SENTINEL AT 60: The namesake of Meldrum Street

As we reflect on the Northern Sentinel's 60 years, here's a look back at a former Sentinel editor. Originally printed in 1977.

From the Northern Sentinel, May 5, 1977:

Pixie Meldrum, one of Kitimat’s best loved and most distinguished citizens, died yesterday in Vancouver after a lingering illness. In failing health for several years, but characteristically buoyant in spirits and attitude to life, Pixie learned several weeks before her death of Kitimat’s gesture of regard in naming a street for her and her late husband, Hugh, who died in 1968.

In Kitimat Mrs. Meldrum was best known for her community work as a newspaper woman and a member of the city council. For 13 years she was a reporter of women’s interest news for The Sentinel, then successively assistant editor, editor and  general manager.

She left the Sentinel to travel, intending to live in retirement on Vancouver Island. But two decades of ties with Kitimat were too strong and she continued to write news of the community she loved as editor of the Ingot, finally leaving Kitimat in 1974. Frances Meldrum’s time on council is described by those who worked with her or watched her efforts as valuable to Kitimat. She was a quiet but persistent maker of her points and left the heat of council’s more contentious sessions to others.

Hugh Meldrum, too, had a unique capacity for making friends – a fact Alcan wisely capitalized on. He was the semi-official greeter and conducter of VIP visitors to Kitimat in his years with Personnel and Public Relations.

A great many visitors to Kitimat, taken in hand by Hugh, ended the tour as guests at the Meldrums’ rambling, rustic home on Hawk Street, with other invited and uninvited guests dropping in to say hello.

For many years a quiet observer there of the social going-on was Mrs. Flora Tanner, Pixie’s mother. Nursing a cold libation in one hand and a cigarette in the other, she received guests at her own “court” in a footstooled chair in the corner.

She had seen Canada’s West develop from railway construction days on the prairies, where she had been a nurse and had married a CPR pioneering doctor. They had raised a family of sons and daughters who won her approval by living useful, active lives. The frontier of industrialization in British Columbia as represented by young, unfinished Kitimat was much to her liking as a place to live out her life story.

Before coming to Kitimat, Pixie Meldrum had had a secretarial career in Vancouver. She was active in art circles and painted competently enough for her work to be in demand at exhibitions and art sales. Part of the atmosphere of the hospitable house was in the decor of artwork, books, inviting chairs and anecdotal conversation before a crackling log fire.

For a time, at least, Meldrum Street will evoke memories of two remarkably engaging personalities identified with the happiness side of life in Kitimat. Later it will be only a street named Meldrum — which will be too bad for those who use the address but who will never have had the privilege of knowing the Meldrums, Pixie and Hugh.

Mrs. Meldrum was the daughter of Lt. Col. A. W. Tanner, MD. She is survived by her brother John, of Sooke, Vancouver Island, her sister Eleanor Morrison of Blind Bay, B.C., and sister-in-law Betty Tanner, wife of Dr. A.R. Tanner of Winnipeg.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in St. Marry’s Anglican Church in Kerrisdale. No flowers, by request, but donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society.