Video recorded by the Lake Country Museum & Archives, December 12th, 2015, Kelowna, BC.
Featured photo: Inez Kenney
Location: Oyama, British Columbia
Credits: Photo courtesy of Bill Kenney
Inez Patterson Kenney
Photo montage. Narrated by Bill Kenney, December 12th, 2015
Inez Patterson was born in 1917 in Manitoba. After moving first to Burnaby, BC, her family settled in Oyama in 1933. Inez began working at the Vernon Fruit Union in Oyama in 1936 while attending the Herbert Business College in Kelowna.
In 1940 she moved to Ottawa to work for the Department of National Defense where she met and married Art Kenney. The couple moved to Oyama in 1947.
For the next 22 years, Inez worked at the Oyama packinghouses, first at the BC Shipper’s packinghouse and then at the Vernon Fruit Union. Her career included working as a sorter, a packer, a stamper, a checker, and secretary where she was responsible for shipping, receiving, orders, and payroll as well as office duties.
Black and white photo of Inez Patterson, 1936.
I guess to start off with, my Mom, she, I would say she was incredibly capable.
Black and white photo of the loading dock of the Vernon Fruit Union, Oyama, 1940’s.
She was so good at everything she did.
Black and white photo of a group of men and women standing outside in snow, late 1930s.
She worked at a lot of things, you know, physically, before she became the secretary in the packinghouse.
Black and white photo of a group of women in front of stacked wooden apple boxes, outside a building, late 1930s.
She was a packer, and she picked fruit, and she was always a tremendous community volunteer.
Black and white photo of the front of the Vernon Fruit Union packinghouse, Oyama, 1940s.
So, her life in the packinghouse, it was very much like a United Nations, it was nothing but colourful, and always busy, always exciting, always people coming and going.
Black and white photo of a group of women outside a building, late 1930s. A second, similar photo of the women from a closer angle.
They were constantly playing tricks on one another.
Black and white photo of a group of women in front of a railway freight car, late 1930s.
She kind of did it all. She did payroll, she did records. She recorded everything I guess, that went into and came out of the packinghouse.
Black and white photo of four women standing with their arms along each other’s shoulders, 1936. Inez is second from the right.
I recall, she’d come home from her day’s work. She had a favorite chair with a big flat arm on one side.
Black and white photo of a group of young men and women outside on a deck of a packinghouse with lunchboxes nearby, late 1930s.
And she’d sit down for the evening and do paperwork.
Black and white photo of Inez with another woman and a man, sitting outside on the grass, 1940s. Inez is wearing a kerchief covering her hair and is smiling at the photographer.
And it was usually packinghouse paperwork, keeping up with all the bookkeeping and all the record keeping, because there was a lot that went on in the packinghouse.
Black and white formal group photo of packinghouse staff, early 1950s.