Audrey Smedley/L’Heureux

Who would have thought that when Audrey corresponded from Vanderhoof for The Prince George Citizen, in the early ‘60's, it would lead to a career in newspapering. She was owner/publisher of the Vanderhoof Nechako Chronicle community newspaper until the early ‘70's, then briefly with Smithers Interior News, and finally, editor of Alcan’s The Ingot workplace newspaper until a second marriage to Ed L’Heureux in 1976.

Born at Springside, Saskatchewan, in 1925, she moved to be with her mother’s family (father Sam Auld) in Chilliwack where she took high school. Those were war years and Audrey attended Sprott Shaw Radio Wireless College on Robson Street in Vancouver to get a commercial Radio Wireless licence, which lead her to the airport in Vanderhoof in 1945. Her first marriage to Jack Smedley produced three children, Albert, Georgina, and Teddy. Most of her child rearing days were spent on their 800 acre farm, two miles south of Vanderhoof, without the benefit of power or water. When she married Ed, she agreed not to do any more newspaper editing.

A Canada Council Grant helped her with a dream to prepare an historical manuscript on Fort St. James, Fort Fraser, and Fort George, entitled From Trail to Rail. Some time later she self-published (Northern B.C. Book Publishing) two small books in limited editions of 1,000 each. These have been well received and main libraries retain them, bringing Public Lending Rights and Copyright revenue over the years. The vast amount of accumulated archives relating to her research was accepted by UNBC archives when Audrey down sized her home at the time of Ed’s death July 29, 2001.

When she retired from newspapering, Audrey went back to a high school love; visual arts. Workshops in Batik, watercolor, design, and multi media gave her some tools and as she approaches her 80th birthday (2005), it remains a passion of hers. Following many years as a Senior Citizen Counsellor and volunteer/paid worker helping to create the Vanderhoof Museum, she won some recognition and awards: 1993, 125th Anniversary Commemorative Medal; 1997, three year appointment to Seniors Advisory council of B.C.; 1998, Community Booster of the Year from Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce, and in 2002, she was awarded the Golden Jubilee Medal, celebrating the Queen’s 50th Anniversary. In 2002 Audrey moved to Prince George and found life in the city, not too far from home, worked well for her.

Appearances in Reflections on Water