Aerie #2726 History


 ~ detailed obits here ~

On November 2nd, 1947, the world witnessed the only flight of Howard Hughes’ famous creation, The Spruce Goose, in the harbor at Long Beach, California. On the same day some 1,200 miles to the north of this, in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley town of Abbotsford, Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie #2726 was chartered by Grand Worthy President Raymond P. McElroy and Grand Secretary Charles C. Guenther, with L. F. “Lyle” Lobban as its first Worthy President.Its first home was the upper floor of what was originally the Pioneer Store in downtown Abbotsford…Which, by the time of the Aerie’s founding, had become the Hambley Hatchery, located northeast of the Essendene Avenue –Abbotsford-Mission Highway intersection. Originally the Pioneer Store (shown below at right), the building was later destroyed by fire in the mid-1980s. The current home is across Essendene Avenue from the old building.Not long after the founding of Aerie #2726, the Fraser River (to the north of Abbotsford) overran its banks in what was referred to as The Flood of ’48, ravaging farms, businesses and homes as far west as New Westminster and as far east as Agassiz including, along its southern bank, Matsqui Village to the north of Abbotsford (pictured above). The Mission area, across the river from Matsqui, was severely damaged by the flood and the members of Mission Aerie #2765, itself founded only in January of 1948, worked together with Abbotsford #2726 members to be instrumental in providing aid and services to those in need. The British Columbia Aerie, then only three years old, was composed of twenty-three Aeries at the time, and members throughout the province raised $950.00 for flood relief even though the Provincial Aerie budget at the time was only $850.00!On May 29, 1950, the Langley Prarie Aerie #2680 consolidated with Aerie #2726.

Aerie #2726 rose to prominence at the provincial level when in the 1956-57 term, Wilmot E. “Bill” Davey became Provincial Worthy President, chairing the 12th Provincial Aerie Convention in North Vancouver in June of 1957.



Bill’s son Frank Davey, a renowned Canadian poet and author, reminisces about his father and the Abbotsford Eagles that he remembers from his youth:

“My father used to open and close the Hall and run the bar for Saturday night socials. He also supervised an Eagles Boys Club for two or three years, perhaps 1948-50, when the Aerie was located at the Hambley Hatchery. When I cleared out my mother’s home in the early 1990s I discovered moldy boxing gloves and about 3000 rounds of .22 short ammunition that were left over from that venture (the shooting was done in the Gun Club’s indoor range at the Matsqui Fairgrounds in Clearbrook — not in the Hall!).

Lyle Lobban — your first Worthy President — was my godfather. I borrowed Bart Warner’s Studebaker to take my driver’s test. My first summer job was in Ray Swelander’s 5-Cent to One Dollar store.

I remember attending the Annual Picnic, the Children’s Christmas Party, and the International Softball Tournament that the Aerie held in the 1950s at a ball field that is now part of Jubilee Park. The picnic was mostly an adult event, with cold beer, the tug-of-war and the men’s softball game holding centre stage.

Except for small businessmen like Ray Swelander and Bart Warner (he owned the ‘Java Lunch’ Asian-Canadian cafe on the north side of Essendene, opposite the mouth of McCallum Road on what later became the parking lot for a small shopping centre that Swelander helped develop), the membership was mostly manual laborers and farmers, who enjoyed drinking and socializing together. But it was an interesting group because it was surprisingly multi-ethnic, with members from German or German-Mennonite background (like Henry Sommerfeld and Pat Klassen) and Hungarian, Polish, and Scandinavian backgrounds, as well as the usual British Isles backgrounds. You can see that reflected in the roster of your Past Worthy Presidents.”

Frank Davey is currently the Carl F. Klinck Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Western Ontario. He is the author of a number of books of Canadian criticism and poetry. The Poetics and Public Culture Conference in 1995 was held in his honour.

The Abbotsford Airshow began in 1962 when the recently formed Abbotsford Flying Club decided an air show would be an effective way to promote flying from Abbotsford Airport, which was inactive at the time. The Airshow, held in August every year, celebrated its fifth anniversary the same year that the #2726 Auxiliary was chartered on January 29th.

1972 saw Abbotsford Aerie #2726 celebrate its 25th Anniversary.

Past Provincial President (AB) John DiPalo became an Abbotsford Aerie member when he transferred in from his first home Aerie in Calgary.


The 1988-1989 term saw our second local member rise to provincial prominence when Auxiliary #2726’s Bridie Howarth served as British Columbia’s Provincial Madam President, chairing the 39th Provincial Auxiliary Convention in New Westminster in June of 1989.

A few years later, our beloved Sisters of Auxiliary #2726 celebrated their 25th Anniversary.

1998 saw several milestone events in Abbotsford history:

  1. the only time in over thirty-five years that the Abbotsford Airshow “took a break” and did not host the usual record-breaking crowds as Canada’s pre-eminent outdoor extravaganza;
  2. the 50th Anniversary of Aerie #2726, on November 2nd;
  3. acquiring the label as Canada’s fastest-growing urban area.

In June of 2003, Abbotsford’s growth continued when it hosted its first ever Provincial Convention for the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

By the 2005-2006 term, Abbotsford had become the fifth largest city in the Province of British Columbia and another local member rose to provincial prominence.

Joseph G. Millette served British Columbia as its Provincial Worthy President, chairing the 61st Provincial Aerie Convention in Penticton in June of 2006.

He joined Brother Davey and Sister Howarth as only one of three members in Aerie/Auxiliary #2726’s history to achieve this standing up to that time.


In 2007, after two successive quarters of financial growth, Aerie #2726 invested in its future by modernizing its lounge for the first time in over twenty years. By the time of the Aerie’s 60th Birthday on November, receipts had increased the amount of charitable donations by over 400 per cent, and the Aerie stood poised to welcome more members and events in the years to come. As of 2009, the Aerie boasted a membership in excess of four hundred for the first time in its history.

In 2010, our Aerie Home set an all-time record for money donated to charity by giving away in excess of $76,000.00 combined from both the Aerie and Auxiliary. And we’re hoping to keep on giving every year in the future. As of June 2011, three Aerie #2726 members and two Auxiliary #2726 members serve on the British Columbia Provincial Aerie Executive.

By the 2011-2012 term, a fourth local member had risen to provincial prominence.

Brian M. “Hoss” Kersey served British Columbia as its Provincial Worthy President, chairing the 67th Provincial Aerie Convention, hosted only the second time in history in Abbotsford in June of 2012.


He joined Brothers Davey and Millette as well as Sister Howarth as only one of four members in Aerie/Auxiliary #2726’s history to achieve this standing.

In our current building (shown above), our unique canopied hall doorway design invites Brothers and Sisters from far and near to come join us…

While our lounge entrance lentil extends a warm ‘Hello’ to any who come to see us…as we always say: “Welcome Home to Abbotsford!“.


Frieda Bazylewski

Past Madam President
1980-’81, 1984-’85

Madam Secretary

We miss you every day.

– Your Sisters of Aux. #2726


Margaret “Marg” Pausch

Past Madam President

Charter Member
~ 1967 ~

– Your Sisters of the #2726 Auxiliary


In Loving Memory of
Sharon Fooks

– Your Sisters of the #2726 Auxiliary


In Memory of
Maggie Tjensvold

– Your Sisters of the #2726 Auxiliary


In Memory of
Marylou “Lou” Fockers

– Your Sisters of the #2726 Auxiliary


In Memory of
Mary Jean Steele

Your Sisters of
#2726 Auxiliary