Bev, nee Rigg was born in 1945 to parents Anne Baran and Isaac Rigg, both also born in Fernie.
Bev, had one sister, and as children they rode bikes and skipped rope. A bit on the mischievous side, Bev recalls staking out the Community Gardens during the day, and raiding them at night. “It was good fun,” she laughs.
In the winter, Bev’s father, Isaac, would freeze the back yard and make a skating rink. She remembers winters were much colder when she was a child, and there was a lot more snow. “The snow was so deep that we would walk the fence line to school.”
Bev’s first job was babysitting, and then she started working at age 17 at Trites-Wood. It was while working here that she met Bruce Inglis, who worked across the street at the Commerce Bank. She laughs as she tells how Margaret Cocciolo acted as a go-between for her and Bruce, passing notes back and forth.
In 1965, Bev and Bruce were married in the Catholic Church in Fernie, and later that year Bruce accepted a transfer with the bank to Haney, (now Maple Ridge), B.C. While living there, they welcomed their daughter Teri Ann. The family returned to Fernie, and in 1967 Bruce accepted a job with Westar Mining.
After returning to Fernie, deciding that one child would be too spoiled, they put in a request for adoption. After eight or nine months, they brought home their five-week-old son, Chris.
With her family complete, Bev worked at Stedman’s Department Store, and then Robinsons. About 1975, she accepted a position at the Valley Motor Inn, and stayed there until the building was torn down, after which she retired, at least from paid positions.
Bev’s retirement took on a life of its own, as she now found herself with time to volunteer. Her first volunteer position was with the Elk Valley Blazers Senior Hockey team. Bev and Bruce both did security for the games, and then Bruce became treasurer and Bev took on the role as secretary. Bev also found herself washing the uniforms and cleaning the dressing rooms.
The Blazers folded in 1987, however when the Fernie Ghostriders were formed, Bev picked up where she had left off, working in security, then the beer room and selling the tickets. When asked how long she has been doing that for, Bev says, “forever – it feels like forever, but it is a good forever.”
For the past 20 years, Bev has also been a volunteer with the Special Olympics, looking after the advertising. Of the Olympians, she says admiringly, “they are special people.”
In 2001, after a brief illness, Bruce passed on at age 58. Admittedly feeling lonely when this happened, Bev started gradually to “get back in there. I picked myself up, dusted myself off and got out the door,” she says.
These days, Bev’s role as a volunteer has expanded to helping a few of the “special ladies” at the Rocky Mountain Village (RMV), by shopping for them, or taking them shopping or to the bank. “I started because my sister was in there, and then she passed, and I thought ‘someone needs to do this.’ One day I will be in here and maybe someone will do it for me,” she shares.
Together with friends, Bunny Samuelson and Candy Glover, Bev spends time crocheting hats for children with cancer, and five days a week, at 5:45 in the morning at the Lutheran Church, exercising.
Of the changes in Fernie, she says, “We used to know who lived in every house on Victoria Avenue. Maybe it is our own fault that we don’t anymore as we don’t push ourselves to get to know them.”
“I love helping people. If I can make them smile, it makes my day. I will do this [volunteer] until my legs won’t pack me.”
Dedicated to helping others, Bev Inglis is this weeks “face of the valley.”