Alma Faulds…A Tribute
Alma Amelia Schmidt was born January 18, 1915 in Zorra, Saskatchewan to John and Elizabeth Schmidt. Alma’s parents were both immigrants to Canada. Alma grew up in a very large family but one filled with love and laughter. Alma met an engaging young Scotsman named Alexander Faulds. Alec was born August 12, 1908 in Scotland. After a courtship, the two were married September 25, 1940.
The Schmidt’s, their children and Alma and Alex moved to Oliver, B.C. and lived down on Sawmill Road. Alma and Alex eventually had three daughters, Diane, born in 1944, Marlene, born in 1946 and Deborah born in 1950.
In Grade Two I made friends with Marlene Faulds, Alma and Alec’s second daughter. We became very good friends and I spent a considerable amount of time on Sawmill Road at the Faulds family home. I remember going on a Friday after school and getting to ride the school bus..this was rather exciting for a town kid! Alma was almost always at home and could see us coming from her kitchen window. She always had some delicious snack waiting for us after we changed into our play clothes.
Alma was an Activist..no question about it. She fought for the rights of the native children to be returned to their parents; she fought for better health care, better working conditions, better pay and better equality for women and was instrumental in organizing a union for packing house workers. Alma actually travelled to Ottawa to speak to the Minister of Indian Affairs regarding the residential school problem.
Alma belonged to the CCF/NDP which is where she embraced the philosophy of one Tommy Douglas. She lived and breathed her role as a true activist in anything she set her mind to. Alma always looked out for other people especially those who were needy and often had no resources to feed and clothe their children. Where there was a need…there was Alma and her band of helpers including my own Mother, putting food in the fridge and on the table; bringing much needed clothing and often medicine. Sometimes she dug deep into her own pocket to help someone in need.
Alma organized Christmas Dinners at the Elk’s and made sure that those who were alone or could not afford a decent Christmas were invited to share in a hot meal, a small gift and the love of their fellow neighbours.
Alma has always been my hero and I looked up to her as an example of how one should live their lives. I was always welcomed in their home and treated like one of the family. I remember the many nights that a lively and interesting conversation was carried on at the dinner table.
I learned much from Alma, her family and my own and I understood just what we should do to make a better world. Love thy neighbour; love your family and most important of all… be willing to step up and be counted. Alma, Alec and their daughter Deborah have passed away but Mrs. Alma Faulds, you live in my memory..now and forever and I try everyday to live up to your shining example.