Home Town or Home Community:
Saskatoon and Dinsmore
KALLIO, Willard and Jean
My father, Leo Kallio lived on the Finland side of the Tornio River, across from Sweden. The family lived on a rock cliff on the bank (Cliff-Kallio in Finish). He was the oldest of 12 and went to Minnesota in 1904. His brother John came later and in 1912 they went to Saskatchewan and homesteaded on a ¼ section each near Dinsmore. My mother came over several years later and married John. They had two children but John and the children all died from the flu epidemic of 1919, leaving my mother a widow. She came back to Dinsmore and married Leo in 1921.
John and Leo had bought a ½ section in 1918 and John built a house and barn (still standing) on it. Another uncle, Matt, broke all of the ½ section that summer. My daughter Lynne and her family live on it now, 18 miles south of Dinsmore.
I was born June 13 1922 at my parents’ farm. I went to a country school two miles away by a Shetland pony (Violet) and my dad took me by horse and sleigh in the winter. I was the only child my parents had. We had about 15 kids in eight grades and I took 9 and 10 by correspondence. I went to Nutana Collegiate in Saskatoon for grades 11 and 12 and took 5 years of engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, graduating in 1944.
All of us engineering students spent the summer holidays in 1943 in the army and went back on graduation day. We went to Kingston and Brockville for training and upon getting my commission was sent to Vancouver, Prince George (V.E. Day), Prince Rupert and Victoria.
In Victoria I met Jean Rublee, a medical officer, at the bar at the officers mess in Workpoint Barracks.
Jean was born in Allan, the daughter of a country doctor, Dr. Orson Rublee, a McGill graduate for Sherbrooke PQ. Jean had gone to Nutana and the U of S when I did but we didn’t know each other. She had also gone to McGill for her medical degree and had been posted to Victoria.
Jean and I courted in Victoria, Empress Dinner Dances and we were both discharged in the spring. Dr. Rublee dies in the spring and Jean took over his practice until we were married in Wilkie, where they then lived, on June 29, 1946. At that time her brother Jack took over the practice. We had a honeymoon in Calgary and Banff and returned to the farm. That fall we both went back to school at the University of Toronto for the winter. We returned to the farm in the spring and had our first boy, Larry, in June 1947 at the Lucky Lake Hospital.
My father built a house in Saskatoon in the Nutana area that summer and my parents moved there in July 1947. We lived on the farm for the next forty years but had constant contact with my parents in Saskatoon.
We had four more boys, Bob, Rick, Jack and Randy from 1949 to 1959 and finally a daughter Lynne born in the middle of the doctors strike in 1962. Our doctor had delivered all of our kids at the City Hospital and was not going on strike.
We finally got electricity in 1956 and the roads were improved and snowplowed in the winter.
In 1953 we set up a school unit (Eston to Dinsmore to Kyle) and I was elected to the board. We set up a school to serve the area south of Dinsmore and used a school bus and bombardier for a few years. I was involved in the affairs for thirty years while in the executive and finally vice president position.
My wife and I were both involved with the library development and I was the first chairman for ten years for the Wheatland Regional Library (Lanigan to Alberta). We both did a lot of work in setting it up and getting more municipalities to join. It is still running well today. I was on the University Senate for 12 years and served on the University board for 6 years. We started Innovation Place and planned the Agriculture Building. My kids went to University and Technical school and I am still interested as my grandchildren are now there.
Jean served on the Royal University Hospital for several years and I was on the City Hospital Board for some years, involved in the design and building of the new beautiful City Hospital.
We built a cottage on Diefenbaker shortly after the dam was built. We founded a resort village and served on the council for 11 years and were very involved with the Provincial Association of Resort Communities for 10 years.
We are still involved with many groups. I am a member of the Saskatoon Club playing bridge most afternoons. I am still a member of the Chamber of Commerce and go to luncheons and agricultural committees. I’ve been secretary of the Saskatoon Cosmopolitan Club for 10 years. The club was established in 1928 and has built the Cosmopolitan Seniors Centre on 11th Street and Broadway Avenue, established Cosmopolitan Industries which now provide busing and work in scrap paper for 300 handicapped people in Saskatoon. They also built Eamer Court and Stensrud Lodge with 100 senior rooms and full care.
My father died in 1955 and my mother in 1966. Our children lived in my dad’s house while they went to school or worked in Saskatoon. In 1988 my daughter Lynne and her family moved to the farm and moved permanently into the house. We have two boys, Bob and Randy in Saskatoon, Lynn on the farm and Rick a Catholic Priest living in France. We have 8 granddaughters, one grandson and one great granddaughter.
In 1999 Jean went to a private care home and in September 2000 I moved to Luther Riverside Terrace and two of Bob’s daughters live in my old house.
The Terrace is a nice place to live as people who work here are very nice to us. All the people in the Terrace are nice, even though we men are outnumbered 4 to 1, but we men hold our own!
Grandma Kallio (Jean Kallio) – Eulogy
My sisters and I are very fortunate to have grown up so close to our Grandma Kallio, “Grandma Up-The-Hill.” She was a special influence in our lives.
From the time we were little girls, we knew our grandma was special….in fact, we knew she was brilliant. For as long as I can remember I knew the story of how Grandma graduated from Grade 12 with a ninety-five average. My report card would come and I would wish for the same…..it was a benchmark, it was a goal. Too young for nursing our Grandma went to medical school, a trailblazer at a time when few women even thought to aspire to such a goal. As I set off for Montreal in the fall, I will be thinking of her doing the same over sixty years ago. We, the granddaughters, grew up with this story – it is something of which I have always been proud, which so greatly influenced my life. Cynthia, me, Leah and girl after girl followed. Uncle Bill would say “no good, no good” (he couldn’t wait for Tyler), be we girls were blessed. Even though Grandma herself rarely spoke of medical school, when she bathed our sunburns in vinegar we knew it wasn’t crazy (or maybe we just needed a reason to endure it) because our Grandma was a doctor and because of this somehow I knew I could be anything I wanted to be “When I grew up.”
She was always “Doc” to Grandpa and to the rest of the neighborhood. When I was young I remember the neighbours phoning to ask Grandma what to do about their sick kids. Plus, she always had surgical scissors and bottles of odd medicines (calamine lotion and 292’s come to mind first!).
When Grandma and Grandpa moved to Kallio Farms and began to focus on family, Grandma gave up her career as a doctor and devoted her time and energy to raising six children. Larry, Bob, Rick, Jack, Randy and Lynne became her life – a life she was proud of and very good at.
When I began to think of my memories of Grandma, a theme soon emerged – FOOD! From peach and Saskatoon pie, angel food and marble cakes, chop suey, pot roast and Sunday roast beef dinners, to our ultimate treat – Finnish flatbread (which I am convinced you can live on, especially as a University student). I remember when we came home and Grandma would give us a loaf of bread on our way down the stairs – we ate the whole loaf with butter for supper. One other memory is the lemonade she used to send to the field in the dish detergent bottles, Kraft Dinner too – she made it for lunch every time they came to stay at 901 (and they loved it!)
Grandma used to wait until everyone was finished eating – essentially she would wait on us – and then when everyone was done she would sit down, with a book, and eat while reading. It is from her that we gained our love of reading, as did our Dad). She would let us read anything – all books were good books!
We also spent a lot of time with Grandma at the lake. She would swim when it was too cold for anyone else, and Grandpa would make hot buttered rum afterwards. We also played games with her – Scrabble, Rummy, Fish and Boggle. She was pretty lenient with us) didn’t let us cheat exactly, but would bend the rules_. She did however put her foot down when Uncle Rick tried to use Hebrew words!
Rich and Grandma played “Kallio rules” – Dad played “Scrabbles” rules! And who could forget the endless jigsaw puzzles on the dining room table” and the soap operas (Another World)? There are so many other memories, our own and those shared. The beauty products: especially black Clairol hair dye, Chanel No. 5, Nivea Cream in the blue jar and Jergens lotions (that sweet cherry and almond scent will always remind is of her). Picking (and eating) raspberries and her fabulous raspberry jam. Again with the food, but it begun with the picking – crabapples, peas, beans, potatoes (which were the least fun, especially at Chesters!), including the memory of her rubber gardening boots and wow, she indulged all of us so much (I should say, spoiled us rotten). Even Don! She would make him a mess of the pork hocks and sauerkraut that he loved, even though no one else would eat it (except Grandpa, because she’d just tell him he liked it!). She even stayed home from China to be with Lynne who was expecting Brianna – she couldn’t be traipsing around the East when her baby was having a baby! But the spoiling was so wonderful – from the fame snow on the windows at Christmas to picking the first crocuses every spring behind the machine shed to starting us all off to early coffee addictions (beginning with a cup of evaporate milk with an ounce of coffee!).
Grandma and Grandpa had a very special and interesting relationship. It used to amaze me that he could talk about his “whatchimacallit” and that “whatchimacallit” and she would always know what he was talking about. Another favorite is the questions he would ask at the dinner table….”Doc, do I like this?” The reply was always “Yes Cal”. They also had their differences – primarily in politics. Grandma was a die-hard Liberal and Grandpa went to the “dark side.” CBC radio did a special on them after a picture appeared in the Star Phoenix and saw both a Reform sign and a Liberal sign on the front lawn. They were such different people, but their love for each other was unlike any other. Leah remembers waking up one Saturday night at the lake, not long ago and watching them dancing to the oldies – Doc and Cal.
I was the lucky one, or so I feel. I got to spend Grandma’s last good years living with her. I may never get the stench of moijaka out of the vents, but I loved being so close. I spent almost as much time upstairs as I did down. I got to see the sweetness between “Doc and Cal” in great detail – we all remember Grandma sitting in bed on Sunday mornings, reading and Gramps would bring her coffee. I was also the bossy one, and Grandpa and I would fight about the importance of milk’s expiration date and other trivialities and I am certain we kept her entertained. Grandma was a woman of few words, but I remember one Saturday morning Grandpa woke me up at 7 am to give me hell for throwing out his moldy, gross “containers” – he went back upstairs and I could hear Grandma say “You go right back down there and apologize to her because if she leaves, I leave!” And so he did, with a little smirk. She was our referee, our touchstone and she made living there ever so wonderful, no matter what. It is beautiful because of her that out relationship is so strong today – and I would not give that up for the world.
We and the entire family would like to thanks Joyce and the staff at the Dignified Care Home for treating Grandma with dignity and respect. It truly was Grandma’s home for the past couple of years. Special thanks also to Grandpa, who learned how to do the laundry and cook so that grandma could stay at home as long as she did.
We also want to thank everyone for your condolences and mostly your presence. Our Grandma was an unforgettable woman, a role model, a shoulder to cry on and someone who made you want to love as she loved. She is my inspiration and I love her with all of my heart – and for the little ones, I promise to share her with them, so they too will know how wonderful she was.
It gives us great comfort that Grandma is in a better place now and somewhere the smell of fresh bread is wafting out of an oven – the angels are eating well today. She is and always will be the most inspirational figure in our lives – Our Grandma up the hill.