LaValley, Roger Edward

Regimental Number: M562676 (Army); R150575 (Air Force)
Rank: Leading Aircraftman

Roger, born on April 6, 1919, was the 2nd oldest of Thomas and Elizabeth (nee Baker) LaValley’s five children; Allie, Roger, Lorna, Irene, Vernon. The senior LaValley’s moved from International Falls, Minnesota to Grande Prairie in 1917. Thomas quickly found employment and while living there, a daughter Allie was born. Homestead land was applied for in the Rio Grande District; however, the family did not stay long and moved back to Grande Prairie where Thomas again found employment. Shortly after Roger was born, Thomas filed an application for a homestead in the Bezanson area. Over the next four years, the family resided in Grande Prairie until Thomas had land cleared and broke and had a frame house built along with a log barn.

Roger, along with his siblings, attended the Lindsay One-Room School and worked on the family farm and for neighbors. He also spent one summer fighting fires at Blueberry Mountain.

In November 1940, Roger enrolled with the Army (NPAM) and underwent two months of basic training in Grande Prairie with the 2nd Edmonton Regiment (Regimental # M562676). He completed the training on January 2, 1941. On January 8, 1942, Roger enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force in Edmonton. He was then stationed on the West Coast of BC at the 3rd Repair Depot. Roger was transferred to Tofino, BC to help build a new base. After which Roger went overseas and spent the remainder of his war service on the European Continent. Roger had said that he spent a lot of time peeling potatoes. It wasn’t until years later that his family learned that he delivered messages to the frontlines on a motorcycle. Other duties included bomb armourer and service police. Roger sent money home to his parents which they saved for him thus enabling him to purchase a ¼ section of land on the banks of the Smoky River. Roger was discharged on demobilization and arrived home on his mother’s birthday. He was officially discharged on April 2, 1946 in Calgary after spending five years in the war. LAC Roger LaValley received the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp, 1939-45 Star, Defence Medal, France and Germany Star.

He spent the following summer attending rodeos around Pincher Creek. Once he returned home to Bezanson, he along with several others held the first unrecorded Bezanson Stampede. Music was always a big part of the LaValley household and Roger joined Ford’s Orchestra. During that time, he met and subsequently married Emily Marek on July 21, 1948. Roger moved a house from Hythe and the young couple set-up residence on NE 19-72-2-W6 at Bezanson (the old Porier place). Roger and Emily had eight children, Duane, Arne, Mona, Gregg, Grant, Rosalie, Judy and Mark. Roger and Emily purchased Lloyd Nellis’ property and lived in the log house that was original built by the Calliou family in 1916. The farm expanded to include a large herd of beef cattle with the cattle being herded to a lease across the Smoky and Puskwaskau Rivers – a distance of 55 miles and encompassed three to four days.

Roger passed away on November 18, 1974 and was buried at the Grande Prairie Cemetery.

Contributed by Wanda Zenner

Smoky River to Grande Prairie
Military section by Roger’s daughter, Rosalie (LaValley) Cissell
Service file provided by Roger’s son Duane LaValley