|Harold H. Flemmer (2003)
Harold Flemmer worked his entire career for Canadian Pacific Railway, from 1947 to 1996, almost 50 years. He started as a labourer in Walsh, Alberta, earning a wage of 64 cents an hour.
By 1956 he was foreman of the Medicine Hat Yard, at the ripe old age of 25. He supervised 26 men, who all were at least twice his age.
Much of his career was dedicated to track maintenance, an essential yet underrated part of railroading. He advanced to supervisor of Track Programs in 1958. For many years Harold was on call around the clock, 365 days a year, often working 14-to-16-hour days, 6 or 7 days a week.
By 1968, he was supervisor of Special Duties, which included construction of the Alyth automated hump yard in Calgary from 1968 to 1970. When completed, it was the most fully automated operation of its kind on the continent. Harold considered this landmark project to be the biggest achievement of his career.
In 1975 Harold was promoted to assistant supervisor Maintenance of Way, Pacific Division. In 1976 he worked as a training development officer in Montréal, creating training materials for CPR based on the expertise he had developed in the field over many years.
In 1987 Mr. Flemmer was promoted to supervisor, Maintenance of Way, and from 1994 (until his retirement in 1996) he was manager of track programs for Heavy Haul Canada.
Through it all Harold still managed to raise a family with his dedicated wife, Freda. They are both alive today and live in Calgary. They have two daughters, two grandchildren and two great-grandsons. Harold is as dedicated to his family as he was to his career with CPR.
After his retirement in 1996, Harold wrote a book entitled Memories — Childhood Reflections of Farming During the Great Depression and Fifty Years of Railroading. In his book of memoirs he wrote: “My health was good all through my working career. I never missed a day due to illness in forty-nine years and three months. I feel I worked for the best company in the history of North America — Canadian Pacific Railway.”
For his dedication, diligence and integrity throughout fifty years with
Canadian Pacific, we are glad to induct Harold Flemmer as a Hero in the
Canadian Railway Hall of Fame in 2003.
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