About Branch 530


BR530SE

The Waterloo Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion has been very active since its formation in 1952. 

Below is the first known photograph of Waterloo Branch 530 as it appeared shortly after it was purchased in 1952.  At that time, part of the building was still being used for industrial manufacturing.

Br530_1952

On October 16th, 1951 an advertisement appeared in the local paper advising Veterans that a Legion was to be formed in Waterloo, and that a meeting would be held on Wednesday, October 17th at 7:30 p.m.  All Veterans interested were asked to attend this meeting to be held at the Hotel Waterloo.

Seventy ex-servicemen attended this meeting and W.W. (Dip) Nichol was elected the first President.  Other officers elected were Vice President James MacDonald, Secretary A.D. Smith, and Treasurer Durward Preston.  The executive consisted of Fred Shanks, Albert Grundy, George Coyne and Firman Martin. 

On December 10th, 1951, members of the newly formed Waterloo Legion Branch were initiated in a ceremony held at the Kitchener Legion. 

Charter Night was held on March 1, 1952.  More than 250 Legionnaires for Western Ontario attended this gathering.  Provincial President T.A.M. Hulse presented the Charter to President Walter (Dip) Nichol, congratulated the Waterloo Group and wished them continued success in the future.  Our host for the night was the Waterloo Band master, Professor C.F. Theil, who stated that the Legion was very welcome to use the band hall until such time that we are able to obtain permanent quarters.

The list below represents the 100 Charter Members:

Allen, Henry R.
Ball, Raymond
Barrett, Douglas H.
Bauman, Jerome S.
Beaupre, Harold Henry
Beilstein, Richard G.
Bierschbach, Earl John
Bolduc, Lincoln John
Bricker, Rance
Brown, James
Buttee, Stephen
Butts, John Wm.
Carder, Leslie W.
Carter, Harold Ewald
Chadder, Edward George
Colliver, Thomas G.
Coyne, George E.
Dahmer, Jack
Dankwardt, Harold Francis
Davidson, William H.
Debus, Gordon
Dietrich, Earl W.
Dietrich, James J.
Dubrick, Leonard
Eix, John A.
Erickson, Arthur Roy
Esbaugh, Jerome Frederick
Ewald, Waldon Jacob
Ewald, John S.
Faber, Harold Henry
Fell, Frank H.
Fulkerson, J.E.
Gatchene, Leo J.
Gingerich, Albert
Gingerich, Isaiah
Goodwin, Fred
Graf, Walter
Grundy, Albert E.
Guenther, Lee John
Guenther, Otto Andrew
Handy, Fred J.
Harvey, William F.
Hill, Murray E.
Hilliard, Harry C.
Hillier, Freeman
Hughes, Stanley
Hunt, Harry
Jardine, Howard D.
Karn, Roy
Kress, Edwin

Kropf, Henry
Lacombe, Lloyd
Lee, James Leslie
Lorentz, Leonard J.
MacDonald, James
Mayhew, James
McLay, Robert Douglas
Moss, William A.
Muldoon, James
Murdoch, John G. (Rev.)
Nichol, Walter W.
Nichols, Elvin
Norris, Henry A.
Oberholzer, Joseph A.
Pfanner, Clayton
Pfeiffer, Lorne W.
Playford, Albert
Preston, Durward F.
Rejeski, Creighton
Robins, Kenneth E.
Robinson, Andrew J.
Robinson, Russell L.
Salm, Joseph C.
Salomon, Kenneth A.
Schedewitz, Kenneth J.
Schelter, Elmer A.
Schenk, Wilfred George
Schmidt, Albert G.
Seagram, Thomas W. Sr. 
Shantz, Walter Earl
Shelton, Leslie D.
Sloat, Robert James
Smith, Abraham D.
Smith, Gerald E.
St. Cyr, Carl
Stumpf, Raymond John
Stymiest, Herbert M.
Syrotuik, Michael
Taylor, Joseph
Thiel, Norman
Thomas, Harold
Underwood, Howard C.
Veitel, Lloyd Albert
Walters, Joseph A.
Walz, Howard Edwin
Walz, Kenneth
Ward, Calvin Ray
Weir, Charles Howard
Weir,
Charles Steward  
Young, Frank (Ginger)

 

Executive Officers of the Branch inspected several buildings looking for a suitable location.  The result was the Garfield Raymond Glove Company building, providing we could meet their proposed price.

At a meeting in the late summer of 1952 Finance Chairman Rance Bricker brought the good news that one of Waterloo’s prominent citizens, Tom Seagram agreed to purchase the building for approximately $45,000.00 and he would grant us an open mortgage at 4.00%.  At that time the Raymond Glove Company occupied half of the basement floor plus the entire second floor, and the Spiegelberg Shoe Company was on the third floor. 

After we occupied the building many members worked very hard “free gratis” to make temporary renovations in order to give us a Clubroom.  The top floor was then rented to Canada Health Insurance Company as their Claims Office and half of the basement was rented to Russell Knitting Company.  The other half was our Clubroom. 

In 1953 a Cenotaph Committee was formed, made up of Executive Members along with an affluent Waterloo Citizen, Mr. Ford S. Kumpf, who was known as “Mr. Waterloo”.  This group was responsible for raising sufficient funds to erect a Cenotaph.  After several years of meetings, a suitable location was chosen which is presently located between Knox Presbyterian Church and Marsland Centre. 

The money the Committee raised came from business establishments and personal donations.  Through their combined efforts the Branch was able to raise the required $17,000.00 to have the Cenotaph erected.  The unveiling took place on Sunday, November 3rd, 1957 and was presided over by Mr. J. Martin and assisted by members of the Silver Cross Mothers, Mrs. Peter Hergott and Mrs. Robertson.  Also present was Comrade David L. Burgess, M.B.E.,M.C. President of the Dominion Command, as well as other representatives. 

After meeting L.C.B.O.’s requirements, we received our liquor license in November 1953. 

At a general meeting held May 18th, 1954 Mr. Thomas Seagram, our Landlord, was presented with an Award of Merit in appreciation of his generous assistance in purchasing the Raymond Glove building for our Branch.  This meeting being our ‘Tom Seagram Night’ President James MacDonald turned the meeting over to Past President Durward Preston, who gave a brief history of our Branch.

Mr. Seagram thanked the group assembled and stated this framed certificate would be hung in a very conspicuous place where it would be noticed and would be treasured deeply.

After Canada Health Insurance Company and Russell Knitting vacated the premises, 404 Wing R.C.A.F. Association rented the third floor for their Clubroom in 1954 and remained there until the 1960’s when they built their own club quarters in North Waterloo.

The Waterloo Mount Hope cemetery had a small section for Veterans graves near the Pine Street entrance.  This small section was soon filled and the only marker designating it as a Veteran section was a flag pole.  Comrade Joe Walters offered to build a brick monument for this plot.  After months of discussion this was finally agreed upon, and the monument was built.  Superior Memorials volunteered their services and also donated the stone needed for the engraving.  We now have a neat and distinguished looking monument marking the Veterans Plot in Mount Hope Cemetery.

The City of Waterloo prepared another cemetery on University Avenue East near the corner of Bridge Street, known as Parkview Cemetery.  Four sections, two on each side of the main entrance were set aside for Veterans.  This land was dedicated at a special ceremony and the first cairn was donated and erected by Fred and Ivy Hamer in memory of their son, Barry.  The second cairn, recently erected, was presented by Waterloo Branch 530. 

The Last Post Fund is a fund available to pay funeral expenses for Veterans that served during the First, Second and Korean Wars, who require financial assistance.  The opening and closing of the grave is paid for by the Fund as well as a marker.

The unveiling of our first Memorial Board for the Branch was in 1964.  This was purchased from the Globe Furniture Company through Comrade W.A. Moss, who was employed there.  The money used to pay for the Memorial Board came from the estate of Orval Hasenpflug, who left the Branch $500.00 in his will.  Orval Hasenpflug was a guest member. 

In the year 1959 the Waterloo Branch 530 was presented with the Van Someren Trophy for the best Branch in 1958.  Presentation was made by Provincial President Henry Harvey to Membership Chairman Comrade Bill Moss, and President Comrade Joseph Oberholzer.

In 1958 the Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion started a Fitness Program named Participation Program.  This program was started to improve the health of our children and adults.  Track and Field was chosen as the sport since this is measured by individual performance.  Other than relay races there are no team sports.  Each person competes with his own past performance.

The Waterloo Legion formed a Track & Field Club and joined the South Western Branch of the Ontario A.A.U.  “Amateur Athletic Union” who were the ruling body in sports at that time.

The Hamilton Olympic Club immediately offered their assistance to get us started and have stuck with our club through the years.  With their help we managed a National meet in our first year, and several more since.

Comrade Russ Echlin was our driving force in building our club.  He was our first Track and Field Chairman, and was also the Chairman of the University Committee responsible for building Seagram Stadium, the track and all the facilities.  The Legion offered to put in the field events and go fifty-fifty on all implements and equipment.  We also donated weeks of labour.

The track was measured and marked in yards and meters.  The markers were aluminum and placed in the cement curving of the track.  These markers were made and donated by Comrade Stewart Wagner.  The Waterloo Branch was then able to run the first ever Track and Field meet in metric in all of Canada. The results were all new records, some of which still stand to-day. 

The Dominion Command hired Geoffrey Dyson, a world famous Track and Field coach from England to teach coaches all across Canada.  One school was held in Guelph to which we sent five or six coaches.  This training produced hundreds of first class coaches which was proven by the results of the Canadian athletes in world competition.  Abby Hoffman and Bruce Kidd were just two of them.  We were fortunate in having Mr. Dyson as a Guest Speaker at one of our Honours and Awards dinners.  This dinner will never be forgotten as the power went off as we were about to sit down for dinner.  This was the night of the blackout through Quebec, Ontario and New York State.

The Waterloo Legion was well known from Halifax to Vancouver for their interest and effort in Track and Field. 

Sports has been a big factor in the activities of our Branch for the past 40 years. The Branch has never failed to enter in Zone, District and Provincial competition in all twelve sports. 

The Branch has won many championships over the years in all Legion Sports, particularly dominating in snooker, darts and shuffleboard at all levels.

It is to be noted that some members have played in some of the different sports from day one to the present.

The facilities for sports in the Branch have been improved over the years to the point where we have some of the finest dart playing areas, both in the clubroom and on the third floor, as well as snooker tables in the club room.

Throughout the 40 years of Branch 530’s existence, you can always come in and enjoy a good game of cards, snooker, darts or any of the Sports.  The friendly atmosphere of the Branch will ensure that everybody, young and old, are welcome at any time to take advantage of the great sports facilities.  With sixteen dart boards on the third floor and the large snooker tables in the club room, which were donated to the Waterloo Legion in 1956 by Orval Hasenpflug, owner of the Hub Cigar Store in Waterloo.  Mr. Hasenpflug later joined the Branch as a guest member.    

Since receiving our Branch Charter in 1952, the building has gone through many renovations.  A Major renovation was done a little over twenty years ago.  To continue with improvements to the Branch, a ten passenger elevator was recently installed to serve the three floors at a cost in excess of $200,000.00.  The members of Branch 530 can be very proud of the facilities we have today, and of the great contribution they have made to our Community.  This was accomplished by a great number of dedicated members, especially a great portion of our Comrades who have passed on to their just reward, as well as those still looking after the Branch.  To record the names of all those involved is impossible but we, the member, know who they were and still are.  In 1992 the Branch Executive consists of the following members: 

LADIES AUXILIARY 

We would be remiss if we did not mention the Ladies’ Auxiliary, who received their Charter in 1953.  Without their strong support and dedication, we would not be where we are today.  We extend to the Ladies our thanks and appreciation.  Recorded below is the list of their Charter Members as well as their Past Presidents:

 

Ladies’ Auxiliary Charter Members

Bartley, Ruth
Bauman, Eileen
Brenneman, Nora
Clemmer, Beatrice
Franz, Rose
Gascho, Shirley
Gingerich, Doris
Goodwin, Winifred
LaCombe, Ruth

McKenzie, Dorothy
Nichol, Cora
Oberholzer, Pearl
Preston, Tekla
Salmen, Ella
Schedewitz, Marie
Schmidt, Dorothy
Steubing, Patricia
Woods, Mary

 THE FUTURE

From a small beginning of the first 100 Charter members in 1952 to our present membership of 1350 in all categories in 1992, approximately half are now Senior Citizens or on the verge of becoming Seniors.

The Waterloo Branch 530 has served its members well during the past years and are confident that the Branch will continue to serve its members equally well in the future.