Rolf Sigur Lee

Rolf was born on August 2, 1926 in Bergheim, Norway. He was the third son born to Christian and Lukris Lee. In July, 1927 the family sailed to Canada and after ten days on the ship Frederick VIII they landed at Halifax. From there they travelled by train to Stalwart, Sask. Where the family had planned to farm. But the farming conditions were poor and so at Regina they paid $10.00 to file for a homestead claim at Chelan, Sask. They loaded two railcars with all their belongings and arrived in Chelan in the middle of September 1931 and that’s where the Lee family began their life in Canada. They lived on that farm for twenty years.

There was no school to start at in the beginning and so Rolf and his brothers took correspondence for their first two school years. Rolf’s last schooling was at the Prince Albert Sask. Collegiate where he took his Grade 10. As soon as Rolf was old enough, he was hired out to go harvesting for farmers around the area and from then on Rolf was able to find work. Rolf was a jack-of-all trades and was successful at any job he did.

In 1948 Rolf met Ester who was a teacher in the area and they were married in 1950. By 1954 they had three children and Rolf strived to find lucrative work to support his family. Rolf joined a crew to survey for the Saskatchewan government. His job included dynamiting and draining ditches and his crew opened a lot of new country.

Then in 1956 Rolf heard that the government of BC was looking for surveyors for the construction of a new railway. Rolf applied and was soon in charge of the railroad grades to Fort St. John, and the construction was completed in 1959. Then Rolf surveyed for Sterns and Rogers at the construction of the gas plant in Taylor, BC. and this was completed in 1960. Shortly after this Rolf and his brothers did construction work together in Fort St. John. In 1966 Rolf moved his family to Revelstoke and he was employed by a painting company. He really enjoyed his time in Revelstoke-lots of mountains to climb. After ten years the children were grown up and so Rolf and Esther went north to Cassiar where Rolf worked as a carpenter for Cassiar Asbestos Corporation for three years. Rolf said these were his three best years, with a lot of mountains to climb and fantastic winter skiing. From there Rolf and Esther moved to Sicamous where they built their home and lived there for thirty one years. In 2010 they moved to Salmon Arm. Rolf so enjoyed the years he had here. He spent his days climbing and hiking on any accessible hills and trails and made many miles on Little Mountain.

Rolf was always an outdoorsman and had many good friends to be his partners for hiking and hunting. He especially enjoyed the times he spent while hiking with his grandsons. For his 65th birthday Rolf led his family up a mountain trail to the Lake of the Hanging Glacier in the Kootenays. Later in that same year, while he was 65, Rolf and his grandson did a trek part way to the Mount Everest base camp. It was very hard hiking and there were many high ridges to cross. Rolfs comment about the hike was “It was a very interesting hike, but go before you are 65!” Rolf did one more major hike, when he was in his early seventies and that was to climb to the top of the highest mountain in Norway.

Rolf and Esther spent their last years traveling in a motor home, camping, and appreciating the beautiful country in which they lived.

Rolf wrote a summary of his life and his closing words were, “Looking back, my life has been good. I wouldn’t want to change anything.”

Rolf is survived by his wife, Esther (67 years of marriage), his children, Elaine (Jim), Allan, and Sharon (Gilbert) and his four grandchildren, five great grandchildren and his sister, Connie. He is also survived by many nephews and nieces.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Day is done, gone the sun.

From the lake, from the hills, from the sky.

Safely rest, all is well.

God is nigh.

Salmon Arm Observer


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