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The Sorters – Marjorie Brixton

Black and white photo of a woman and a young girl standing outside.

Marjorie Brixton, 1948

Marjorie Dale Brixton was one of the longest serving employees at the Okanagan Centre packinghouse, working as a sorter from 1936 until it closed in 1974. Marjorie worked hard for thirty-eight years to give her daughter the education and opportunities she hadn’t had.

Marjorie Dale was born in Mara, BC, in 1911, one of seven children. When their father passed away at a young age, the children quit school early to contribute to the family. After completing Grade 8, Marjorie worked for a time in various jobs, including a tomato cannery where she met Bob Brixton. They married in 1936 and moved to Okanagan Centre where they both worked for the Okanagan Valley Land Company packinghouse.

In her career as a sorter, Marjorie worked long hours at an often cold and tedious job. Each sorter worked at the same spot each day sorting apples coming along the belt. Talking was frowned upon if it slowed down work.

Sepia photo of twelve women and one man seated or standing outside. Behind them is an old wooden building and a man unloading boxes from a wagon.

Okanagan Valley Land Company packinghouse sorters, 1937


Marjorie became friends with Ikue Kobayashi, another sorter on her line, and helped her to improve her English. Another highlight of Marjorie’s packinghouse days were the many seasonal Doukhobor girls who worked on the sorting line with her. The girls loved to sing, and the whole neighbourhood looked forward to the impromptu choir evenings the girls provided.

Black and white photo of nine young women working inside a building. Four are on one side of a conveyor line of apples and five are on the other side. Most are looking at the photographer and smiling.

Sorting line, Vernon Fruit Union, Oyama, 1940s