Welcome to the Alfred Funke story
Alfred Funke former Hand Molder demonstrates for visitors on June 2001 Heritage Day
Claybank Brick Plant Site
ALFRED FUNKE STORY
(photo: Alfred demonstrating in the Hand Mold Shop)
In September of 1950 with three brothers at home and at the age of 21 it was time for Alfred to make his mark in life. He was happy when he attained employment at the Claybank Brick Plant. The work was hard but the pay was good .88 cents an hour. His first few months at the Plant were spent working out of doors in the yard and then he was assigned to the Hand Mould Shop.
Using hand moulds weighing from 4 - 80 lbs., filling them with clay and pounding them on the bumping stand is how Alfred spent most of his days at the Brick Plant. A days work was 8 units of brick (a tonnage amount) but some days you could make up to 11 units and take home extra money. Modes of travel to get to work were either walking, riding a horse or catching a ride. In the winter while living at home Alfred, with his sister Jeanette, would drive a horse and sleigh as far as Claybank School there the horse was put in the school barn and Alfred walked the the remaining 1 mile to work. If the winters were exceptionally bad he would stay in the Bunk House paying .35 cents per meal. As many as 15 - 20 men would sometimes stay playing cards to while away the evening hours. In 1953 Alfred quit the Plant to work at the Robin Hood Flour Mill in Moose Jaw and it was there that he met Angela, his future wife. They were married in 1954, moving to the Getzlaf farm 5 miles west of Avonlea. At that time Alfred resumed working at the Brick Plant. Living further away from the Plant proved to be a challenge, he had to make sure his car wouldn't get snowed in so he left it parked on a hill away from the yard, his little Chev never let him down. Around 1957 hand mould bricks were no longer in great demand and Alfred was reassigned to work in the yard again.
In 1959 Alfred and Angela built a new house on their farm 1 mile west of Claybank. It was much easier getting to work from this location as Joe Nagel would pick Alfred up, he would start honking his horn at the Bayard corner so Alfred could be ready. Working at the Plant and working a mixed farm made your life full. At one time the Funke children wondered if they had a father at all since Alfred would be up and gone before the children arose in the mornings and he would work late into the night getting his farm work done. By the time he returned to the house the children were asleep.
Life at the Plant wasn't all work, there were the Plant Union parties every fall. For one of these functions Angela made a bread kneading pan full of potato salad.
In 1962 Alfred quit the Plant and achieved his goal of full-time farming. He missed the camaraderie of work and every winter returned to the Plant for a visit with the boys.
Alfred and Angela had 4 children, Cheryl, Greg, Sandra and Donald. With Alfred working most of the time when a baby was due to be born a stand-by driver had to be found in case the event took place during working hours.
Alfred and Angela moved to Moose Jaw in 1974 and Alfred continues to farm.
Alfred Funke (l) working at th AB Brick Press
Claybank Brick Plant Site