended that.

Worked at the False Creek Yacht Club for two years before I started with Rotary in February of 1999, and have been here ever since.

I have two children, a son and a daughter, and five grandchildren.