Jack and Vera Soars. — 1916-1990. — 4 cm of textual records. — 6 photographs. — 2 sound recordings.
Edward John (Jack) Soars was born July 9, 1916 in Peace River. His father was a lineman and his uncle a surveyor in the early 1900s when the land was being surveyed around the area. He recalled a carefree childhood roaming the banks of the Peace River. In 1939 Jack arrived in Grande Prairie to join the staff of CFGP Radio station which was two years old and the only radio station in the area. It was an era when radio personnel went out regularly to cover local events and the station was available for people to phone in announcements and local hockey games were broadcast by his brother-in-law, Fran Tanner. Jack joined the air force during WW II and when he returned to CFGP after the war he started on open line show where people phoned in from all over the Peace country, collect, and could express their views on any topic. He was very interested in the history of the area and invited pioneers to write down memories of their early days in the Peace country and submit them to him. He converted them to scripts and read them on his “Pioneering” program.
Vera Isabel Tanner was born in Mazenod, Saskatchewan on September 2, 1915, second child of Victor and Dorothy Tanner. Her siblings were Donald, Dorothy, and Francis (Fran). The family moved to Grande Prairie in the 1920s. Dorothy (Sr.) died at a young age and Vera was like a mother to Francis. Vera attended school in Grande Prairie Business School and received training in shorthand and typing.
She married Jack Soars in 1940 and they had four children: Diane, John, Gail and Margaret. As a young person, Vera played softball and skated and as an adult she was a member of the ladies bowling and curling clubs in Grande Prairie. She was also a member of I.O.D.E. and Christ Church Anglican Women’s Auxiliary. She loved to bake and was always generous, sharing with the neighborhood families whenever she baked.
Vera died in Grande Prairie on Oct. 1,1995. Jack died in Grande Prairie on February 16, 2012.
The records were donated by Gail Frey, Jack’s daughter, to the South Peace Regional Archives in 2007, 2009, and 2012.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of 6 photographs (4 relating to his RCAF service, 1943), 3 certificates congratulating Jack and his wife Vera on their fiftieth wedding anniversary, a CD copy of an interview Jack conducted with J.B. Oliver, a copy of a school project written by Joan (Oliver) Little on the history of CFGP, and a newspaper column “Jottings from Alberta” for which Jack was the correspondent. An accrual consists of a receipt for Norman Soars for a birth certificate (1916), high school examination results, records relating to Jack’s service during WWII in the Royal Canadian Air Force including a cerificate ofappointment as Pilot Officer in 1944 and a Central Mortgage and Housing report (1957); 4 scripts, 1 appears to be a speech and a collection of jokes and newsarticles, a booklet “Alberta Folklore Quarterly” and 7 crests related to curling and 3 from CFGP. A further accrual included digital copies of recordings of Jack presenting “Tapestry of Christmas” broadcasts on CFGP.
Vera’s documents include records as a student in grade 6,a grade 8 Public School Leaving Diploma, a Elementary Certificate from St. Martin’s House, Toronto, for Pitman’s Shorthand (1936), and one from Pitman House, Toronto where she qualified for Stage 2 Pitman Shorthand (1937) and certificates from Grande Prairie Business College qualifying for Intermediate Typing and Advanced Typing (1937), a certificate of baptism (1920), a confirmation certificate (1932) and a crest from the Grande Prairie Ladies Curling Champions.
Related records: fonds 364 Francis V. Tanner, fonds 504 , sound recording 2008.021