Thomas A. Larson, who died July 24 at Chilliwack in his 91st year, will be remembered by many Cariboo-Chilcotin old-timers.
He was the Bank of Montreal manager in Williams Lake from 1953 to 1959 when the bank was situated in the old cottage-style bank built in 1921 on the corner of First Avenue and Oliver Street.
Kitty-corner was the only other bank in the village – the Bank of Commerce – which had been built in 1920.
The two banks, and their managers, were the centre of business activity for the entire country in those days – and often its social life too.
During Mr. Larson’s tenure in Williams Lake, he hosted the bank’s annual cocktail party at cattle sale time in October, which saw party-goers dancing around the counters and tellers’ cages, and getting a drink from a bar set up in the vault.
The commerce manager had to be content with holding his party in his bank/home.
Both travelled regularly to steads throughout the Chilcotin to meet with ranchers.
Mr. Larson was still manager in 1958 when the old bank was moved to the back of the lot to make way for a large new bank building (it’s now a commercial outlet).
During his seven years in Williams Lake, Mr. Larson was very active in community affairs including Scouts, Masonic Lodge, Rotary, Legion, Kinsmen, Elks, president of the Chamber of Commerce and, of course, his church.
A man of quiet dignity and integrity, he was always courteous and good-humoured.
Mr. Larson loved life and always enjoyed meeting people, and even after retirement at Chilliwack in 1976 he continued to keep in touch with old friends around the province.
He last visited Williams Lake in September 1999 when he came up to take part in the Chamber of Commerce’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Predeceased by his wife Laura, he is survived by his son, George of Gibsons; daughter Lillian Lusk of Pitt Meadows; and grandson Loren Maclean of Vancouver.