Percy Arlidge, 1927-2008
Percy Spencer Arlidge, or “Red” as his friends knew him, was born in Viking, Alta. Feb. 9, 1927, and passed away July 24 in the McLennan Hospital at the age of 81 years.
His parents were Audrey Howard Arlidge, born in Meford, Ont. and Mabel Theresa Humel, born in North Dakota, USA.
Red’s family moved to High Prairie when he was three. Red attended the West Prairie School until the eighth grade. Early on in his school years when his teacher asked his name he replied, “Sir Percy, Sir Spencer, Sir Arlidge”. Needless to say, he was quickly escorted to the corner and not referred to as “Sir”.
After leaving school Red worked for various farmers and companies doing odd jobs including a stint as station assistant at the railroad depot in High Prairie.
Red was a talented cat skinner and that’s what brought him to the Grimshaw area in 1953. Coming to Grimshaw for work brought Mary Barhurst and Red together and they stayed together for almost 50 years. Red and Mary started farming together in 1955. Red broke some acres on Mary’s quarter, bought another quarter and later on two quarters to the west and two more to the south. He had to break every acre which was very hard work, especially picking endless amounts of roots and rocks.
Mary had 18 head of cattle at a neighbours so when they had enough land ready for pasture and feed they brought the herd home. Red and Mary also raised pigs, chickens, turkeys and had a big garden. Apparently you never ate beef at their place until the later years as the beef was raised to pay bills. The family ate moose meat - the staple of the settlers. Because of the need for wild game it was fortunate that Red was a good hunter.
Red enjoyed helping his neighbours. Mary often said he would rather do that than his own work. Red and Emil Penno were instrumental in getting electricity hooked up in their area in 1962.
Red liked to tinker and repair. From the time he was a boy, he could weld and do electrical wiring. Most homes and shops built in the neighborhood had Red’s wiring in them. He also liked to do custom combining, whether it was two acres for the Chandlers or 200 acres for Don and Karen.
Red recognized the importance of community and volunteered many hours to make it better. He helped to build the old curling rink, the old hall and the new addition to the hall.
Red loved to curl and in his latter years at about 75 years of age, his fellow curlers would put chairs at each end of the sheet so he could rest after throwing his rocks.
Red never had any children of his own but all of Mary’s grandchildren thought of him as grandpa or as Kari called him “Reddi Boy” because of the porridge he made for them from wheat he grew and ground on the farm. Red would take the children haying, picking berries or mushrooms and especially picking roots and rocks. Wherever they went he’d let them ride in the back of the truck.
He leaves to mourn: his brother, Redford and wife Marj of High Prairie; sisters, Ada Foreman of Lacombe, Alta., Lily Kramer of Regina; numerous nieces and nephews and the Barhurst family.
Red was predeceased by his longtime partner Mary Barhurst; his mother and father; brothers, Walter and Austin; sister Evelyn; two brother-in-laws and Mary’s grandson, Kendall.
It was Red’s wish to live out his years on the farm and thanks to the assistance of Wayne he was able to stay at home living in one of the last original log houses built in the area up until four days before his passing.
The funeral for Red Arlidge was held at the Dixonville Community Hall July 29 with Rev. Joanne Kim officiating.
The eulogist at the funderal was Brian Allen. Pallbearers were Roy Erickson, Carson Hanson, Stan Cartwright, Randy Yasinski, Andy Tunke and Allen Forman.
Interment was at the Central Grove Cemetery.
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