On December 30th, Drumheller, the province, and the country lost one of the greatest historians on the demise of the prairie grain elevator in Western Canada. Jim Pearson, who was born in Delia, and has resided in Drumheller since 2002, has written many books on the subject. Jim's website, www.vanishingsentinals.ca, has documented history from grain elevators in communities in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
Back in 2016, Pearson was up for the prestigious award, Governor's General's History Award of Excellence. His knowledge of grain elevators in the prairies was astounding. He could tell you the elevators for a community, when they were built and by which company and when they were torn down. He was so involved in the history that he started building elevators out of cardstock that were the replicas of the grain elevators of a specific community.
Pearson had much knowledge of local historical places as well. Jay Russell, the curator at the Atlas Coal Mine National Historical Site, had known Jim for over 20 years. "He (Jim) did a lot of work with the Atlas. He actually did some of our original accessioning of our artifacts and documents so he had a very encyclopedic knowledge of the Atlas when I first met him."
"Our archives and our photos and everything we have in our collections, Jim was the first person to start gathering that stuff and organizing it. (Without his help) we would be back many years."
Russell also remarked, "What an interesting man, Jim was. Super intelligent, charming, eccentric, but a real fire, a real passion for making sure our heritage is preserved. I think the way he talked about (history) is we need to know the past so that we can know where we're going."
Pearson also had a passion for Star Trek and helped design the spaceship in Vulcan, was part of the KISS army, and was a very talented artist. He was 57 years old and is survived by his girlfriend, Donna Trettin as well as many family members.
A memorial for Pearson will be held at the Cretaceous Conference Center on January 11 at 1:00 PM.