Rachel Wellock's 100th birthday party
A long-time Rosslander celebrated her 100th birthday on October 14th, 2019. Rachel Wellock still walks without a cane; she attributes her fitness partly to good luck, but mostly to many years of walking up and down the hills of Rossland, and hiking up the local mountains. She now lives in Courtenay, on Vancouver Island, where she has close family members, but she lived in Rossland for almost 77 years.
Rachel, known as Rae, first came to Rossland as a baby when her parents, Helen and John Douglas, moved here just after World War I. Her brother Jim and sister Helen were born later. Brother Jim was involved in the initial development of Red Mountain as a ski hill, and was a racer and ski instructor.
Rae married Mike Wellock and raised their children, Doug and Louise, in Rossland. Doug became a Canadian Junior Ski Downhill Champion and Canadian National Ski Team member.
Rae Wellock taught in both Cook Avenue and Maclean Elementary schools for many years, then moved on to teach at Rossland Secondary School. She completed her teaching career at J. Lloyd Crowe in Trail. Her daughter Louise reports that Rae was the first married woman permitted to teach in this district.
Rae and seven of her friends started a bridge club, and played the game every week for over 50 years.
One of Rae’s proudest accomplishments was, along with the other library board members at the time, being instrumental in finding a piece of downtown land and obtaining the funds to build a new library centrally located on Columbia Avenue. Before that, the library had been housed in the chilly basement of the courthouse, but in 1981 was given notice that it would have to move out by January of 1983. Of the courthouse basement library location, Rae’s daughter Louise said, “I remember going there as a kid – it was sort of like going into a dungeon – kind of scary but interesting.”
Rae also wrote a column for the Rossland Miner, called “Stitch and Patter,” while she was at home raising her children.
On November 30, 1992, Rachel Wellock was featured on the front page of the Trail Times as Rossland’s Citizen of the Year.
Her daughter reports, “Rae loved living in Rossland and still, to this day, thinks of it as her true home. She feels blessed to have been able to live there for so long.”