Maurice Landers passed away on November 19, 2010 at the age of 92, at Piccadilly Care Centre.
Maurice was born in the Deep South, in Noxapater, Mississippi on September 15, 1918. He was the oldest of seven children born to James Alvin and Sadie Landers. Shortly after his birth, his parents moved to South Dakota and then to a homestead near Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan.
At eighteen years old, Maurice completed teacher training and began teaching forty-two students in ten grades in a country school in the dust bowl of Southern Saskatchewan. During World War II, Maurice served for four and a half years as an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Signals-Radar Corps. He was decorated with the RCAF Canadian Volunteer Service Medal. In 1945, Maurice married Dorothy Smith and in 1947, he graduated from the University of Saskatchewan.
During the war, Maurice’s parents moved from Saskatchewan to an orchard on the present site of Shuswap Middle School. When Maurice was discharged from the Air Force, he arrived to visit them and decided Salmon Arm was a much better place to live than the prairies.
So Maurice, Dorothy, and their first child Garry moved to a farm in South Canoe, known as Little England, in 1947. At that time, Maurice joined the staff of Salmon Arm High School. His years as vice-principal began in 1950 at Salmon Arm Jr. Sr. High School (later JL Jackson) and continued when Salmon Arm Senior Secondary (now Jackson campus) opened in 1962. He was a member of the successful administrative team of Ladner–Landers from 1952-1976 with Maddie Suckling joining them in 1962. Besides fulfilling his vice-principal duties, Maurice taught Grade 12 and 13 Chemistry and Math. He enjoyed getting to know the students in the classroom setting.
Maurice was also a successful farmer, with wheat, dairy cows, chickens and a cherry orchard. He used his mechanical skills to develop what the Winnipeg Free Press described as “the first automated chicken farm in Western Canada.”
In 1952, Maurice became Commanding Officer of the 1787 Rocky Mountain Rangers Cadet Corps, and held this post for twenty-five years. In 1958, Dorothy died suddenly, leaving Maurice with three young children, Garry, Joyanne and Dean. The death of Dorothy led to the sale of the farm and a move into Salmon Arm, where Maurice developed a rental property business. He was a highly regarded landlord for many years.
Maurice married Home Economics teacher Olwen Evans in 1960. When daughter Eve was born, Maurice’s family was complete. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge where he became Worshipful Master in 1958 and received his sixty year pin in 2009. Maurice was also a member of the Royal Canadian Legion for fifty-five years, the Scottish Rite Lodge of Vernon (Shriners), the District of Salmon Arm Board of Variance, the BC Heart Foundation, the Salmon Arm Curling Club, and was a founding member of the Shuswap Amateur Radio Club.
Maurice completed his forty-one year career as administrator and teacher in 1978. In retirement, Maurice and Olwen enjoyed playing golf and travelling. Maurice is survived by his wife of fifty years, Olwen, his sons Garry (Mary), Dean (Sally), his daughters Joyanne and Eve, and grandchildren Stacey, Rob, Quinn, Tara, Owen, Heath and Laura. He is predeceased by his brother Bill and sister Lorene and survived by his brother Jim, and sisters Louise, Joyce and Gloria.
A Celebration of Life and reception for Maurice Landers will be held at Bowers Funeral Home on Saturday, November 27th at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Shuswap Hospital Foundation, PO Box 265, Salmon Arm, BC VIE 4N3
Email condolences may be sent to Maurice’s obituary at www.bowersfuneralservice.com
Funeral arrangements are in the care of Bowers Funeral Home and Crematorium, Salmon Arm.