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Last living link to Ymir hospital lost

Updated: May 1, 2019

Longtime Ymir and Salmo resident Evelyn Murray died on April 9 in Castlegar at 96. While she was not the last person born in the old Ymir hospital, I believe she was the last person alive who entered the world there.

This postcard of the Ymir hospital, taken sometime between 1908 and 1913, was the work of the Mystery Photographer.

Evelyn was the daughter of Edward Emilson and Sarah Rankin. Her father, a miner from Sweden, worked in the Lardeau before coming to Ymir. He married Sarah Rankin in 1919, whose first husband died in a mining accident in Hedley, leaving her a widow with five children. (Two of them, John and Katherine, were born in the Boundary ghost town of Phoenix.)

Evelyn Murray is seen with daughter Lorraine McGregor in 2012.

Sarah moved the family to Ymir to be closer to family. Evelyn was born there on July 15, 1922.

I wrote a profile of her in 2012 for the Nelson Star and a three-part series on the history of the hospital in 2015. It was built by the Miners Union in 1903 on the north edge of town and operated until 1925. It burned down in 1930. The site, in the triangle bounded by Tamarac Street, and 1st and 2nd Avenues, remains vacant.

The last birth in the hospital I am aware of was Perry Anderson, born Feb. 26, 1923, but he died in 1996. (There were subsequent Ymir-area births, including actor Pablo Schreiber, just not in the hospital.)

There was also at least one Ymir-born centenarian, Edith Doreen DesBrisay Ross, who was born there in 1899 and died somewhere in the Lower Mainland on Jan. 18, 2000, age 100.

Evelyn Emilson was crowned Ymir May Queen in 1940, at age 17.

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