Manne Salle has spent 100 years living, working and volunteering in the North Thompson Valley.

Manne Salle has spent 100 years living, working and volunteering in the North Thompson Valley.

Manne Salle: 100 years old and counting

Valley Voices - Manne Salle: 100 years old and counting

Manne (Wolfgang Arnold Salle), was born Dec. 26, 1913, to Ernst and Emma Salle, who were new immigrants from Germany to Boulder Mountain, Chinook Cove, B.C. in 1912.  Manne – meaning ‘little man’, was the fifth child, wth his other siblings Volkmar, Uli, Bruno and Herta,  and later on sister Inge.

Manne’s family lived in a log house on Boulder Mountain Road, where other immigrants who had accompanied the Salles to Canada helped them with an addition to the house to make it three times bigger.

Manne tells of his early years, saying, “My formal education was sketchy beacuse of my size and my health wasn’t good, so I walked down the mountain to Chinook Cove two to four days a week for a total of six years.  The first high school correspondence courses were not a huge success.  I did try them awhile, but couldn’t be sitting studying while the rest were out working.

“During the next years I hewed trees and skidded and hauled cedar poles besides farm work, and we always repaired and maintained our own equipment.  I filed saws and worked in sawmills.  I ran a general trucking business and later with Clarence Myers we built Cahilty School, and the fourth classroom onto Barriere High School.

“When electricity came to the Barriere area in 1948, I had to learn about electricity from books, from a neighbour and inspectors.  I became involved in wiring most homes in the Barriere to Little Fort area, and later on from Clearwater to Birch Island.

“With some more experience, and more studying, I installed electric water pumps and irrigation, as a lot of places seemed ideal for gravity pipe irrigation, as well as electric irrigation on farms.

“Then, with electricity now in many homes, it became necessary to learn and repair home equipment (washing machines, driers, stoves).

“Community projects have always been one of my preoccupations.  The first being the now gone Chinook Cove Hall in 1936. It was purchased from a defunct Dixon Creek Mine for $45, and moved to Chinook Cove along the road.  Nine people put in $5 each to aquire it.

“I was also active with the Native Sons of Canada.  When the Native Sons Hall at Louis Creek burned down in 1956, after it had been turned over to the early North Thompson Fall Fair, Ken Long supplied the plywood to build another hall that was later moved up to the Fall Fair grounds, and is now at Barriere.  I wired that building both at Louis Creek and in Barriere.

“Insurance from the Native Sons Hall helped build the Community Hall in Barriere, the Louis Creek Community Hall, and the North Thompson Fall Fair Hall.  I wired all those.


“I drove the school bus in 1952, and worked in Barriere between school hours.

“I had a back-infusion operation in Vancouver in 1957, which only partly fixed the back problem.  But I had several young men, Walter Schilling, Ken Beharrel, Stan Borthwick and Ulrich Schilling help me when my back was still crippled.


“In 1972, I married Mrs. Georgina (Geordie) Bradford and we bought Mrs. Humphries residence in Barriere.

“I continued constructing and wiring new homes in the surrounding area and became very interested, with Geordie, in promoting and working on community projects, namely the Yellowhead Pioneer Residence, the current location of the North Thompson Fall Fair Hall, the Barriere Curling Rink, and the United Church and Thrift Shop.

“I worked with the family that I had acquired, namely step-daughters Patsy, Diane, Dodie and Leslie on their homes,  and our achievement of obtaining lake property in the area which we all have extremely enjoyed over the years.

“I was always very close to my sister Inga and her husband Karl and family.  Now Karl Jr., wife Debbie, and three nephews Ben, Dustin and Kurtis.  I have spent much time and been hosted to many days and hours on their ranch, which I have enjoyed.

“Georgina and I have now moved because of health reasons to Kamloops, where we live in a beautiful residence,  are closer to family and can enjoy our eight great-grandchildren.”

Karl  Rainer (Jr.) says, “Uncle Manne has spent thousands of hours helping out on our farm to make it successful.  He started in the mid 40’s by wiring our first farm home.  Some of my first recollections are of the mid 60’s thawing out a frozen waterline during those -40° winters, and seeing Uncle Manne there in his old railroad bib overhauls and cap. My mom did his laundry for him back then, and I would see his hat stretched around a fence post, drying.

“In the 70’s, Uncle Manne continued wiring and plumbing my building projects.  He fixed mom’s sewing machine at the time he was courting the love of his life, Geordie.  They were married in our old farm house.

“In 1980, we built a new dairy barn and once again Manne wired this building and helped wherever he could. At the age of 77 he did all the wiring and most of the plumbing in our new house, built in 1990.

“He even came up to help when we were upgrading our meat shop to industry standard [Rainer’s Custom Cutting in Darfiled].  He was using the air nailer while standing on a ladder with his shaky arm.  I was unsure if I should hide or help.  In the last few years, he started to clean up his shop and bring me stuff that he had been collecting.Everything from bent nails to old paint mixed with some great things.  Manne never forgets what he has given you, and what he has lent.  His memory has always been very sharp.

“I had to be careful to remember where I put items given, because if Manne decided he needed one of those, he would call and ask for it.  Finding an item became a problem, as I am not as organized.  Or he would want a part can of paint back for a project he was doing.

“Uncle Manne is a person that works diligently and quietly without needing praise or recognition.

“He has spent thousands of hours on the fall fair grounds doing all handyman jobs.  Many that went unnoticed.  From wiring, to fixing plugged toilets, to fixing roofs, or lending money to the fair in a lean year. He has even be seen fixing things in the past few years, on his scooter.

“Uncle Manne has always dedicated his time for us and for the Fall Fair and the whole community of Barriere.  You cannot find someone that was as hard working and willing to help out, than our Uncle Manne.”

Manna’s grandson, Craig Lysak says, “Grandpa has always kept himself busy, whether at home in Barriere, or up at our family cabin at East Barriere Lake.  In the past, Grandpa would do an average days’ work or for the rest of us mere mortals, a years’ worth of hard labour, then he would go down to the lake in his swim trunks with towel in hand and go for a swim a couple of cabins down the way and back.”

Manne celebrated his 100th birdthdy on Dec. 26, in the Fall Fair Hall, Barriere, with his lovely wife Geordie at his side, and numerous family and friends their to wish him many hapy returns. There were certificates and letters of congratulations from the Queen, the Governor General, the T.N.R.D., the Prime Minister, and the District of Barriere.   While presenting the certificate of congratulations from the District of Barriere, Mayor Humphreys spoke about his memories of Manne, saying, “He has spent decades bringing light to the lives of all those in the area.”  The mayor then presented Manne with the first 100 year pin for Barriere’s 100th anniversary in 2014 to be handed out.

Walter Schilling spoke about how Manna helped him get started and encouraged him to get his electrical ticket.  They also travelled together to places like Alberta, Alaska and California.

The evening closed with Geordie and Manna dancing to the song that had played when they first met – May I Have This Dance For The Rest Of My Life.

*Editors note:  Manne and Geordie Salle were presented with the Barriere Citizen of The Year Award in 1988, and each were presented with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 for service to their community.




Barriere Star Journal

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