Four generations of the Latin (Skipp-Twan) family; all born in Williams Lake hospitals. Liz (Skipp) Twan

Four generations of the Latin (Skipp-Twan) family; all born in Williams Lake hospitals. Liz (Skipp) Twan

It was a Mary Christmas

This past March our city celebrated a special birthday as it turned eighty-five years old.

This past March our city celebrated a special birthday as it turned eighty-five years old; back in the day when it was officially (incorporated) recognized as a village (1929) our community was a sleepy little hamlet, very different from the city you see today.

When my maternal grandfather, Matt Latin, arrived in this area (around 1918) it was a very small place. Matt left his native Yugoslavia (Croatia) in 1903, at the age of 15, he landed in the U.S. where he spent several years before his arrival in Canada (Vancouver Island) in 1912.

Soon after he moved to Clinton where he resided for five or six years before moving northward to Quesnel, then finally to Williams Lake; a place where he was so content to live that he only left once again in the next 51 years on a trip of any distance (to visit relatives in Eastern Canada).

He began working for the PGE in 1919. In 1926 he wed Anne Dukovac, a girl from his hometown of Gospic, Yugoslavia who travelled to Canada to marry Matt. They married in Vancouver, travelled back to Williams Lake and moved into the PGE railway owned house (across the tracks from the station [the present Station House Gallery]) where they lived for 28 years and raised their family of four. The Latin children were; Frank, Martin, Mary and George, but it is Mary who shares a special birth day with the village she was born in.

Mary came into the world on Christmas Day 1929.

Birthed by a devout Catholic mother, there must have been no debate about what to name the precious baby girl who made her grand entrance on such a special day and somewhat uniquely, no middle name was given.

Mary Latin was born in the old hospital where City Hall sits today. She attended school, worked, married (Lee Skipp) and lived in Williams Lake for more than half of her adult life.

Lee and Mary had three children; Elizabeth (Liz Twan), Jim and Matthew — all of whom were born in the same small hospital that Mary, herself was born in.

In fact, Matthew, born on September 4th 1962 was one of the very last babies born in that old hospital.

Before her maternity stay in hospital was over that week, both mother and new born infant were transported to the brand new Cariboo Memorial Hospital on the hill.

Those three Skipp-children grew up, spread their wings and flew away from Williams Lake after high school, but Liz returned in the summer breaks from university to work and met her future husband, rancher, Bronc Twan.

They married in 1978 and had two sons, Willee and Jesse — both of whom were born in the Cariboo Memorial Hospital.

They too, spent their school years in Williams Lake before laving for college and work experiences. Willee returned to the area in 2003, married (Bobby Denner) in 2011 and in 2014 (Aug. 8) the couple were blessed when a fourth generation of the (Latin) family was born in the Cariboo Memorial Hospital.

Piper Elizabeth Twan had arrived; a daughter for Willee and Bobby Twan, the first grandchild for Bronc and Liz Twan of Alkali Lake (third grand-child for Bob and Mary Denner of 150 Mile).

And, a very special 85th year-gift; a first great-grandchild for Mary (Latin) Skipp, a fourth generation of her family born in her hometown. It made for a very Mary Christmas.