Sean Arthur Joyce writes: “Arriving in Canada illiterate left a deep mark on Joe Harwood. In later years he felt it was his duty to encourage public education in any way possible. He had a natural love of children and it was said he was the only trustee in the board’s history to visit the school every day. “He envisioned equal opportunities for all children, be they rich, poor or middle class,” writes Okanagan historian Mabel Johnson.”
Joe married Marion Bioletti and together they had 5 sons and 2 daughters whom they raised in Vernon. They were married for over 50 years. Mr. Harwood served on the board of Vernon Jubilee Hospital for 20 years and was a strong supporter of the Salvation Army - “The site on which the present Salvation Army Citadel now stands, on 32nd Street and 31st Avenue … was donated by Mr. Harwood”.
Another local education pioneer, Anna Fulton Cail, tells this story of Harwood: “Then there was the time when Joe Harwood got stuck in a heating grill at Central School (Beairsto) when he was coming to play Santa for the children. I remember there was an air vent in the northeast room. There was a little flag that blew in the breeze all the time. Suddenly, we were expecting nothing, there is a noise and the vent comes off and here appears Joe Harwood. He was a Trustee and he was built like Santa Clause so he didn’t need any padding. Here was Santa coming through the vent. But, I heard afterwards from my Dad that he and Bill English, who was the head maintenance man, were behind and he (Harwood) was stuck.”
In closing, the OHSR records again for us: “In giant, well-equipped, adequately lighted and heated schools, (Joe Harwood) …saw the sons and daughters of prosperous people, some of whom stemmed from the British aristocracy, rub shoulders, sharpen pencils and play games, also learn the three R's, with the children of penniless immigrants from other countries, who had come to Canada to seek those very things for which Joe crusaded.”
"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." James 1:27
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