By Steve Hubrecht

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Earlier this summer Invermere saw a very special family reunion. 

This past August, the extended Beddie clan had a get-together so that the newest member of the family could meet the oldest members, as well as all the generations in between. That meant baby Bennett Foulds, who was just three months old at the time, got to say hello (as much as an infant can say hello) to two great-great grandparents: her 99-year old great-great grandfather Don Beddie and her 94-year old great-great grandmother Elsie Hemmelgarn. Both Don and Elsie live in Invermere.

They were joined this summer by great-grandfather Dale and great-grandmother Darlene Beddie (Dale is Don’s son; Darlene is Elsie’s daughter), grandfather Dean Beddie and grandmother Leanne Beddie (who also both lived in Invermere), mother Julianne Beddie, baby Bennett Foulds and a whole bunch more family members.

In case you haven’t been able to keep the generations straight so far, this means that baby Bennett was at the centre of a double five-generation family reunion.

“It is kind of unusual, especially to have those five generations on two branches of a family tree all in one spot” great grandfather Dale told the Pioneer, adding everyone had quite a lot of fun during the reunion.

Great-great grandfather Don was born in Ontario in 1923, but worked all over western and northern Canada (including running tugboats on the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories) before settling in Spillimacheen with his wife in 1951. 

Don initially worked at the Giant Mascot Mine, before buying the Spillimacheen general store and cafe (which is now Beeland) in 1957 and then, in 1966, buying the adjoining property and converting it into a service station. In 1998 Don sold the service station and lived on his own for many more years, before eventually moving into Ivy House in Invermere.

Great-grandfather Dale was born in Invermere in 1953 and grew up in the house attached to Spillimacheen general store, helping his dad run the service station and his mom run the general store. Dale grew up to become a millwright. In 1977, Dale and his wife Darlene moved to Merritt and then, in 1980, to Penticton, where they live to this day.

Grandfather Dean was born to Dale and Darlene in Invermere in 1972. Dean moved with the family to Merritt and Penticton and grew up to become an electrician. He moved back to the Columbia Valley along with his wife Leanne in 2002, where Leanne became familiar to a huge number of valley residents as one of the top-notch daycare providers around and where Dean continued his electrician career.

Mother Julianne was born to Dean and Leanne in Cranbrook in 2002. 

Five generations of Beddies: great-great grandfather Don Beddie (bottom right), great-grandfather Dale Beddie (top right), grandfather Dean Beddie (top left), and mother Julianne Beddie and baby Bennett Foulds (bottom left) in Invermere at a family reunion this summer.
(Photo submitted)