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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Brittny Anderson. Photo: Submitted
UPDATED: NDP’s Brittny Anderson named provisional winner in Nelson-Creston

The final result won’t be known until November due to mail-in ballots

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read