McNally, Stephen

Regimental Number: M35751
Rank: Gunner

Stephen, born in the Drake District of Saskatchewan on May 19, 1922, was the 2nd oldest in Mary and Peter McNally’s family of six children. He had an older sister, Dorothy and three younger brothers; Terrance, Bob and Andrew and one younger sister, Rose, who had passed away as an infant. In April 1919, Peter decided to move his family to Grande Prairie. They stayed at the Immigration Hall until they found a place to rent. Peter eventually rented a quarter of land and the family moved into an existing log cabin on the property. In October 1929, Peter acquired a ½ section of land in an area of Bezanson known as Fitzsimmons. Steve and his siblings attended the Lindsay School until the Fitzsimmons School District was established and a school was built. Steve completed Grade 7 at the Fitzsimmons One-Room School. In July of 1937, Steve went to work for Tom Warden as well as Tuttle Graham until he was in a position to rent land (NE 32-71-5-W6) on which to start his own farming operation. In lieu of pay, Steve had the use of Tom Warden’s horses and equipment.

On May 27, 1941, Steve enlisted in the Royal Canadian Army. He was transferred to Edmonton for basic training followed by further training in Calgary, Debert (Nova Scotia) and Sussex (New Brunswick). He embarked for the United Kingdom on August 7, 1942; arrived in England and began advanced training. Steve was transferred to France in July 1944. He also served in Belgium, Holland and Germany where he remained until November 1945 at which time he arrived back in the United Kingdom. Gunner Stephen McNally served in Canada, the United Kingdom and Continental Europe and received the 1939-45 Star, France & Germany Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45 and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp. He was discharged on demobilization on February 4, 1946 in Calgary.

Once discharged, Steve found employment hauling logs with horses at Moon’s Mill north of Clarkson Valley, Alberta. On November 28, 1949, Steve married Edna Wurtz who was originally from a Mennonite Colony in Saskatchewan. They had three children; Herbert Andrew, Steven Bruce and Kathy Ann. Steve continuously worked in logging camps and for local farmers for several years before purchasing land of his own that was located five miles east of Grande Prairie. Finances were exceptionally limited at that time; however, Steve did manage to purchase 40 acres off of the quarter of land before it was foreclosed upon. In 1958, the Imperial Planer Mill opened in Grande Prairie and Steve worked there until it closed. Steve then became employed by Canfor as soon as it opened and remained there until retirement. However, hobby farming was Steve’s passion and he often had students come to the farm for field trips. He supplied sheep to the rodeos and was a life-time member of the Grande Prairie Agricultural Society that is now known as Evergreen Park. He participated in most of the stock classes and was very interested in horse racing and heavy horse pulls. Edna worked as a custodian for the Public School Board. One of the McNally’s proudest moments was when they were honoured as the “Agricultural Family” of the year. Once retired, Edna loved to play bingo and Steve continued with his hobby farming. They both enjoyed spending time with friends and family; especially the grandchildren.

Steve passed away on April 14, 2006 and Edna passed away on October 2, 2015. Both are buried at the Grande Prairie Cemetery. It appears that Steve is buried in his parents’ plot.

Contributed by Wanda Zenner

Smoky River to Grande Prairie
Service File
Interview with Kathy McNally (daughter)