Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 15, 2006
Find someone going in the same direction
Salmons credit faith and family for their 52-year union
By BILL GLEN
- WCR photo by Bill Glen
Married for 52 years, Bea and Don Salmon raised their three children in a warm, loving Catholic home.
"I joined the air force when I was 17 and after a few months of training courses in Ontario, my first posting was Edmonton."
Bea had six brothers and sisters. Her family were devout Catholics.
They met through a mutual friend.
"We were fortunate and not quite as poor as Don's family," said Bea, 70. "I met him when he came out here at a family birthday party. He came along with another fellow who knew us.
"We were only 17."
When Don finished his training, he was asked where he would like to go. He had no preference. He chose Edmonton.
One evening during a dance on the base, their eyes locked from across the room. Don felt compelled to ask Bea out for a date. He was stationed in the Kingsway area while Bea was attending business school to be a receptionist.
They went to movies together. The military base had a few dances and they enjoyed going to local boxing matches. Playing cards for pennies was a hit in Bea's home.
"Most of the time, Don came over to our house to visit," Bea said. "My two grandfathers lived with us and we liked to play cards. My dad is alive and he's 92 and he still plays cards. We laugh when he plays with his great-grandchildren."
One problem they encountered was that Don was not Catholic and Bea's great-aunt wanted her to become a nun, like herself.
"I didn't ask him to change, but I told Don I wanted to be married in a Catholic church," Bea said. "He was agreeable."
After taking 10 lessons from the Edmonton Archdiocese, the Salmons received permission from Archbishop Anthony Jordan to be married in a Catholic church. They had to promise to raise their children Catholic and they kept that promise.
A year after they were married, Don became Catholic.
He had grown up in a Christian home, but they did not belong to a particular church.
"Going to a Catholic church just felt right. I liked the structure," he said. "I didn't understand Latin but it seemed to make sense because I could follow the dignity and the beauty of the Mass."
Don spent more than 12 years in the air force. When they returned from Europe, he had extra time so he took a part-time job repairing televisions. That led to another career with the Alberta government, first with the public works department and then with Alberta Government Telephones.
They sacrificed a social life for the good of the family. Bea stayed home, raising the children until they went to school.
"Our social life was Sunday dinners at my parents' house," Bea said.
She went to work with Imperial Oil as a keypunch operator. Her shift was 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. When Don came home from work, Bea would depart. She was hired full-time after the youngest child went to school.
In difficult or prosperous times, the Salmons continually served their Church, their family and each other.
"Our faith has given us a lot of things," Bea said. "We have met good friends through the Knights and the CWL."
Don keeps busy volunteering with the Knights and delivering furniture for the St. Vincent de Paul Society. And he enjoys the occasional game of golf.
Bea is committed to the CWL. She also continues to five-pin bowl, an activity she has done her entire life.
The Salmons have never quit working or volunteering together.
"We came from good family structures, so that helped us. And our Church. It was part of our lives," Bea said.
"We always wanted to go together in the same direction, working for the same things. I think that was most important for us."
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