Welcome to the Elmer Ziola Story
Elmer Ziola 25 years of Service plaque
Claybank Brick Plant Site
Elmer Ziola by Grant Ziola
Elmer was born to Albert and Bertha Ziola in Margo, Saskatchewan in 1921 and soon after moved with his mother and younger brother Ted to Avonlea. As a teen, Elmer worked for
various farmers in the area and received the going rate of $.50 per day.
In 1940, with World War II in full swing, Elmer joined the Armed Forces where, as a trooper, he drove tanks and trucks with the Sherbrooke Fusseliers #42 Tank Regiment and was involved in the daring raid to take the bridge at Nijmegen, Holland (depicted in the movie "A Bridge Too Far") and the infamous raid on 'D Day'. After the war ended in Europe, Elmer and some of his buddies signed up for the Pacific Campaign but fortunately Japan surrendered before they were scheduled to go over. He returned home and was discharged
Almost immediately after his return home, Elmer began work at the Brick Plant in Claybank. While at the Plant, Elmer performed many duties. He spent most of his years working on a ' piece work' basis as a Wheeler. This job entailed the handling of each fired, and still hot, brick by hand. Placing them on a wheelbarrow and then delivering and loading them into a rail line boxcar. Removing brick by hand from an extremely hot Kiln would have made the average man wilt!
The men that worked piece work, worked like dogs. Anyone who ran the Transfer Cart was under pressure to have the product to these men on time, because their pay was dependent on the ability to place as many bricks as possible in a day.
Like most men that started in the early days of the Brick Plant Elmer worked at many different jobs during his employment there. In order to get to work he would carpool with other Plant workers such as John Russell, Dick Clarke, Norbert Dombowsky, and Everett Lee to name a few. Elmer didn't take too much time to relax in those days but he did enjoy the odd game of Plant Poker. (I think someone could have marketed that game and made millions it was so popular).
Elmer was an extremely hard worker, as were most that worked at the Plant. In 1971 he received a watch and plaque for 25 Years of Service, he continued working until 1982, totaling 36 years at the Plant. Elmer's son Rob and son-in-law Ken Kirkpatrick followed in his footsteps also working for a few years for A.P. Green Refractories (Claybank Brick Plant).
Later in life Elmer suffered from severe arthritis aggravated by years of work in extreme hot and cold weather but he was never one to complain. He spent his last few years in Moose Jaw, always looking forward to visits from his children and especially his 11 grandchildren whom he adored. Elmer passed away March 2, 1994.