Emilia (Emily), born on October 25, 1922 at Sexsmith, was the 2nd oldest of John and Tillie Marek’s six children. In 1928, The Marek family moved to a farm in the Twilight District and Emily and her siblings attended the Twilight One-Room School. After completing Grade 9, Emily attended St. Joseph’s High School in Grande Prairie. During that time, the Twilight Ladies Softball Team secured the services of Gerald Carveth as coach and he put together a powerful combination of players that included Elva Evans and Betty Carveth as pitchers and Emily Marek as catcher. The ladies financed their equipment by picking raspberries which they traded to Porteous Hardware Store for bats and balls. From the season opener in 1939 until August, 1942, the Twilight Team had won 41 consecutive games by annihilating teams from Dawson Creek, Spirit River, Rycroft, Peace River and Grande Prairie. In 1942, the Twilight Team lost their star catcher when Emily joined the RCAF and in 1943, Betty Carveth moved to Edmonton to play for the Edmonton Walkrite Team. Although the talent of Emily and Betty was difficult to replace, the team did continue until 1949 when it disbanded.
Emily enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force (Women’s Division) and was stationed at Ottawa and Trenton in Ontario; Comox and Vancouver in BC. She was discharged on demobilization at Calgary and returned to Grande Prairie where she implemented the first taxi business in Canada that was owned and operated by a woman. Her business, “Marek’s Taxi”, was even featured in the Service Magazine “The Maple Leaf” that was printed in London.
During one of her call-outs, Emily picked up a young serviceman by the name of Roger LaValley whom she later married on July 23, 1948. The young couple purchased a house in the Hythe area and moved it to their farm at Bezanson where they raised their family of eight children. They eventually expanded the farm to include more land and a large herd of cattle. It was a very busy time for Emily as she tended to the farm chores, grew and harvested a large garden and sewed the clothes for the family. After Roger passed away in 1974, Emily continued to reside on the farm until all the children had completed their education and moved out on their own. Emily then moved to Grande Prairie where she resided until she passed away on September 6, 2014. Emily was buried at the Grande Prairie Cemetery next to her husband, Roger.
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Written by Wanda Zenner March 2020