Longtime Cariboo couple, Joe and Louise Fetters

Joe and Louise were born in Ellensburg, Wash, where they met in high school, met again in college, and were married there when Joe was on a one-month leave from welding in the civil service at the Pearl Harbour Navy yard.

Joe and Louise were born in Ellensburg, Wash, where they met in high school, met again in college, and were married there when Joe was on a one-month leave from welding in the civil service at the Pearl Harbour Navy yard.

Joe experienced the attack on Pearl Harbour and assisted with the repairs afterward.

They were married Jan. 1, 1944 and Louise joined him in Honolulu. They returned to Ellensburg to have their son Joe and, later, their daughter Marla.

Joe was a fabricator and welder, as well as a skilled dozer operator. He built a steel ferry in Washington to transport lumber and farm produce across the Columbia River and the welded steel barge is still in use.

Joe and Louise moved their sawmill business to Horesfly in the early 50s and operated there for a few years.

When that business was dissolved, Joe purchased a dozer and went to work with the Department of Highways doing road construction and winter snow plowing. He said that he often enjoyed a fine meal and the overnight hospitality of ranching families on his routes in the Cariboo.

Joe’s road building proved a valuable asset in 1960 when he and Louise purchased the land now known as Russet Bluff Subdivision and he improved the South Lakeside Drive road and then built all of the local roads in Russet Bluff.

His vision and hard work carved the present 95-home subdivision out of the southeast hillside of Williams Lake.

Joe and Louise also put in the water system, which services the subdivision and which the Cariboo Regional District accepted and now runs.

For two decades, he kept two horses in pasture near his home in Russet Bluff, so fencing was always an issue.

Not a few times, Mike and Cody were seen trotting through the subdivision and residents would cringe if they happened to have just planted a new lawn.

Neighbours were forgiving though, and the horses were part of the landscape for many years.

His daughter-in-law Kathy remembers Joe often saying after breakfast “I’ll take the Cat, Louise, and you bring the backhoe.” And the elderly couple would climb on the two machines and be off to move rock, or dirt, or both.

The couple enjoyed having friends in for breakfast or going “into town” to meet friends. Louise was well known for her huckleberry pies and Joe for supplying doughnuts to anyone doing any service work in the subdivision.

Louise loved to garden or “dig in the dirt” as she called it, and Joe spent many hours in his shop welding and fabricating trailers.

Joe drove his D6 Cat for the last time in his mid-80s when he developed three more lots on Fetters Drive.

Eventually Joe required more care than Louise was able to provide, and Joe entered Retirement Concepts and Louise took up residence nearby in assisted living.

They continued together there for several years until Joe passed away quietly last December at the age of 95. Louise was often heard saying “we had a good life together,” and she quietly joined him July 11 at the age of 93.

Their family of son Joe Jr., daughter-in-law Kathy, daughter Marla, and son-in-law Jerry are very proud of their parents’ accomplishments and the legacy they have left behind them in their years in the Cariboo.

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