Ross Marks in 1959. Submitted photo.

Mural to honour man known as ‘midwife’ to birth of 100 Mile

“It seems very fitting that [Ross Marks] be the subject of our final mural”

The way downtown 100 Mile House looks is changing: at least a little bit.

Ross G. Marks, once dubbed the “midwife” to the birth of 100 Mile House in the Vancouver Sun, will be featured in a new mural on the side of the 100 Mile House Community Hall.

Ross’ list of lengthy accomplishments include serving as mayor of 100 Mile House, director and chairman of the Cariboo Regional District Board, the 100 Mile House Fire Department founder and chief, the president of the 100 Mile House Chamber of Commerce and too many more to mention from rancher to theatre manager and projectionist. He was also awarded the Centennial Medal in 1967, the Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Medal, 125th Anniversary of Confederation Medal, 100 Mile House Citizen of the Year and more.

“Under his reliable and steady leadership, 100 Mile House has developed from a hay field to a thriving metropolis,” said a spokesperson for the then dubbed Good Citizenship Committee when Ross was chosen Good Citizen for 1972.

More than a decade earlier, in 1959, Ross boasted himself that the population had grown from 20 to 600 in a decade, that the waterworks built in 1955 to supply 500 were already inadequate and that the school built the year prior needed to be doubled in size.

Ken Marks, one of Ross’ sons, says they started talking about doing a mural after his father passed away.

“[We knew] that there were murals and drove through town thinking ‘oh wouldn’t it be a thought to do a mural of Ross and incorporate a bit of the history of the town in as well?’”

He says the mural society got wind of it and it started getting traction from there.

“Once we realized how it could be done and probably with a certain amount of ease,” he says, “then it really just became the grunt work of deciding what needed to go on things like that.”

They also spent some time looking for the right wall.

“When this wall came up this was just perfect.”

Once they got permission for the wall they really went ahead with the idea with what would work and the photograph, says Ken.

“It would mean a great deal [to Ross]. He loved this town. He spent the better part of his life in this town and being hands on right from the very start of the town when there was really nothing here … It would mean a great deal to him to be here and to be recognized.”

The project was originally planned for the summer of 2017 but postponed due to the wildfires.

Ruth Peterson, president of the 100 Mile House Mural Society, says they are very pleased that it will be completed in the coming weeks. The society is assisting the Marks family with some of the costs associated with the production. They’re also looking at the possibility of lighting the murals on the community hall.

“It seems very fitting that he would be the subject of our final mural. Our society will no longer be active after this summer so unfortunately there will be no more murals unless another group takes over the reins.”

The society was formed in 2004 and has now facilitated 16 large scale murals in 100 Mile House.

“We are encouraging anyone wishing to donate funds to the Ross Marks mural to contact me directly at [brpeters@telus.net]. We are happy to provide charitable receipts for donations,” she says, adding that financial assistance for the lighting would also be appreciated.

“We are extremely excited about this particular mural. Ross played such a huge role in the community and it seems most fitting that the mural in his honour overlook what has now become the hub of 100 Mile House.”

 

Ken Marks at the 100 Mile House Community Hall where the mural will be painted. Ken says the process has also meant he’s been in touch more with his siblings, such as his brother Kevin Marks, who’s putting together the historical information for the mural. Max Winkelman photo.

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