Alice Olsen

On the morning of May 8, 2006 Alice Pinchbeck Bourelle Olsen passed away at Dunrovin Park Lodge with her three daughters at her side.

Alice had very strong pioneer roots in the Cariboo. Her Scotland born Grandfather, Captain William Laing-Meason, was a prominent rancher in Little Dog Creek, a Justice of the Peace and the first Indian Agent in the area. Her Native Grandmother, Therese Toccatone, was fluent in three languages and famous for her orchard fruits and gardens.

One of nine children, her mother Anne Laing-Meason met and married James Scanlon in January 1918. Alice was born July 16th, 1919 in Mission, B.C. and her only sibling, Vincent, arrived two years later. During her childhood, the family homesteaded at Springhouse, southwest of Williams Lake and in her teen years, they moved into town. Her one-room schoolhouse education in the country sparked a lifelong desire to learn. Although circumstances prevented her from finishing her education, in her late 50’s, she took night school courses to complete her G.E.D., and out of interest, continued to monitor college courses for a number of years.

In her youth, Alice’s happiest times were those spent riding horseback and attending community dances with her brother Vince and cousins Ruby Rose, and Margaret, Willie and Johnnie McLuckie.

In 1940 Alice married Percy Pinchbeck, the son of another well-known pioneer family in Williams Lake. Baby Bonita was born in 1942. The Second World War interrupted many lives at this time including Alices’. Husband Percy and her brother Vince both enlisted and in 1944, while they were overseas her Mother Anne and her cousin Johnnie both passed away. In 1946 her father died, and shortly thereafter, her marriage to Percy ended.

In 1947 Alice married Wally Bourelle. Tragically their firstborn daughter, Denise Anne, died of pneumonia at age one. Not long after, Wally and Alice decided a change of scenery was needed and they moved to the Lower Mainland. A trio of babies, born in the 1950’s, beginning with Katherine, followed closely by Wayne, and a few years later, Teresa, brought happier times for Alice, Wally and Bonnie. The decade would be rounded out with their first grandchild, Debbie. Not long after Wayne’s birth, Alice and Wally returned to the Cariboo, spending some time near 140 Mile before building their house on Dog Creek Road.

Alice loved her role as Wife, Mother and Homemaker. Her home was always full of the wonderful aromas of the “World’s best Stew”, fresh baked bread, cinnamon buns and cream puffs. The kids always hoped that she had saved enough bread dough to make their favourite treat “Moccasins”. Her children’s neighbourhood friends liked to gather at their house where the record player was always ready to spin a tune and all could dance and sing.

About 1963 Alice decided it was time to get her Drivers Licence. This opened up a new world for her. She became an Avon Lady and volunteered with the Catholic Women’s League, the Elks Royal Purple and remained a lifelong member of the Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary. In the late ‘60’s, Alice and Wally’s marriage began to unravel and sadly, in the early 1970’s, they were divorced. Being single meant having to go back to work and Alice’s occupations would vary from being an Innkeeper, a Jail Matron, a Camp Cook, to a Matron at a Private Girls School in Kerrisdale.

In the early 70’s, Alice moved to Maple Ridge, B.C. to be close to family. Here she worked, took College courses and volunteered. Single for 19 years, she met Jens Olsen who persuaded her to marry him in 1989. Sadly, this marriage broke up shortly after Alice was diagnosed with Cancer, and after undergoing successful surgery in 1997, she returned to Quesnel to live out her retirement.

After many years of independence, Alice moved into Dunrovin Park Lodge for assisted living.

Alice was soft spoken, kind and gentle by nature. She loved to laugh and had a great sense of humour. She willingly told stories at her own expense. She was loved and admired by all her sons-in-law and they appreciated that she always remained “neutral on the side of the boys”.

She loved to read the newspapers and keep current on politics and events.

It was important to her to always remain in close contact with her Church, her family and her friends. Music, singing and dancing filled her life with joy. In her youth she started a Song Book in which she wrote dozens of her own songs and over the years she added the words to the popular ones she liked and heard on the radio. In her teens she’d do almost anything to get permission to attend a dance with her cousins, even if it meant doing extra chores. Music was in her soul and no celebration was complete without a turn on the dance floor or a sing-a-long.

During her last days with the family playing her favourite music, her spirit would brighten and that beautiful smile would light up her face.

Father Dale Normandeau officiated at the Funeral service, which was held in St. Ann’s Catholic Church, on May 15, 2006. Interment followed at Quesnel Municipal Cemetery.

Alice was predeceased by her father, James M. Scanlon, her mother, Anne Laing-Meason, Brother, Vincent Scanlon, Daughter, Denise Anne Bourelle and Granddaughter, Tanna Lin Bourelle.

Lovingly remembered by her children Bonita (Don) Gunton of Prince George, Katherine (Doug) Keene of Salmon Arm, Wayne (Linda) Bourelle of Magrath, Alta., Teresa (Kelly) King of Quesnel; niece Anne (Don) Zielke, and nephews Jim and Ross Scanlon. Sadly missed by 10 Grandchildren, 13 Great Grandchildren, Michele and family, as well as many cousins and friends.

The family would like to express their appreciation to the Nurses and Staff at Dunrovin Park Lodge for the care and kindness shown Alice in her times of need. We would also like to send heartfelt thanks to friends and family who have given us their love, understanding and compassion this past year.

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