Frank Ernest Jameson was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta on September 12, 1921, the only child of Ernest Oswald Jameson and Lilian (Lily) Edith (nee Forest). The family moved to Ladysmith when Frank was four years of age and after working for a short time in the logging industry, Frank’s father eventually started his own flour and feed business which he operated for 30 years until his retirement. The senior Jameson also served as an alderman on the town council and mayor in the 1940’s. His profile is covered on a separate page of this site.
Although growing up and attending school in Ladysmith during the Great Depression, Frank later recalled these years as being carefree and special. He was very active in sports; softball, baseball, track and field, soccer and basketball. In 1939 he was pitcher and shortstop for the Ladysmith team which won the BC Junior Softball Championship in Vancouver. Members of the team were celebrating their victory when they heard that war had just been declared.
Shortly after, Frank enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navel Volunteer Reserve and after a training stint in St. Hyacinth’s, Quebec spent the next 6 years doing escort work on a mine sweeper in the North Atlantic. While overseas he served with the 31st Mine Sweeping Flotilla and on D-Day found himself on a mine sweeper clearing the way for the American fleet off Omaha beach.
At the conclusion of hostilities he returned to Ladysmith and worked in the family business, Jameson Flour and Feeds which was situated at the corner of High Street and 1st Avenue. He had become engaged to Pearl Wilson and on his return, they married. The couple were to have three children; Kerry Lynn (born February 3, 1947), Patricia or Paddy (born March 27, 1949) and Greg (born July 25, 1953).
On returning to Ladysmith, Frank also rejoined the volunteer fire department eventually becoming Chief, a position he held for 14 years.
In the late fifties Frank left the family feed business and learned the carpentry trade at the Crofton Pulp Mill. He was to remain there for 20 years during which time he also served on the Executive of the local Pulp and Papers Workers Union of Canada, 4 of them as President. He was also a National Vice President of the PPWC and Western Vice President on the Council of Canadian Unions. Years later he started his own business, “House of Wood” with his son Greg. Pearl and their daughter, Kerry also worked there making woodcrafts, etc.
Frank entered local politics on December 15, 1971 when he along with another newcomer, George Nash defeated 5 other aldermanic candidates. Frank topped the polls, receiving more than double the votes received by the others. In 1978, following the tragic death of Mayor Bob Stuart killed by a tractor trailer in Ontario; Frank was elected to the mayors chair by acclamation. Unopposed, he won that position again in 1980 and 1982 retiring as mayor in November, 1984.
During his tenure in public office, Jameson as Ladysmith’s representative to the Cowichan Valley Regional District for 9 years was a staunch critic of that organization. He had been determined to pull Ladysmith out of the district but at his retirement did note that the CVRD was now “serving the purpose for which it was intended”. Some of his accomplishments as mayor include helping to improve the town’s recreational facilities, improving road works, a bigger water supply with a new dam put in, upgrading of the sewage system, implementing the harbor plan and initiating public hearings on the town plan.
In addition to his other public duties, Jameson served as executive member of the Association of Vancouver Island Municipalities and was a member of the Ladysmith Celebrations Committee for 14 years. He was an executive member of the Royal Canadian Legion, a member and President of the local harbor association as well as the recreation commission and the Harbour Advisory Board.
Frank Ernest Jameson died of a heart attack on June 23, 1987 in his beloved Ladysmith. In October, 1987, the Ladysmith Community Centre was officially dedicated as the “Frank Jameson Centre”. His widow, Pearl unveiled a plaque which hangs in the entrance of the building which her husband did so much to bring about. The mayor at that time, Alex Stuart, in recalling some of the many areas in which Frank served the town, indicated that Frank had been involved with nearly every service group in Ladysmith.
Article by Rollie Rose from The Chronicle