Information from Joe Lucas of Coalmont, B.C. Recorded before his move to assisted living in Penticton, B.C. June 24, 2015. ~ By Diane Sterne
Joe Lucas was born in London on October 8, 1930. He was a true Cockney because he was born within hearing distance of the Church bells of St. Mary Le Bow. He has a sister and two brothers (plus one deceased). Joe lied about his age to get in the Merchant Marine at the tail end of WWII. The first ship he was on was a tanker. He was in the British Merchant Navy for 10 years. While in London, Joe was a butcher in Brixton, England. He made sausage and cut meat. Joe sailed with his brother, Jack, from Liverpool to New York on the Saxonia. When they arrived in New York they had planned to fly to Vancouver, however there had been a huge snowfall. They were stranded in New York for three days and then took a bus to Chicago and another bus to Vancouver.
Joe continued his trade as a butcher in Vancouver and worked for Kelly Douglas & Co. of the Super Valu chain. From there he went to work for H.Y. Louie Co. of the IGA chain and opened their new store in North Vancouver. Wishing to work for himself, Joe ventured into the cabaret business and owned the El Mocambo Dine and Dance in Burnaby. He was partnered with his wife’s brother. His first wife, Myrna, was a singer in the club. It was the first licensed cabaret in Vancouver that didn’t have a restaurant license. This was in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s.
Eventually Joe and Marilyn left this business and worked for a customs broker in Vancouver.
When Joe and Marilyn decided to retire, they planned on moving to Princeton. They put down a deposit on a house, but it turned out an offer had already been accepted on the property. The Lucas’ decided to move to Coalmont and purchased a building that was about 3 years old. It had not been finished and the lower half of the house was originally built to be a Firehall in Coalmont. This never happened so the Lucas’ purchased it and made it their home. At first they owned three lots and then expanded it by two more lots to include what Joe owns today. The property was eventually amalgamated into one large lot on the corner of Columbia St. and Bettes Ave. Their plan was to live in Coalmont in the summer and Arizona in the winter. Unfortunately on April 2, 2001 while coming home from Arizona, Joe’s wife passed away in Nevada.
Joe has lived in Coalmont for about 25 years and has one son, Mike, who is a professional drag racer in Fort St. John. Joe has travelled the world throughout his exciting life and will be missed when he moves to Penticton sometime in July.