In loving memory ~
On his last visit to Trail to celebrate his sister Madeline’s 100th birthday, Mike walked along the Columbia River esplanade, sharing with his grandson Thabo, stories of attending Smoke Eaters hockey games, curling in the winter and playing ball in the summer, working on his uncle’s dairy farm, working in the tank rooms at the smelter, and “peeling the onions” in the river, a rite of passage for many young men in Trail at the time.
Michael Roscoe was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1928. He had four wonderful sisters, Madeline, Kaye, Dorothy and Jeanette, and a much-loved younger brother, Donald. The family went through some hard times during the Great Depression, and these experiences shaped Mike’s life-long belief in the power of unions to make people’s lives better.
Mike always said that the move to Trail in 1941 was the best thing that could have happened to his family. He excelled in school and loved sports, especially curling and softball. He played lead on the high school curling team that won the provincial championship in 1948.
He worked at the smelter in the summers to pay for university. After graduating from the University of British Columbia with a B.A. in History and his teaching certificate, he took a position at the high school in Salmo.
Mike met his wife, Ardith, through his sister, Jeanette. They were roommates at St. Joseph’s nursing school in Victoria and Mike would drive down from his teaching job in Chemainus. After they were married, Mike and Ardith moved to Trail. They had four children: Michael Carey, Lesley, Patrick and David. We all have many happy memories of growing up in Trail, with our cousins and aunts and uncles. Camping and fishing trips, bonspiels, Sunday School picnics, summer holidays at Christina and Kootenay Lake and many, many card games. Mike especially loved fishing with his brother-in-law, John Merkley. Later, Mike and Ardith bought “the cabin” on Kootenay Lake – a wonderful place to spend summers.
Mike was a well-loved and respected teacher at Crowe High and vice-principal at Rossland Secondary. He attended the University of Washington and received his master’s degree in history. One of the highlights of his career was working for three years at a teacher-training college in Tanzania, an amazing experience for the whole family. He was BCTF’s local president for a few years and volunteered for two summers to lead a team of Canadian teachers to Ethiopia to help build the teachers’ union in that country.
Mike and Ardith lived life fully. They loved to travel and returned to Africa several times, visiting Lesley who was a teacher in Zimbabwe and Botswana. He loved going on safari and photographing animals.
Later, he became the Superintendent of Schools in the North Island and Keremeos school districts. He retired at the age of 66 and spent his summers in Keremeos and the winters in his house in Vancouver. He spent a year living in Kenya as a volunteer with the Canadian Harambee Education Society. Sadly, Ardith was not able to travel with him this time – she was in extended living in Trail and died a few years later. Mike carried on running his orchard and travelling to Eritrea and Namibia.
Mike had a special bond with his grandchildren – Gabriel, Shannon, Michael Curtis, Liam, Kyle and Thabo. They loved hearing his stories and he was very proud of all of them. He is also survived by his sisters, Dorothy Merkley and Madeline Hurd; his four children; his great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
We will all miss him.
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