The following excerpt was researched at Archives Canada by Rob Hermanrude …
ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY/BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH:
Toni Klettl immigrated to Canada from Austria in 1951. After working in Northern Ontario a short while, he headed west and worked near Prince George, B.C. In 1952 he came to Jasper and it must have been what he was looking for because Jasper became home for the next 33 years.
Toni worked as a powderman, doing the blasting during the construction of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline. Then it was on to the CN express office along with Hoppy Bolton, Laurie Woodcock, Bill Lawseth and Wally Shewchuk. He has often recalled meeting the trains from the west at six in the morning, dark, alone, and having to handle the cash boxes full of old money going back to the mint for disposal.
Shirley Doige, was born in Lamont, AB, became a teacher and came to Jasper in the fall of 1952 to teach grade two in the old two-story school.
In March 1954, an eight-man ski-mountaineering group left the sawmill near Moat Lake for a 22 day, 200 mile ski trip over the ice fields of the Alberta/B.C. boundary to Wapta Lodge, near Field. Expedition leader was Peter Bennett. John Dupre was to have been the guide but, he broke his wrist, so Toni acted in his place. The party made it up onto the Hooker Icefield, but heavy snow (four feet overnight) and a high avalanche hazard made the trip just too dangerous, so the expedition was cancelled and the group returned to Jasper.
Toni and Shirley were married on November 27, 1954. They stayed in a room at Ralph Grave’s home for awhile and then finally were able to get a suite upstairs at Bob and Ivy Smith’s house at 213 Bonhomme. Toni started working for Parks in the gardens under head gardener, Ted Styles.
That winter (1955-56), Pete Brodie, the Chief Warden, asked Toni if he’d go on ski patrol at Whistler with Tom McCready. By then, the cabin from the Lower area (down by highway 16) had been moved up to the new area, runs had been cleared out and a Poma lift was in operation.
Their first child, Linda Maria, was born April 24, 1956. Shortly after, they moved to Maligne Lake for the summer, where Toni was an Assistant Warden under Larry McGuire. Larry and Betty McGuire lived in their new Warden house and the Klettls lived in the “bunkhouse” at the end of the garage.
Toni wanted to become a Park Warden, but to work as a civil servant you had to be a Canadian citizen, so as soon as the mandatory five years waiting period was over, Toni applied for his citizenship papers. He had to go to Edson for an oral test where Judge Buchanan asked him questions about Canada, the history, the constitution, the geography, etc. He passed and received his papers.
Toni’s salary for 1958 was $3,613.50 and they paid $15.00 per month rent for the log cabin at Blue Creek. The Klettls lived at Blue Creek Warden District for three winters and two summers. Toni and Shirley’s twins, Howard Joseph and Loni Elaine, born September 8, 1959 at Lamont, Alberta.
The Klettls moved from Blue Creek in the spring of 1960, and were posted to what was then called the Whirlpool District, later known as the Cavell District. They had a new three bedroom house with full basement on a highway only twelve miles from town. They lived there until 1972, when they were moved to town. Toni and Shirley’s fourth child, Robert Anton, was born January 12, 1962. The kids more or less grew up at Cavell station.
Toni became busy at Marmot Basin once the development began in 1964 and became more involved as time went on. Being the Warden in charge, he had to oversee all the activities, from cutting out the runs to setting up the Ski Patrol and Avalanche Control Programs. He often mentions the early days of Marmot when the only lift was the Upper T-bar and the only lodge was the Upper Chalet. Kurt Kiefer was the manager, with his son Wayne as assistant Manager; Bob ? ran the T-bar, Tom McCready ran the ski school and Dennis Seeley ran the concession. On the weekends, a High School boy was hired to stay at the top of the T-bar. Parks hired the ski patrol, cleared out the runs, did the snow packing and the avalanche control, and ploughed out the old road for buses to get to the Upper Chalet. At times there were five Marmot employees and eleven Parks employees working at Marmot Basin.
Linda started skiing with Guy Christie when he ran his program on Whistler Mountain, Howie and Loni joined when Joe Couture had his program at Marmot Basin, and when Rob joined, Don Nordgren was coach. All four children made it onto the Alberta Ski Team and raced at the National and International level. Loni went on to race with the National Ski Team and was with them from 1975 to 1980. She was fortunate enough to participate in the Olympics at Lake Placid in 1980 in the Women’s Downhill. Linda and Loni were at the Canada Winter Games at Blackstrap in Saskatoon, and Rob took part in the Games at Brandon, Man.
The Warden Service was being restructured; the old Warden District concept was scrapped and areas were set up. Toni became Area Manager in charge of Cavell, Athabasca Falls and Sunwapta Districts. He instigated the use of the avalauncher and a 105 recoilless rifle for avalanche control at Marmot Basin and on the Icefields Parkway. This meant control could be maintained of avalanche slopes from a distance and during a storm by shooting at predetermined targets.
The Klettls moved into town, again, in September, 1972 to “The Warden House in the Trailer Court.” After further restructuring, Toni finished his 31 years of Parks service as an Assistant Chief Warden in charge of Public Safety. He retired in October 1985 and moved to 3.7 acres in Valemount, B.C.
Over the years, Toni became very interested in wood carving. He concentrated on “whittling” park animals to begin with but once he retired and had more time, he got into furniture making and other forms of wood working.
Shirley Klettl passed away on October 9, 2000.
SCOPE AND CONTENT:
Fonds consists of records related to the Klettl family and their lives in Jasper National Park. Textual material includes Shirley Klettl’s (nee Doige) reminiscences of her husband Toni’s work in the Jasper Park Warden Service, including stories of their time spent at Blue Creek, Whirlpool Districts, avalanche control at Marmot Basin, trail construction at Tonquin Valley, and search and rescue operations. Photographic material includes photographs related to warden stations, including a photograph of Percy Goodair’s grave site [1960?]. Also included is a set of photographs of Pipeline construction in Jasper National Park [1952?]. The fonds also includes the book The Governor General Bodyguard of Canada presented to Major Maynard Rogers, Superintendent of Jasper National Park, by the book’s publisher.
Jasper Yellowhead Museum and Archives
RESTRICTIONS ON ACCESS:
There are no restrictions on access