Fish, Dr. Harvey William

Rank:  Major

Force: Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps

Harvey Fish, born in Elk Point AB on June 23, 1907, was the second son of Orlo Jason and Mary Fish.  He was the first white baby born between St. Paul and Onion Lake AB. His mother had to give birth in a crude trappers’ cabin with mice and snakes because he arrived earlier than his due date, and she was unable to make it to the nearest town.  His early education was in Elk Point, but he failed Grade Eight. Then his mother arranged for him to continue school in Calgary where he also attended Normal School and earned a teachers certificate.  After teaching for a few years, Harvey worked on a threshing crew, and for C. N. A., loading railway ties (very hard work in minus 20 to 40 degree weather).  With blessing from his parents, he enrolled in University and earned a B. A. degree in 1932.  In 1925 he married Kathlyn Fenton, a school teacher, and soon they had a son, Donald, and later a daughter, Lynn who was born in McLennan. Harvey continued in his studies, becoming a medical doctor (M. D.) in 1936.  He began his practice in McLennan with Dr. Arthur Piche. Times were hard in the 1930s so many times Harvey’s patients paid “in kind” with a piece of moose, chickens, or other commodity.  During university, Harvey had been in the Canadian Officers Training Corps, so during WW II, he was posted in Grande Prairie as Camp Medical Officer in the R. C. A. Medical Corps.  In 1940, he transferred to the Edmonton Military Hospital. The next year he was posted overseas to Aldershot, England for a month, and then was a Medical Officer in Europe with the 10th Field Ambulance.  Harvey earned two citations, one for “Outstanding good service and great devotion to duty during the Campaign in Northwest Europe, and a second for “Distinguished Service” in 1946.  On November 2, 1945 he returned to Reserve Status as a Major.  After the war, Harvey returned to his practice with Dr. Piche in McLennan, and the two of them built a Clinic Building which housed a drug store, and office.  They were very dedicated doctors and drove long distances in difficult conditions to get to their patients.  Kathlyn and Harvey bought a house in 1946, and became active in the community. From 1946 to 1977 he was the Coroner working closely with RCMP.  Member of the Elks Lodge, and the #153 branch of the McLennan Royal Canadian Legion, he was also Town Councillor and advocated for better roads and other improvements. Dr. Fish also played hockey for a number of years with the McLennan Red Wings.   Kathlyn died suddenly in 1952, and Dr. Piche and family moved away in 1945, so these were times of major sorrow and upheaval.  Harvey met Eileen, a municipal nurse in Tangent, and they were married in 1956.  In 1958 Harvey spent 6 months in Dublin, Ireland for his post-graduate work in Obstetrics.  In the next several years Harvey was instrumental in building an arena which was named after him, a shopping centre, RCMP living quarters and jail, a nursing home, and an addition to the hospital.  In his lifetime, Harvey delivered over 2000 babies.  Harvey passed away at the McLennan Sacred Heart Hospital on June 16, 1978, at age 70. Eileen died in 2001 in Ireland.

Source:   Trails and Rails Vol. 1 pp. 188-191

Trails and Rails Vol. 2 pp. 121 and 262 , p. 558 – Obituary