For retired couple Rose and Ian Pinchbeck, the Cariboo has been their home for decades and they have no plans for that to ever change.
Rose describes Williams Lake as an easy place to live.
“It’s comfortable, it’s casual and that’s who we are — and, of course, our family is here.”
Unbeknownst to each other at the time, Rose and Ian both spent the early part of their childhoods being raised in Northwestern, B.C. Ian was born in Prince Rupert and lived in Terrace with his parents Tom and Margaret Pinchbeck, while Rose was born in Smithers and lived in Telkwa with her mother and father, Thelma and Harold Matt.
Both families made a living working in resource industries; Ian’s father in logging and Rose’s father in road construction. Their mothers were homemakers, but also worked out of the home as cooks and housekeepers to help make ends meet.
Ian’s father, who was a direct descendant of William Pinchbeck Sr. (Tom was a grandson to William Sr, and one of 12 children born to William Jr. (Billy) and Matilda Pinchbeck) decided to move back to Williams Lake in 1963 along with Ian’s older siblings John, Joyce and Bernice when Ian was 16. Williams Lake was familiar for Ian, as he visited family there a few times before.
Rose’s family also decided to move to Williams Lake in 1963 when she was 12.
“I’m glad we moved here — we were lucky,” Rose said, recalling how she and her siblings Bev, Calvin and Doug arrived on the Stampede weekend in the back of a pickup truck with all their worldly possessions in search of work.
“I was so embarrassed. We were mortified, hiding under a tarp peeking out.”
Rose’s father obtained work at West Fraser where he stayed until he retired at age 65. Unfortunately, Harold was only retired for the year before he passed away.
Though they both moved to Williams Lake at the same time, Rose and Ian didn’t meet each other until 1969 when the two both attended the popular Riske Creek Rodeo, where many local families gathered to visit and compete.
“It was a big event every year,” Ian said.
With their similar backgrounds and zest for life, the two hit it off immediately and were soon married and started a family of their own.
“After that it was family life, hard work and kids,” Rose said of the years that followed and their children Rodney, Aaron and Deanne.
Ian worked for Tolko and Rose went to work in 1981 full-time with the Ministry of Forests in the finance department, before moving over to the Cariboo Fire Centre in 1996.
Life was busy, but the couple made sure the young family stayed connected by sitting down for dinner every night and having a family vacation together every summer.
“I think it’s important,” Rose said of eating dinner as a family, noting that Ian was a big help and good in the kitchen. “That’s how we were raised, we always had a sit-down meal to connect and talk about our day.”
Aaron and Deanne have settled down with families of their own in Williams Lake. Aaron is married to Lori-Anne and they have three children Cordell, Conway and Melissa. Deanne is married to Mike Rife and they also have three children Ryan, Reid and Hunter. Rod lives in the Lower Mainland with his wife Cheryl and children Liam and Siena.
Rose and Ian now have eight grandchildren total and will be celebrating 50 years of marriage next year.
“It doesn’t seem like 50 years,” she said.
Rose retired in 2008 after 28 years of work, while Ian retired in 2009 following the downturn in the forest industry that year at 62 years old.
“I never even thought of retirement until Tolko told me I could leave,” he joked.
Though retired, Ian has kept busy doing contract work for Tolko, while Rose also does bookkeeping. Their side jobs, they say, fund their keen interest in travelling abroad.
Rose and Ian have been snowbirds in the winter for the past 10 years, after trying out a few years of cabin life at Lac La Hache.
When they aren’t wintering in Palm Springs taking in daily hikes and visiting friends, the pair have travelled quite extensively since retirement to such far away locales as Australia and most recently South Africa, which they called “a trip of a lifetime.”
Their complimentary personalities — Ian is patience and receptive to try new things, while Rose is very organized and a planner — make the Pinchbecks perfect travel and life partners.
They both remain very active, taking part in pickleball, hiking, biking, yoga, slow-pitch and walk together four days a week.
Family is still very important for the couple, with Christmas and an annual family gathering with Rose’s relatives being favourite times to get together.