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Forrest, Albert J.

by Ken Forrest, Christine F. Biotti, and Pam F. Wood

Albert J. Forrest was born in Mount Carmel Parish, Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada on January 11, 1886. In 1900, he moved to Dawson, Yukon Territory, with his parents and two brothers, Paul and Emil.

In 1905, Albert traveled to Ottawa, Ontario, with the members of the Dawson City Hockey Team and their benefactor Joe Boyle, to challenge the Ottawa Silver Seven for the Stanley Cup. Dawson lost both games, but the Dawson Daily News reported, “Although the team failed to bring back the big liquid receptacle, it advertised the Klondike better than any other delegation that has left the country for years....” Albert still holds the record for youngest goalie (age 19) who traveled the longest distance to compete in a Stanley Cup playoff. A young reader’s biography of Albert Forrest was written in 1989 by Brian McFarlane, entitled “The Youngest Goalie.”

The following is from an article which appeared in the October 8, 1910, Dawson Daily News, where Albert Forrest was employed as a Linotype operator. “The wedding bells are ringing. Two of Dawson’s best known young people were bound this morning in the holy ties of wedlock when Miss Parmelia Joyal was met at the altar by Albert James Forrest. The bride is the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Phillippe Joyal. The father is a pioneer miner. The groom is one of the shareholders of the Dawson News and has spent so many eventful years of his career in Dawson as to be entitled to distinction as a Yukon product.

“Mr. And Mrs. Forrest have taken the McDonald cottage on Seventh Avenue. The bride is one of the most gifted young vocalists in Dawson. The groom has been prominent in Dawson for years in athletics. He holds the Yukon speed championship for skating; played several years with the fastest hockey teams of Klondike, making the tour with the all-Klondike team which went throughout Canada and the United States and tried for the Minto Cup with creditable showing; played several years with Dawson league baseball teams...was a member of champion basketball teams and other athletic organizations.”

Albert and Parmelia moved to Vancouver BC, Canada. Albert was employed by the Vancouver Sun as a Linotype operator with a weekly wage of $15. They spent seven years in Vancouver, not far from Stanley Park. Their first three children were born there. Wallen W. on July 15, 1911; Leonard Emile on June 3, 1913; and Yvonne on December 4, 1917. Philip Gilbert was born in Juneau at St. Ann’s Hospital on May 27, 1924.

Albert and Parmelia always intended to return to Dawson City. Early in 1918 they decided to make the move. The trip would be long and arduous so they decided to take the baby, Yvonne, and temporarily placed Wallen and Leonard in a Vancouver orphanage. When the boat stopped in Juneau, the Daily Alaska Empire needed a Linotype operator, so they decided to stay. After they were settled in Juneau they sent for Wallen and Leonard to come by boat to Juneau.

In late 1918 the Forrests had been North. Albert and Parmelia took the train to Skagway to catch the boat for Juneau, with a final destination of Seattle to visit Parmelia’s mother Edwardina Joyal who was living in Seattle. Albert and Parmelia’s train was late and they missed the steamer, the SS Princess Sophia, headed for Juneau. The Sophia hit a reef and all aboard were lost. When they arrived in Juneau on a later vessel the recovered frozen bodies were piled on the dock.

During their first seven years in Juneau they lived intown, renting a house at 807 Dixon Avenue. In 1924, the family moved two miles north on Glacier Highway. There were three homes along the highway originally built as summer homes by three related families. The Forrest family home had a big living room and kitchen with a bath off the kitchen and a bedroom addition off the opposite end of the kitchen. Yvonne slept in the walk-in closet and the boys slept upstairs.

For several years Albert raised silver foxes for the fur market.

Parmelia dreamed of a four bedroom home for her family. Albert was thrifty, saving $5 a week out of his $48 weekly salary. Around 1935 a company made an offer of $7,500 for his share of a mining claim near Dawson. Parmelia pushed to sell to realize her dream of a bigger home. The larger foundation was poured around the existing house. The floor and ceiling beams were extended, then the roof was added. They owned three and a half acres up to the base of the mountain. They had their own water system from a spring and had gardens. Parmelia kept many flowers and was known for providing decoration for the altar for Sunday Mass. Albert liked to plant vegetables including potatoes. The soil was fertile and they made good use of the single growing season. Albert stated they grew four foot grass and five foot weeds. Albert and Parmelia lived in this home until her death from a heart attack on June 29, 1947 at age 58. She is buried in Juneau.

Philip Forrest attended St. Anne’s Parochial School in Juneau through the sixth grade when he contracted several childhood diseases plus appendicitis. Because of his many absences, his parents transferred him to the Juneau public grade school. He attended Juneau High School until March of his junior year when he quit school and got a job working for Gordon T. Ferguson, a pharmacist. He made $35 a month.

Leonard worked in the late 20s for Standard Machine Works, co-owned by Paul Hudon. He graduated from St. Ann’s High School in 1931 as valedictorian. After graduation and for several seasons, Leonard worked the floating salmon canneries that operated in the Wrangell area. He left Juneau in 1935, settling in Everett, Washington in 1938 where he worked for the Great Northern Railway until his death in 1966. He married Helen Gabriel in 1937 and they had three children, Kenneth, Nanette, and Susan.

Yvonne married Marion Pendergrass in 1939 and they homesteaded in Palmer. In the 60s they lived on American Samoa for a few years. She died about 1970 in Palmer.

Wallen married Helen Pusich of Douglas in 1940 and they went to Seattle. They divorced in the late 40s and he spent years with the Civil Aeronautics Administration at Canton Island and Hawaii. He died in Seattle in 1991.

At age 17 Philip went to Everett, Washington for the summer and stayed with his brother and sister-in-law, Leonard and Helen Forrest. After spending a lively summer he returned to Juneau in September and worked at the drug store again. He then began delivering groceries and working in Bert’s Cash Grocery. When the airport expansion project to accommodate B-17s began, Philip got a job driving dump truck for Morrison and Knudsen. Ted Smith, his good friend, also got a job there. They worked 10 hour days from 4 A.M. to 2 P.M., seven days a week, from April to October. It was a government job so all the equipment was brand new - like playing with new toys.

That fall he went to work for the Royal Blue Cab Company. His chauffeur’s license cost $2.00. He drove a Model A convertible and a 1940 Mercury. Juneau was paved from Front Street to Fourth Street, with Fourth to Eighth Streets all gravel with steep inclines. He returned to Everett and worked at Soundview Pulp Mill and then enlisted in the Navy.

On April 22, 1943 he was sent to Farragut, Idaho for the ten-week boot camp. He was posted to Bremerton after a short leave. In July Philip was assigned to the USS Enterprise. On October 31, 1943 the Enterprise left Bremerton and did not return there until June, 1945. Philip worked on the hangar deck crew and participated in several South Pacific battles. When he returned to Bremerton, Phillip had a month’s leave and was finally able to go home to Juneau.

On the ship to Juneau Philip ran into Marilyn Merritt, a Juneau girl. Her mom met the boat when it arrived in Juneau at 6:30 A.M. and they drove Philip to his parent’s home. He had been away for three years, but Duke, the family dog, met him at the gate with his tail wagging. Philip went to see his former shop teacher, Hank Harmon, who had been an important male figure in Philip’s youth. Hank took Philip to the Rotary Club luncheon as his guest.

When it was time to return to base, Philip had booked passage on the Westward to return to Seattle. The Westward made an unscheduled stop off the coast of Prince Rupert to pick up passengers from a ship that had broken down, delaying his return to base by two days. Philip was a half hour late in reporting and was officially declared AOL. Fortunately, no charges were leveled.

Philip did not live in Juneau after the war although he returned to Juneau for his mother’s funeral in June, 1947. After Parmelia’s death, Albert moved to Everett to live with Leonard and Helen. In 1954 he moved to a nursing home in West Seattle. He died July 28, 1955 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Everett.

Philip lived in Everett as well, working first at Allen Buick, then eventually beginning his 30-year career as a milk man with Arown Dairy. Philip met his wife, Catherine Louise Stecher in 1948, dancing at Lundeen’s at Lake Stevens, Washington. They were married October 23, 1948 in Everett, and had five children. Catherine died in the 1980s and Philip in 1995.

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