Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Workday Wednesday: Maurice Belair, Welder

Maurice Belair (left), ca 1952
My Dad, Maurice Belair (on the left), is seen here as a young man of about 25 years old. He and his co-worker, whom I haven’t been able to identify, were photographed in about 1952 as they worked for Shaw Construction of Sarnia, Ontario. I don’t know where the picture was taken, but it was probably near Sarnia, because Dad had met and was going out with Mom by this time (and she lived in nearby Blue Water). 

It was only after Dad passed away in 1996 that I asked Mom if she could tell me what she knew about this picture. She told me that Dad hadn’t started out as a welder when they first met. He was unemployed at this time, but he knew he wanted to work for Shaw. It didn’t matter that there wasn’t anything for him there, he’d show up every day and sit by the shop door on the site, hoping to be hired. It seems that the boss got tired of seeing Dad hang around like that, and eventually found something for him to do. At first, he was just a labourer or a gopher and helped where needed. In the photo, Dad looks like he was the helper to the welder. In due time, it just sort of happened and Dad started to weld. 

A couple of years ago, I was looking at some of my Dad’s possessions that I had placed in storage. I came across one of his old wallets and found a batch of his welder ID cards. The earliest card was dated June 11, 1956. I also found some of his union due books, including one for 1965-1967. In it, I read that Dad was a journeyman pipefitter, that he was initiated in that trade in July 1952, that he was reinstated in August 1965, and that he belonged to Local 800 of Sudbury, Ontario. 

Maurice Belair Due Book 1965-1967 (inside cover)

I’m so glad Dad saved his ID cards and due books, because they are an important source of information about the years he spent working as a welder. For example, the cards and books tell me for which companies he worked, the type of welding he did, the specific welding processes at which he was proficient, and the dates he was qualified to work. In his early years, Dad worked as a welder where ever he could find work, in Ontario and in Quebec, and later, in Timmins, Ontario where he and Mom settled.

Dad last worked professionally as a welder in 1978. The following year, we moved to British Columbia and Dad joined his brother Ray to form a trucking company.

Copyright © 2012, Yvonne Demoskoff


  1. Great picture! It is great that you have your dad's documents to go with it.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

    1. Thanks, Theresa. I love that pix of my Dad. I noticed on your blog that you have some Quebec info; I wonder if we share ancestors?