Procter matriarch Hilda Ogden — whose Yorkie

Procter citizen left indelible mark

A memorial will be held Sunday for Procter matriarch Hilda Ogden, known to all who live there for her beautiful garden and volunteerism.



A memorial will be held Sunday for Procter matriarch Hilda (Dilla) Ogden, known to all who live there for her beautiful garden and extensive volunteerism. Ogden, who has died at 98, spent nearly her entire life in the community and was the driving force behind the history book Kootenay Outlet Reflections.

“It’s a big loss, yet we’re so blessed to have had her that long,” says her daughter, Beth Ogden-Wood. “We’ll sure miss her. She was a great lady.”

Ogden was born October 23, 1914 on a farm about a mile west of Procter. Her maternal grandparents, the Waltons, arrived in 1908 from Alberta and ran the general store. Their widowed daughter Clara joined them a few years later and met Alfred Heighton, a Nova Scotian who came west to build bridges for the Canadian Pacific Railway.

They married in 1913. Hilda, the second of their six children, grew up on the farm and worked in her grandparents’ store. She recalled Sikhs from the local sawmill would come over to cash their paycheques, but asked her to hang on to the money. “They said ‘You keep.’ She’d write them a receipt and they’d get her to keep the receipt too,” her daughter says. “She acted like a bank.”

It was also at the store that Hilda met her husband, English-born Albert Ogden, almost ten years her senior, as he delivered freight. “She used to still blush about it,” Ogden-Wood says. “She had lovely blue eyes and my dad was pretty cheeky. He started singing Beautiful, Beautiful Blue Eyes. That was the first time they laid eyes on each other.”

Hilda’s father, however, was very protective, so Albert set about winning him over. “They talked guns, played crib, and of course he’d get invited to dinner.”

Alberta and Hilda married in Procter’s United Church on June 13, 1934.

Her new husband nicknamed her Dilla. “She had two Aunt Hildas,” their daughter explains. “My dad said Dilla was a pet name in England. That’s what he called her and it stuck. Because they were so close, it’s what she preferred.”

In 1935, the couple bought the house they were renting from Hilda’s grandmother. With enlargements, remodelling, and landscaping, Hilda would call it home for the next 75 years.

Albert continued to operate the Procter-Nelson freight line before and after serving overseas during World War II, then worked aboard the SS Moyie, Harrop ferry, and MV Anscomb.

Hilda, meanwhile, became a community pillar. “She guided so many people and counselled couples in trouble,” says daughter Beth. “She ran a Sunday school for over 25 years, basically by herself. No other adults were willing to put that much time into it.”

When Beth and sister Claire were in school, Hilda and friend Edna Fitchett took charge of the annual Christmas concerts, ensuring every child had a part and a costume.

Hilda lamented the 1987 closure of the Procter school, writing that “The children are now bused away … I miss the sound of them at play during recess and lunch time. It’s as though the Piped Piper has spirited them away.”

She was among those who spoke against the building’s demolition. Years later, when it was a thriving venue for the Kootenay Storytelling Festival, she opened her garden for tours.

“Her white house sat at the end of the street like an English cottage, always looking so quaint and well cared for,” says festival co-founder Rick Budd. “She was always very supportive and loved the storytelling festival, especially how it reminded her of earlier times when Procter was busy with young families and community events.”

In the 1980s, Ogden was president of the committee that compiled the massive Kootenay Outlet Reflections, writing in the preface that the project was “at times, arduous, time consuming and sometimes discouraging. But always interesting and very, very rewarding.” The book is due to be reprinted this year.

When Albert took early retirement, he and Hilda paid an extended visit to family and friends in England. They were fans of TV’s Coronation Street — Albert could translate the thick accents — and got a kick out of the fact the show’s most popular character was named Hilda Ogden.

After Albert died in 1973, Hilda kept up the house and garden on her own. She joined the hospital auxiliary and sold raffle tickets with her dog in tow.

Hilda Ogden died February 27 in Kamloops at 98, where she had been living part of the year with her daughter. “People say she’s really an icon,” Ogden-Wood says. “The way she lived her life was such an example. She always kept so positive.”

Ogden was predeceased three years ago by younger sister Lily. She’s survived by her two daughters and many grandchildren. A celebration of her life will be held Sunday in her garden at 8004 Woodside in Procter.

Just Posted

Nelson bumps up cost of east Blewett fire service

The 20 per cent increase will amount to approximately $56.00 per year for a $400,000 home.

Dryer incident at Teck Elkview Operations

Locals report hearing loud bang

Judgment reserved in Nakusp school sex trial

Trial concluded today with lawyer’s summations

New Denver emergency ward to remain 24/7

Interior Health says it’s postponing changes to operating hours.

Genelle ‘vehicle incident’ under RCMP investigation

Regional firefighters respond to car fire Sunday night

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Nelson Leafs lose to Nitehawks on last-minute goal

The game was played to finish a postponed contest in December

CBT to provide 100 new child care spaces

Nelson Waldorf School is also getting money for a roof

Leafs down Border Bruins in penalty-filled game

Logan Wullum stole the show for Nelson in the 4-1 win

SKI TIPS: The key to skiing in heavy powder

Whitewater Ski Team coach Dylan Henderson shows how to navigate powder with ease

Leafs’ five-game winning streak snapped by Nitehawks

Nelson fell 4-1 on the first of three straight games this weekend

The book club master

Nelson’s Hazel Mousley takes book clubs to the next level

Glacier freezes competition in Spokane

The gymnastics club returned home with 35 medals

Remembering the man who carved Nelson’s iconic welcome signs

Art Waldie did the majority of the work on the signs in the 1970s

Most Read