Skolarchuk, Walter

WALTER SKOLARCHUK, AUCTIONEER

On February 12, 1946 I was born the third child of Stanley and Annie Skolarchuk of Lindbergh, Alberta. There are five others in the family, an older brother Edward, an older sister Louise, two younger sisters Mary and Helen, and a younger brother Wesley. My early education started by my trotting two miles to a country school known as Veeday. Three years later the schools were centralized and we were bussed to Heinsburg. The bus trip at the time was an experience in itself. We got on the bus at 7:30 a.m. and returned home at 5:00 p.m. or later, depending on the road conditions. During the winter months "Old Betsy" as we conveniently called our bus, would be so cold that ink bottles and oranges were frozen solid by the time we reached school. This transportation carried on until 1963, although the buses improved, and so did the roads. In the fall of 1963 we had to travel to Elk Point school via two buses because Heinsburg did not offer grade twelve at that time. Upon completion of grade twelve in the spring of 1964, I immediately left the farm for the great city lights to seek my fortune. When I got there I soon found all was not peaches and cream, and jobs were not plentiful either.

My first job was selling shoes in the Army and Navy Department Store. I worked there for three months until the Chemical Plant at Clover Bar called and asked me to come up for an interview. In September of 1964 I started working in the yarn department of the Canadian Chemical Plant. My starting wage was $1.94 and after a ninety-day trial period it was raised to $2.10, and that was Union rates. In April of 1965 I was transferred from the yarn department to the Petro-Chemical department. The particular unit I worked in produced concentrated formaldehyde. Two years later, in April of 1967, the smell of formaldehyde and the aggravation of shift wotk finally got to me. I handed in my resignation and returned to Elk Point. After taking a xerox professional selling course, I tried my hand at selling farm machinery for Henry Lorenson who was the New Holland dealer at Lindbergh. Due to lack of machinery and selling experience, the need for money made me seek different employment.

My search took me to St. Paul where a construction company from Edmonton was plowing telephone cable. I was hired as a truck driver by one man but when I arrived at the job, the position had already been filled by a local chap who came directly to the foreman. The foreman, being sympathetic, offered to find me something to do if I stayed on.

I started with the company, Stevenson and Tredway in the fall of 1967 as a swamper for a backhoe operator. When I left the company in the fall of 1971 I was working in the capacity of job foreman. In the four years with the company I worked as cat skinner, backhoe operator and truck driver. I hauled equipment from Edmonton to almost all four corners of Alberta and back. Many things happened in those seven years from 1964 to 1971. Somewhere in my ramblings I met a young lady by the name of Helen Willsie from Colinton, Alberta, who, on August 10, 1971, became my wife. After a short honeymoon, my job took me to High Prairie, where we decided to take up residence for a while. While there I worked in such places as Valleyview, Bluesky, Manning and Grande Prairie. I also worked a short time for Spendiff Transport in High Prairie. It was there that my decision to become an auctioneer was made. With a lot of encouragement from my wife and a lot of planning on both our parts, it was decided that I would go to the Teisch Auction College in Mason City, Iowa. Before going to college we moved back to Elk Point. We rented a house in town from Bill Milholland and off I went for two weeks.

Upon returning from college my first experience selling before a crowd was the Lions Club Charity Auction that was held in June of 1972. There the duties were shared with our M.L.A., Mick Fluker.

It wasn't until the following spring that I was able to list a commission paying farm sale for Carl Wytowich. I worked that sale and the rest of the sales for the next year, alone. The greatest experience was the sale for Walter Yaremkewich where I cried in excess of ten hours without a break. My heart holds a special place for all those people who stayed and helped me through my inexperience and a p.a. system that wouldn't operate properly. Later on, Charley Williams, an auctioneer from St. Paul, offered to help me cry a farm sale for Katherine Wollbaum. In 1976 we decided to merge and call ourselves Williams and Skolarchuk Auctioneering. Since then we have worked together through all kinds of experiences as well as weather. We hope we can serve the community in our capacity for years to come.

At present we are residing on our farm twelve miles east of Elk Point. My brother Eddie and I operate a mixed farm raising commercial beef cattle and feed grain. Helen works at the hospital in Elk Point as a registered nurse. We have two boys, Dayle aged five, and Darren aged three. We are expecting our third one sometime in the latter part of April