The legacy of Kate Cindrich

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The Canadian Journey of the Josip and Katarina (Kuterovac) Cindrich Family1988 and forward: Authored by Annie (Cindrich) KapsKate embraced change. New neighbours were taught the raising and butchering of chickens; She played “vet” to their livestock……she and Isabella Morton made mustard plasters to cure a cow’s pneumonia; Kate loved to fly in a small plane with her grandson (he even let her “steer”!) as she viewed the Fraser Valley and identified landmarks; She went up in a hot air balloon; She delighted in going on a son’s ocean craft and being allowed to “drive”; She drove a snowmobile; She climbed into a dune buggy in order to get to the alpine area to pick mushrooms.There is a cairn erected on 84th Avenue in Surrey, B.C. Engraved on it are the names of neighbourhood pioneers (including the Cindrich name) and an acknowledgement in Japanese of the Japanese-Canadians who too were first to break Surrey soil. At the dedication August 31, 1983, Marta (Martha) Zaklan, who had moved into the area in 1928, stood by the cairn with her son, George, who had commissioned and paid for it. Alderman Bob Bose was there for its dedication, as was Kate.For her 80th birthday, April 30, 1989, Kate received congratulations from her MLA Joan Smallwood, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Premier William Vander Zalm, Mayor Bob Bose, and Queen Elizabeth High School principal D.J. McLeod. David Brankin Elementary School presented her with a copy of the original 1946 PTA Charter and its PTA sent flowers.For this occasion her children hosted at-the-then Fleetwood Community Hall, an evening of dining, dancing and reunion for family, friends, relatives and neighbours (old farm and new Cedar Hill), many of whom brought photographs to share. Attending were out-of-town guests, some of them coming a long way to honour the matriarch of the Cindrich family. The occasion opened with trumpet fanfare composed by a grandson. Her long-time neighbour, John Morton, said grace. Her youngest child, Nick, proposed the toast on the family’s behalf and her 16 grandchildren each presented her with a rose.Kate continued to travel and a most memorable trip was with friend Catharine Foulkes (whom, along with her two young boys, she met in 1958). To celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the Alaska Highway, they travelled it by car in 1992. When they returned to the Lower Mainland, they amazed the family by stating that the two of them had tented all the way! They said that the mosquitoes didn’t bother them either, as they had contrived full-body netting by purchasing wide-brimmed straw hats over which they draped curtains strung onto elastic. Moreover, it wasn’t a great expense, as they’d bought everything at a thrift store. She and Catharine had spent many happy trips together.They had been to the Holy Land. They had camped on Catharine’s property on Savary Island. They were experienced, so what was the big deal?In 1993, neighbour George Zaklan heard that School District No. 36 (Surrey) wanted to name a new $5.6-million elementary school“Unwin”. The name sounded too close to “No Win” for his liking. The school had already been designated “Unwin”; the legal papers and stationery all said “Unwin”. So, Zaklan started a petition, going door-to-door, to explain why the name should be changed. Zaklan felt that the new school at the corner of 134th and 90th should have a name that honoured the area’s early settlers. Josip and Katarina Cindrich were among those early settlers and their farm adjoined the property of the new school. (Coincidentally, the land clearing and excavation for the school had already been done by the son of Kate and Josip, Tony’s company.)It was all a dream to Katarina when the school was officially opened on June 9, 1994 as Cindrich Elementary School . She, along with coverage in local papers, made the headlines in the“Vancouver Sun”. All seven of her children, relatives, friends and many former neighbours were there. They joined parliamentarians, councillors, school trustees, former family classmates and teachers, Surrey’s Heritage Committee, the school’s PAC, teachers and students. Newspaper reporters interviewed and snapped photographs.In the foyer were displayed photographs from family albums of the former farming community, a exhibit which was promised to be a permanent fixture, and for which the school received a City of Surrey’s Friends of Heritage Award. There was a presentation by the family of Katarina and Josip’s photograph for mounting in the foyer. The family had chosen to show Kate in the national dress of her former country, Jugoslavija. Surrey’s Heritage Committee presented to the school a large April 9, 1949 aerial photograph of the area. This showed a two-room David Brankin Elementary School with its outhouses. It showed Kennedy (88th) Road ending at King George Highway; and, from 84th to 96th, there were only eightcars on King George.For the Cindrich Elementary School, the First Place Urban Architecture Landscaping Award of Excellence in Design in the Institutional Category was earned by Killick Metz Bowen Rose Architects Planners Inc.Kate was the recipient of many awards: first-ever parental Citizenship Award from Queen Elizabeth High; The Corporation of the District of Surrey for Community Work; The Courage to Come Back Certificate of Nomination; Surrey Business and Professional Women’s Club Woman of the Year Candidate; City of Surrey’s Friends of Heritage Award.When David Brankin Elementary School held its 50th anniversary (1945-1995) on January 26th, 1995, it was quite the reunion for former students, their parents and neighbours! David Brankin had opened in January of 1945, with the total cost for three new Surrey schools (Brankin, General Montgomery, Fleetwood) of $32,000 being a burden for the post-war community. The school was named in honour of David Brankin who was chairman of the School Board at that time. At the reunion, Cindrich daughter Annie spoke on behalf of the school’s first Grade I class.For her 88th birthday, April 30, 1997, Kate laughing joined Cindrich Elementary School children in dancing the Macarena.“Now” photographer Beddow snapped their picture. Seeing the photograph, MLA Sue Hammell mailed congratulations.Kate celebrated her 90th birthday on Sunday, May 2, 1999, with a“Come and Go” open house at her residence. Friends and neighbours (farm and Cedar Hill) pre-sent their family photographs and stories of their Cindrich family memories. These had been compiled into an unforgettable album which was presented to Kate on this special day. Mayor Doug McCallum sentCity of Surrey’s special greetings along with a commemorative Surrey spoon. All seven of her children came to her home for a BBQ, sleep-over and a special breakfast. They spent the night each of them cuddled with a special teddy bear.On April 1, 1999, the family with the rest of Canada acknowledged the division of the Northwest Territories to accommodate Nunavut.In October 1999, she and family grieved the death of son-in-law Edvard Kaps.After a brief stay as a resident at a seniors’ facility, where she purportedly broke her leg, Kate passed away in Surrey Memorial Hospital on October 7, 2003.Her funeral service was held at Immaculate Conception in Delta on Saturday, October 11, 2003. Her sons draped the pall on her casket and her pallbearers were her grandsons. The funeral lament was Charlier’s “Ascention”, which was played as a trumpet solo by a grandson.The first reading was from the words of King Lemuel, Proverbs 31, verses 10 to 28. This expounds the virtues of a woman and ends with“her children will call her blessed……”. This reading epitomized Kate, as it mentions wool and flax, making of fine cloth, spinning and weaving----all skills still relevant to her times.Her children’s words were on the cover of her funeral pamphlet (“You can’t stuff a big life into a small dream” - H.J.B.), which accompanied her bio, the order of service and the hymn selections:“How lucky we were to have you as our mother. You were our inspiration. Always, you taught us so much about life, your love for it, and how to enjoy each day at a time. You influenced our lives with your love of God, our natural surroundings, people and the ability to acquire knowledge withouta formal education. We were so lucky to learn from you. You always had a piece of advice, a thought, or a story. We wish we could have had you a while longer; but, we count God’s blessings that you are our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. There is no one else we would have wanted. We will miss you dearly. Thanks for the beautiful memories. You are in God’s care, as we were in yours.”She is buried alongside her beloved Joze in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Sapperton District of New Westminster.On October 30th. 2003, lead by her grandson, the Symphonic Band of Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Westwood Collegiate dedicated to her memory their playing of Persichetti’s “Pagent”.On Monday, March 1, 2004 Cindrich Elementary School dedicated its library to the memory of their namesake, Kate Cindrich, and declared October as“Kate Cindrich Reading Month”. What an honour as Kate was illiterate, the opportunity to attend school having been denied her. She valued education and desired to combat illiteracy.On the occasion of this library dedication in her memory, family donated from her estate $2,000, at $100-per-child, on behalf of her then twenty great-grandchildren. By Kate’s monetary values, this bequest was a very, very large amount. It was what was paid for the farm. It represented more than a year’s long hard labour and a very ample return on a strawberry harvest.This donation from her estate joined her other contributions to the Cindrich Elementary School: a crocheted quilt which she made for the sick room; the abalone buttons purchased for the First Nations’ hanging; and, the Croatian flag hung in the foyer along with all the other national flags, linking her to students who had given their family-related standards.Family, over the years have contributed to the purchase of books and the book-plating of their dedications. At last acknowledgment, there has been well over $10,000 gifted to the Kate Cindrich Memorial Library at the school.The Surrey Public Library turned twenty-five in 2008. In conjunction with the City of Surrey’s Parks Department, it was decided to mark this quarter century with the establishment of a 25-tree Library Grove in North Surrey’s Holland Park. October 2, 2008, one of the twenty-five commemorative trees was planted in memory of Kate Cindrich and her name is inscribed on the commemorativestone.On June 9, 2014 Cindrich Elementary School held its 20th anniversary. Along with members of the Cindrich family, present were: School Board members Laura McNally and Laurie Larsen; MLA Sue Hammell, who laughingly told those present“all government does is make laws, collect and spend money”; and, community representative, George Zaklan, who spoke of the pioneer families’ impact on the Surrey area. Speaking on behalf of the Cindrich family, was daughter Mary, enlightening those present with early school day memories. She started her presentation reciting the poem by Annette Wynne (1919, 1947, J. B. Lippincott Company - publishers): “Where we walk to school each day - Indian childrenused to play - All about our native land - Where our shops and houses stand”. In many different national dress, the Surrey International Folk Dancers entertained and, later, all present watched a French-Canadian folk dance presentation by a Grade V Class, a dance the Surrey Folk Dancers had taught them.At 2015, all but one of the seven of Kate and Joze’s children are retired. All reside in the Province of British Columbia.Josip and Kate’s sixteen grandchildren have all married. All but two, live in B.C.: one in Manitoba and one in Australia.Every grandchild of Kate and Josip continued with post-secondary education, and are: pharmacist, professional forester, land/building assessment agent, business analyst and implementation specialist, project estimator (also commercial pilot), project manager, recreation therapist, several teachers, manager of communications and engagement, diesel engineer, dental hygienist, a doctor (also respiratory therapist), a dentist (also dietitian), and an electrical engineer.At 2015, there are thirty-one great-grandchildren (26 birth; 5 step). They range in age from babies to those in their twenties. Those who have graduated Grade XII are ALL in post-secondary studies.To quote Barry Broadfoot’s “The Immigrant Years”, ISBN 0-88894-519-1, page 5: “The evidence is everywhere, not so much in themselves, perhaps, but in the deeds and accomplishments of their children.”• A grandson was awarded a provincial “Teacher of Year” commendation.• Another garnered International Quill and Canadian Leaf awards as well as the Hygeia Award. These were presented at Pier 21, representing a 3-generation journey: his grandparents immigrated through Pier 21; his mother was born to them in Canada; and, he was back at Pier 21 receiving these prestigious awards.• A granddaughter received: a first-ever peer commendation from the British Columbia College of Pharmacy; a Kwantlen University recognition of community education; and a Spirit of Cranes award acknowledging her contribution, as a woman, to her community.• A teacher granddaughter, following in her grandmother’s literacy quest, was acknowledged for her selfless dedication to the book delivery programme she initiated for pre-school readers.Already, emerging from her great grandchildren, we see the fruits of Josip and Kate’s legacy: At age 14, her Canada Cord Girl Guide great granddaughter carried the standard at the 2014 world camp which was held in B.C. This young lady, who in 2014 as selected by Me-to-We, attended leadership training in Ontario. In 2016 she’s off to Kenya with them. In the meantime, she is organizing, through the Zinc&Health/Teck initiative, to collect used batteries at churches, hospitals, schools and from/through her extended family and friends. (One AA battery contains the amount of zinc that can save the lives of six children; and, for every battery recycled, Teck will donate the value of zinc it contains to UNICEF in support of a Zinc&Health partnership in India.) A 16-year old great granddaughter has shown great potential in the equestrian field.