Joanne Havery worked in Food Services at the Hirsch Creek Golf & Winter Club for 16 years, and was well-known for her organized kitchen and friendly demeanour. (Clare Rayment)

In Our Valley: Joanne Havery

Havery was the food services manager at the Hirsch Creek Golf & Winter Club for 16 years.

As Food and Beverage Manager at the Hirsch Creek Golf & Winter Club, Joanne Havery got to know a lot of the people in town.

“I was responsible for the bar and the kitchen area — and everything else in between!” Havery said.

Havery moved to Kitimat with her husband and one-year-old daughter from the Fraser Valley when she was 20 years old, for her husband’s work with Rio Tinto, Alcan at the time.

She had a number of jobs during her first few years here, and stopped and started up new jobs as she and her husband had three more children. She worked as a hairdresser for a bit, then worked at what is now Save-On-Foods for a while, then at the old Hudson’s Bay Company until it closed and became Trigo’s.

After that, she worked for a few years at a restaurant that used to be on the upper level of Trigo’s, until the owner retired and the restaurant closed. After that, she came to the golf club.

“There was an ad in the paper [for the golf club position] and I applied for it. I had worked for…a small restaurant up in top of the Trigo’s building and had that cooking experience.”

Havery started as the Kitchen Manager and eventually became the Food and Beverage Manager. The job involved a lot of things, such as scheduling, hiring, training new staff, doing paperwork, and ordering supplies.

“And then it was serving, prepping, cooking, whatever,” Havery said. “For lunch, it was always a fresh soup of the day, there’s was always a special…And usually those were — when I was doing it, anyway — those were done ahead of time, and we would send them out on a broadcast saying, ‘On Monday, this will be the special. On Tuesday’, and what the soups were and all that kind of stuff.”

Before her years working at the golf club, Havery spent many years volunteering with the Snow Valley Skating Club, as several of her children had been part of the group growing up.

“I stayed involved with the figure skating club up until about 1989 in different positions,” Havery said. She was President one year, Treasurer, Director, and Chair of the Ice Show, the club’s end-of-year performance for the skaters.

“I liked the Ice Show [position] the best,” Havery said. “It just’s dealing with the costumes, the sets, it’s just a good group of people to work with. And it’s kind of fun to see the kids. Not everybody is a competitor, so the Ice Show is kind of like where they get to show off what they learned.”

Havery’s favourite part of her time with the skating club was working with the children and seeing them all in their costumes and out on the ice.

That was another thing she enjoyed about working at the golf club, as well, as they often hired large numbers of summer students for various positions around the clubhouse and golf course.

“Just in my family alone, I had two grandsons that worked here,” Havery said. “[and] I had two granddaughters work here.”

Now her kids are all grown up, but Havery said she stills sees some of those kids who used to work at the golf club around town, now all grown up, themselves, as well.

“I see around town the fellows that were working on the greens crew, or they were ball pickers, that type of thing. And they’re all grown now…I mean, this was kind of a starting point for a lot of young people,” Havery said. “That was one of the really great things about working here, was working with all the young people.”

Along with her work at the golf and skating clubs, Havery is an avid knitter and crocheter, and makes gift baskets for the annual Christmas Craft Fair at Riverlodge.

“I think I was about 20 when I first moved here, and I have two babies, so I was like, okay I’m going to learn how to knit,” Havery said. “So I went down and I got wool and I taught myself from a book. Because there was no Google in those days!”

Havery would also sew clothing for her kids when they were younger, and then for her grandchildren, and has recently started again with the birth of her two great-grandchildren earlier this year.

Havery has been making the gift baskets for the craft fair for about 30 years now and started after her kids began growing up.

“My kids started getting older and they didn’t need much attention at home, so then I started doing…quilting, I do appliqué, and then I was like, you know what, I think this would be really nice if this went together in a gift basket.”

Appliqué is ornamental needlework, in which pieces or patches of fabric are sewn together onto a larger piece to form a picture or pattern.

Havery will appliqué a set of towels and buy a loofah or other things that would look nice, and wrap it all up in a nicely-designed gift basket. Each basket contains at least one homemade items, such as a blanket, hat, scarves, mittens, slippers, or an apron.

She makes 30 baskets for the craft fair and has to start next year’s buying and making almost as soon as that year’s craft fair is over.

“I start in January, when everything goes on sale, that’s when I start buying.”

Havery has only made 10 baskets so far this year, as she doesn’t know if the Christmas Craft Fair will be happening due to COVID-19.

“I have lots of stuff in storage!” Havery said, as she had already bought all her equipment for this year’s baskets by the time the pandemic hit. However, she’s storing it in her craft room for future use.

Overall, Havery’s had a lot of adventures in the community and she’ll never forget her time working at the golf club, and all the friends she’s made through her time there.

“Working [there], it was definitely the people. I really enjoyed working [there] with the staff that I had at that time, and with the different people that I’m seeing around town.”

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