Community Papers

Former SS Moyie curator passes

June Griswold (left) is seen delivering lost artwork to Kootenay Lake Historical Society archivist Elizabeth Scarlett in 2011. - Submitted photo
June Griswold (left) is seen delivering lost artwork to Kootenay Lake Historical Society archivist Elizabeth Scarlett in 2011.
— image credit: Submitted photo

June Griswold, former curator of the SS Moyie and longtime secretary of the Kootenay Lake Historical Society, has died at 87.

The historic ship played a key role when she and husband Harry decided to settle near Kaslo. In 1968, having built their log house, outbuildings, and established their gardens, they joined the historical society.

Harry was maintenance chair of the ship for many years, while June was secretary from 1972-89 and curator from 1982. During this period the ship's designation as a National Historic Site was affirmed with a plaque and the book Pioneer Families of Kaslo was published.

June was also convenor of annual fundraising teas on the ship from 1973-89 which commemorated groups including Kaslo pioneers, former crew members, veterans, and former May queens.

In 1987 she, with many others, was part of the SOS campaign which raised $75,000 locally for the ship, encouraging the provincial and federal governments to provide matching funds.

This allowed the society to stabilize, preserve and begin restoration of the ship, which was launched in 1898. Throughout, June wrote regular articles to document the society's activities.

June Stacel was born in 1926 in Coeur d'Alene Idaho to parents in the logging industry and moved with them throughout Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.

In Oregon she met Harry Griswold, a young logger, and they married in 1952.

They homesteaded near Kaslo for 37 years, where they raised daughters Julia and Nola, instilling practical skills. Farming, horse logging, gardening, and tending livestock were a daily part of life.

In 1990 June and Harry moved to the Shuswap to be closer to their daughters. June quickly got involved in local organizations reflecting her interests in local history and food production including the local seed savers group and Salmon Arm Community Band. Her efforts were recognized in 2010 when she received the Kay Braby Community Spirit Award at the Women of the Year event staged by the Women in Business of Salmon Arm.

Griswold died on December 10 in Salmon Arm. She is survived by her daughters and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.

"June always put others before herself," said Elizabeth Scarlett of the Kootenay Lake Historical Society. "She loved people of all ages and had many friends locally and internationally. Her passing has left a large hole in the lives of all those she touched with her gentle persistent ways, bright blue eyes and keen mind."

A celebration of her life will be held in Enderby on May 17. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to the SS Moyie, Haney Heritage Museum, or Enderby Museum.

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