Dorscheid, John Eugene “Jack”

Force: Army Medical Corps
Regimental Number: M35489

In 1921, Anton and Emma Dorscheid and family that consisted of four sons, Arthur (1904), John (March 21, 1909), Charles (1912), and Earl (1919) moved from Windom, Minnesota, USA to an area west of Bezanson known as Glen Leslie to join their daughter, Sylvira (1899) and her husband Herman Kimble. The Dorscheid’s purchased land from Dr. John Peschong and lived in a log house with a sod roof for many years. The children went to the Crystal Creek School and were very active in sports. Through hard work and perseverance, Anton and his sons built up a sizable farm and cattle operation.

In July 1928, Jack filed a homestead application on SE-23-71-4-W6 and received the patent on the property in 1937. On July 9, 1930, he married Laura Myrtle Dixon, the local school teacher, who was originally from Beaverlodoge. The young couple settled on the farm at Glen Leslie and had a daughter, Myrtle Dixon Dorscheid on June 6, 1931. Sadly, Laura passed away from scarlet fever and was buried on June 13, 1931 at the Glen Leslie Cemetery. As scarlet fever was so contagious, the coffin was lined with glass. Jack met Berneice Ames who was working for his parents and the young couple subsequently married in 1932. They settled on the farm where they raised their two sons; Larry and Jerry. Myrtle was raised by the Dixon family.

Anton and Emma passed away in 1939 following which their sons managed the farm. His brothers, Charles and Earl enlisted in the Army on June 24, 1940. On May 25, 1941, Jack enlisted with the Army in Grande Prairie. He was stationed at Edmonton and Calgary for training before being sent to Camp Borden in Ontario where he was transferred to the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corp. Berneice and their sons had moved to live with Jack until he embarked for England on June 3, 1942. While stationed in England, Jack successfully completed a Group “B” and Group “C” carpentry courses and worked as a carpenter keeping the hospitals operating after they were bombed. He also successfully completed a “Class A” barber course and a first aid course through St. John’s Ambulance. Jack was discharged on demobilization on October 16, 1945 in Calgary and returned home where he once again, farmed with his brother Earl. Private John Dorscheid served in Canada and the United Kingdom and received the Defence Medal, 1939-45 War Medal and the Canadian Volunteer Medal with Clasp. Unfortunately, Charles was killed in action on August 19, 1944 in France.

In order to supplement the farm income, Jack and Earl decided to enter into the sawmill business during the winter months and established their mill-site slightly north of Moon’s Mill that was located north of Clarkson Valley. They sub-contracted timber from Moon’s Mill and hired many local farmers. Their brother, Art Dorscheid, was the flunky and his wife Rosie was the cook. Eventually Earl and Jack retired and their sons took over management of the farm that included the original Dorscheid land. Art and his family lived on his father’s land.

As well, Jack was employed by the Grande Prairie Lumber Company, building roads and managing their sawmill. Following which, he was hired as the foreman for Earl and Phil Nilsson’s sawmill. The next winter was spent as the foreman for Ralph & Earl Norton’s Construction business cutting lines for Oil Companies south of the Wapiti River.

Once Jack’s sons became older and were interested in ranching, they decided to purchase a herd of cattle from Tom Warden. A few years later, Jack became interested in municipal politics and was elected County Councillor in 1959 – a position he held for six years. During that time, Jack served as chairman of the Agriculture Service Board and was also named to the school and municipal committees, served on the County Planning and Hospital Boards and was also named Warden of East Smoky Parks. Although he enjoyed the time spent as a councilor, he realized that his ever-expanding farm required more of his time. He therefore resigned from the county duties in 1965. Jack enjoyed the next few years of farming and ranching before he passed away suddenly at his home in 1973. He was buried at the Glen Leslie Cemetery. Berneice passed away in 2001 and was buried at the Glen Leslie Cemetery.

Contributed by Wanda Zenner

Source: Smoky River to Grande Prairie p. 426
Herald Tribune – June 19, 1931 p. 1. c. 1 (wife death); July 25, 1930 p. 5 c. 4 (married); June 16, 1959 p. 1 c. 1 (county); April 5, 1960 p. 1 c. 5 (Agr. Serv. Bd.)
Interview with Violet Dorscheid – daughter-in-law