Lorne Greenaway served as the Member of Parliament for the Cariboo Chilcotin for 10 years, from 1979 to 1988. He won three elections, in 1979, 1980 and 1984, before resigning his seat in 1988, and passing the torch to fellow Progressive Conservative Dave Worthy, who was successfully elected in his stead.
Born in Bella Coola in 1933 and raised in the Okanagan, Greenaway had a varied career as a veterinarian, rancher, university professor, deputy minister, and civil servant. This spring his memoir, Lorne Greenaway: From Horseback to the House of Commons was released by Caitlin Press.
In January, 2009, Greenaway was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and that’s when he began writing down his life story with the help of his daughter, Kate Greenaway.
For 20 months Lorne dictated his story from his home in Victoria, using Dragon speech recognition computer software. With Kate’s assistance his memoir unfolded.
“He wrote the pieces of his life in sequence,” Kate says, noting that her father remained active to the end.
“He lost a lot of mobility to ALS,” says Kate, “but he was still able to stand and transfer himself before his death.”
Greenaway died from a possible stroke on Sept. 13, 2010. After his passing, Kate worked with the editors of Caitlin Press to complete his story.
Lorne’s independent character and integrity as a politician, civil servant and veterinarian come through loud and clear. So does his sense of humour.
“Dad was a pretty funny guy,” Kate says. “He was an incorrigible practical joker right to the end.” Lorne’s roots run deep in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast. His mother, Olivia Nygaard, was born on a homestead in Chilanko Forks in 1911, and both his parents were raised in Bella Coola where Lorne was born in 1933.
Brian Garland says he talked Lorne into seeking the nomination for the Progressive Conservative Party in 1974 when the Chilcotin-Coast electoral area included Powell River and Whistler. He lost by a few votes to Liberal candidate Jack Pearsall.
Greenaway won the 1979 election handily with the creation of the new Cariboo-Chilcotin electoral area, and former prime minister Joe Clark won a minority government.
“Lorne was a man of integrity and a little idealistic. All done for the right reasons,” Garland says. “He was a rancher as well as a veterinarian. He used to give rancher answers when he was in politics, which got him in trouble sometimes.”
Kate will sign copies of her father’s memoir at the Save-On-Foods book department in Williams Lake during the Williams Lake Stampede street party, from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 30.
All proceeds from the book will be donated to the ALS Society.