Parksville’s Karl and Diana Yzerman will celebrate 60 years of marriage on Saturday.

Parksville couple celebrating 60 years of marriage met in a logging camp

They were married Sept. 5, 1955, in a tiny church in the village of Alert Bay

Karl and Diana Yzerman (nee Miller) met in the logging camp of Port McNeill and married 60 years ago this month.

They were married Sept. 5, 1955, in a tiny church in the village of Alert Bay, reported their daughter Cathleen Hansen who was born there, and they spent years in remote logging camps.

During their time in isolated Mahatta River on the north Island, former prime minister, (Leader of the Opposition at the time) John Diefenbaker visited, ostensibly on a fishing trip. In reality, he was hiding out from the Gerda Munsinger scandal erupting in Ottawa, Hansen said.

“As camp manager, Karl busied himself keeping Diefenbaker and members of his staff entertained,” she said. They did go fishing, and Diefenbaker enjoyed himself enough to send a warm letter of appreciation when he returned to Ottawa.

Camp life was simple but not always easy, said Hansen. Groceries had to be ordered, via mail, from Woodwards in Vancouver and shipped by barge. Residents walked to a tiny one-room post office to pick up their mail, and could purchase a few basic items at the camp commissary.

There was plenty of wildlife, including many black bears, sometimes sauntering to within metres of playing children, Hansen remembered. In their years in remote north-Island camps the family dealt with numerous situations like a homicide among camp workers, accidental deaths, lost people and marital disputes.

The family moved to Duncan in 1973, then in 1987, Karl took early retirement and the couple moved to the Lower Mainland for about 14 years until they moved back to Parksville to be closer to family.

The couple recently purchased a tandem bicycle to continue their pursuit of fun, fitness and adventure, Hansen said, proud of her active parents in their 80s.

On Saturday, the couple celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary, inviting friends and family to join them at an open house at 344 Davis Avenue, in Parksville, from 1-4 p.m.

— with files from Cathleen Hansen

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