Alec Peter Boolinoff January 15, 1919 – October 4, 1977
Alec Peter Boolinoff was born and raised in Thrums, B.C., was a sibling to four others; Polly, Helen, Peter and Kate. The family was very much a part of the community farming culture, and earned their living from raising and selling fruits and vegetables, and whatever else that the “city folk” of Trail would show an interest in, i.e. live chickens or freshly butchered beef.
Because of Alec’s early entrepreneurial tendencies, his mother insisted that he get his driver’s license for the purpose of being the family chauffeur, as well as one of the local delivery services. As a result, he was very outgoing with his services. He also sought to acquire farming work with his horse, plowing other farmers’ fields, preparing them for planting. Alec was inspired at a very early age by the dynamics of being an independent businessman and just as soon as he was able to make the bold step into becoming a landowner, he accepted the offer from one of his customers – The Chalmers’ – who sold him their 53-acre farm.
By this time, he was not only a husband to Molly Perepolkin, but also a proud father of two boys, Andy and Allen. With his wife Molly at his side they undertook a tremendous challenge with raising five acres of garden, 3000 chickens, 25 – 30 head of cattle (both for dairy and beef sales), a large number of fruit trees and, if that didn’t make them busy enough, they also started a feed and flour brokerage business where they would receive rail car loads of feed and flour for sale to the local community.
As it would be referred to in today’s terminology, “when you’re firing on all cylinders you gotta put the miles behind ya,” and so they did, paying off a big chunk of the newly acquired farm. There were big dreams and plans as with any independent entrepreneur just like there still is in today’s culture.
But unfortunately for Alec and Molly, they never thought about their health being an uncontrollable evil. As fate would have it, after a number of exploratory surgeries and anticipated cures, Molly was diagnosed with terminal cancer. No one ever imagined such a travesty would be placed on this hard-working, committed, loving family who now faced the difficulties, fears and overwhelming responsibilities of the challenges ahead.
After two years of hospital visits, treatments and surgeries, Molly passed away at the young age of 29, leaving behind Alec, her husband of 12 years, and her two boys – Andy, 10, and Allen, 3, to now manage as they would without her.With the loss of the “love of his life,” Alec was determined to overcome his “lot in life” but not without challenges of his own. He struggled with alcoholism as he attempted to manage the loss of his wife, the businesses and raise the boys on his own.
Gradually, and with the help of his mother Mary and his sister Kate, he raised his boys while continuing with his farming business but at a much lesser scale. The boys grew up working the farm with their dad but as they finished high school they chose to pursue other careers. He eventually would briefly overcome his battle with alcohol but not before he developed other physical health issues that eventually took his life at 56.
Alec most certainly was an amazingly gifted man, who had completed only grade four for education. He always advocated his family values and raised his boys with a very high standard of ethics and integrity, which he learned from his significant role model, his mother Mary (He lost his dad Peter at 16).
Alec made sure he gave his boys every opportunity to learn about family values, the benefits of hard work through personal commitment and, “your word is your bond.” His favourite line was, “always protect your last name and be proud of it.” It has taken me a lifetime to realize how much my father loved his family. Through all of the difficulties and hardships he faced, he still managed to stay true to his commitments and Godly beliefs.
I cannot imagine what life would have become had I not learned from my father Alec, the true meaning of dedication to family values, honour to those who look to one’s heart and overlook their human shortcomings, and love for those who recognize the love that is given to them.Until recently I did not understand my father and his ways to raise me.
I did not recognize how sad and lonely he was after his wife Molly passed away. Sometimes it takes a number of personal tragedies along with years of healing, to realize what love can really look like between a father and a son.I have chosen to write this tribute my father at this time, because I wanted to introduce the wonderful man that he was, to those who remember him as being someone who only lived to fulfill his own agenda.
When I realized how much he loved us and especially my mother Molly, I felt it was important to tell the community that he grew up in and loved, that he really was just another good-hearted man who sought to have a loving family, of whom he could be proud, and raise up to be responsible members of the same community and citizens of our great country.Happy Birthday, Dad; you would have been 91 years of age on January 15, 2012.In Loving Memory,
Your youngest son, Allen Boolinoff.