Welcome to the Doug Henderson Story
Doug Henderson with Service awards
Claybank Brick Plant Site
Doug (Sparky) Henderson
by Dawn & Ken Huber with assistance from
Len Kitchen & Thelma (Henderson)Thompson.
Dad was born at Montmartre, Saskatchewan on April 25th,1918. As a young boy he moved with his family to Rouleau, where he received his education. Dad served in the Canadian Armed Forces from 1942-1946.
On January 21,1946 in the Army Chapel in Regina, Dad married Thelma Kitchen of the Avonlea area. Captain Joy conducted the service.
Doug receiving Years of Service awards presented by George Barbeau field representative for A.P. Green Refractories
They moved to Rouleau for a short while and then, with their son Leonard, moved to the Kitchen farm at Avonlea. There they farmed with Thelma's mother, while also working for Bill McRorie on his farm.
Fred Message was an employee at the Claybank Brick Plant and with his help Dad got a job there. Charlie Arthur was the Plant Manager at that time.
Dad bought a house in Hearne, moved his family and on August 9th, 1948 started work at the Brick Plant. Having been employed in those years meant his wage would have been well below $1.00/hour. His first job was on the "transfer". The "Transfer" (Transfer man) was manually pushing or pulling the loaded trolley cars (Transfer Carts) filled with bricks into the Drying Tunnels, then picking them up again at the Drying Tunnels exits and moving them to the Kilns to be fired. Once they were fired and
cooled, the bricks were wheeled to the storage sheds or to a waiting boxcar. This was one of the most physically demanding jobs at the Plant. Dad remained on the "Transfer" for about a year or so before his health gave way, at this time he worked up on the screens then was trained as a Fireman, which was the final position he held at the Plant.
Of the many memories Mom has, she does have one favorite. Apparently, Ken and Lucile Oakley with their little daughter Pat, (babe in arms) were trying to get from Moose Jaw to Claybank so Ken could get to work at the Plant. The small family encountered a winter storm, had a flat tire and got as far as Currs' farm where they stayed the night. Having gotten on their way the following morning, they traveled as far as Hearne and again another flat tire. Dad went to help Ken get the tire fixed while Lucile and baby Pat visited with Mom. Once the tire was fixed, they were on there way yet again to Claybank and work.
Dad's dedication to his job was always very apparent. In the early years during the winter when the roads were impassible, he and George Webber would travel together on Sunday evenings to the Plant, staying in the Bunkhouse along with the other men for the week returning home Friday nights for the weekend.
Len shared his memories of Dad walking, along with Jim Holden, John Miller and Stan Shepherd, out to Edgar Aiken's south of Hearne. There they would all climb into Edgar's army jeep and head off across country carefully picking their path to get to work. In 1968, Dad and Claire Bowlby started to travel in style, when the roads were blocked in winter, by snowmobile!
Ken remembers the twinkle in Dad's eyes and the chuckle in his voice when he had his weekly "joke" to tell, the joke being collected at the Plant. He loved a good joke and had many a good belly laugh to go with them.
As a young girl my favorite memory is of standing on the car seat with my arm around his neck the day I got to go to "work" with Dad. After a visit to the office for whatever reason, he took me over to the Bunkhouse, which was run by a Chinese fellow. I can still vividly remember the vanilla ice cream cone he bought for me.
In his over thirty years of employment at the Plant, Dad saw many changes, mostly for the better. One change that was significant was the Kilns going from being coal fired to natural gas. With this change, no longer did the firemen have to drag out the "clinkers" and contend with coal dust covering them; they simply had to adjust the gauges.
In 1968, Dad received his 20-year pin for service. In 1973, George Barbeau presented him with his 25 years pin, plaque and gold watch for service and in 1979, the employees each received an engraved pocketknife for 3 consecutive years "accident free", September 1976 to September 1979.
In 1981, Dad received a gold pin, and a gold money clip holding 33 one dollar bills, with the serial numbers in consecutive numerical order, for his then 33 years of service at the Plant.
Dad remained an employee of the Brick Plant until his death on April 20th, 1983.
Doug Henderson in the Plant
Claybank Brick Plant Site