Through love of the Shuswap community, demonstrated by decades of volunteer work, both Allan and Rosemary exemplify what is means to be a Community Champion: a person who identifies a need in their community and works in whatever way they can to contribute to the growth of that community and the support of its residents.
Having worked tirelessly with the Tappen Co-op, the Okanagan Historical Society, and Haney Heritage Village and Museum both Allan and Rosemary had an insider’s knowledge of the resources required to ensure these organization could carry out their mandate.
Allan’s grandparents were Finnish Immigrants who arrived in the Shuswap in 1890. His father, Jack Wilson, taught in many one room school houses as well as at Carlin School, and his hobby was photography. Growing up in a time of great economic and social change, Allan soon learned how valuable it was to capture and preserve the transformation of the Shuswap Community.
Rosemary’s father and mother, Allen and Mary Harvey, operated a dairy farm in Mt. Lehman, where Rosemary was born. There she learned her work ethic, looking after the family home and gaining hands on experience of farm work and animal husbandry.
The desire for higher education took Allan to Nanaimo where he studied to be a mechanic, and there he met Rosemary. They married in 1968 and moved to Tappen in 1969 to live with Allan’s parents while he built their home. This was the start of a life journey together built on love, and a shared interest in history and community building. Rosemary held down the fort at home, running the family farm and eventually raising as many as 35 sows, while Allan worked as a Mechanic at the Federated Co-op Sawmill in Canoe. Their two children, Mae and Philip, were born in 1971 and 1975, respectively.
The love of community and the preservation of Shuswap heritage shaped and defined the lives of Allan and Rosemary Wilson. Both equipped with a strong work ethic that served them well, they faced the hurdles and challenges of being farmers, which tested not only their resilience but proved to be the bond that would keep their family strong and grounded.
Rosemary, who passed away in 2017, is fondly remembered as a woman who was goal oriented, industrious, a team player, and a quick leaner with an aptitude for numbers. She was a Shuswap Community Member whose lifetime contributions continue to benefit residents of the Shuswap. Allan carries on the work that they both found so fulfilling. Should you meet him, he is a fountain of information, and he will regale you with stories that leave you laughing and feeling lucky to call the Shuswap community home.
Shuswap Community Foundation is grateful to Allan and the late Rosemary Wilson for their generous donation to establish the Allan and Rosemary Wilson Endowment Fund that will benefit residents of the Shuswap for a very long time to come.
Income from the Fund will be disbursed annually, at the discretion of the directors of the Foundation, to award one or more grants in the name of the Fund to charitable organizations operating in the Shuswap area, providing funds for:
- Purchasing archival supplies for museums located in the Shuswap area, including Salmon Arm, Sicamous, North Shuswap, and Falkland;
- Maintaining or enhancing the Tappen Cemetery;
- Researching and writing historical accounts of the Shuswap area.
If there are no suitable applications for projects in any of the above-noted categories, income from the Fund will be disbursed annually to benefit community heritage projects or initiatives in the Shuswap area.