Theisson, Peter

Peter was born in Russia and immigrated to Canada in 1924.  As Mennonites, his family joined the mass exodus of religious groups from Russia due to intolerable conditions.  Peter, his two brothers, John and Abe, a sister Leona and his widowed mother made up the Thiessen family.  Their mother later married Jacob Neufeldt and had 5 more children born in Canada: Henry, Deitrich, Jacob, Mary, and Anna.

The family first settled in Saskatchewan and attended school for three years where the boys learned English and served as interpreters for their step-father, especially in business.  The family then moved on to the Peace Country, arriving in Wembley, Alberta, where Abe got a job as a store clerk, and then settling in Goodfare.  Peter’s step-father bought a quarter section at NW8-72-12-W6.

Peter at age 13 got a job working for a farmer around Beaverlodge, but had to return to school as he was under the age of 15, which was the legal age to leave school.  After he legally left school, he went to work for another farmer and then did odd jobs until he got a job with the local storekeeper.

Peter worked at the store/post office until he joined the army in 1942, learning lots about the fur trade and the retail business.  He was wounded in Italy and discharged in 1945, returning to Goodfare.  Finding both the storekeeper and his wife in failing health and wanting to retire, Peter then bought the storekeeper’s business.

On June 6, 1946, Peter married Elsie Schweitzer and both took over running the store.  He did a lot of business in the fur trade.  They had three children: Janice, Garry and Judith, all raised in Goodfare.

In 1954, they built a new store and in 1968 they sold the business, retiring to Beaverlodge.  Peter’s mother and step-father moved to B.C. after selling their farm.

Source: Pioneer Round-Up pg. 100