Reg Summers-Gill first came to Lloydminster in 1947 and joined Husky Oil as an accounting clerk after a wartime stint in the navy and two years working at the Bank of Commerce.
After two years in Husky's Calgary office, Summers-Gill transferred back to Lloydminster to head a payroll/personnel branch with offices over the old TD Bank. Then it was off to Calgary in 1954 for nine more years. Upon returning to Lloydminster, Summers-Gill too charge of refinery administration under Leo Cavanagh. He retired from Husky in June 1985 and then devoted his time to community activities, including serving as an alderman for the city of Lloydminster.
When honoured at the Oilmen's Bonspiel, Reg recalled achieving a goal most skips only dream about. In 1970, curling with Frank Shepherd, at third, Gord Lider, at second, and Vic Juba at lead, he laid an eight ender.
Born July 2nd, 1924 in Radisson, Saskatchewan, the son of English parents who immigrated to Canada after the First World War. My father was a banker and in those days bankers moved around, hence I lived a time in Wadena, Saskatchewan and grew up through my teens in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Joined the Canadian Navy, (RCNVR) in spring of 1942 and was sent to Calgary, Alberta, July 2nd (my l8th birthday) to undergo a nine month training program to learn trade skills in order to become an Engine Room Artificer. Shipped out to Halifax in spring of 1943 and further training before going to Sea on the HMCS Wallaceburg, (a convoy escort flag ship) as a fourth class ERA. Sailed the Atlantic until July 1945 when I was demobilized. Returned to Saskatoon, looking for work and ended up a bank messenger in Saskatoon and from there to Maidstone, Saskatchewan to train as a teller. An accident to a bank teller in Lloydminster (Bank of Commerce) in 1946 resulted in a transfer to Lloydrninster where I worked until October 1, 1947 when a job at the office with Husky was offered me by Bill McWhinney, then office manager.
At that time Husky was very active at Lloydminster - with the building and start up at the Refinery as well as drilling for oil. The Husky office had moved from the upstairs of the Stuart Wright building to a part of "Al's Garage" both on the Meridian Avenue (50th Avenue).
Bill Williams (Husky Bill, as he was known) was the senior Husky Manager who supervised the refinery construction and turned it over to Pete Campbell who became Refining Manager - Shorty Willard was Pete’s right hand. Meanwhile, Husky Bill moved into the field operations. My first job was calculating and recording oil deliveries to the Refinery known as Run Tickets, initially prepared at the scalehouse, (truck weight loaded and empty as well as the percentage of BS&W (Bottom, Sand and Water). Really a snap after you had done a few.
My first real introduction to the Oil Business was courtesy of Husky Bill who would come into the office and jokingly say "Boy, if you want to know what it's all about first come out with me." Well my response was "0k, after work." So my education began with evening trips out to the drilling and service rigs. I stopped going after a couple of all night sessions "sitting on wells" with Bill and the geologists - returning in the morning to be dropped off at work while Bill would say "I’m going home to sleep."
Doing Run Tickets became a real bore (no challenge) so I used to complain to Bill McWhinney that I needed a change. Well the chap that looked after payroll used to imbibe and one morning about the time the payroll was to be prepared he failed to show up. Well Bill said to me "you’re always wanting a challenge, see if you can do the payroll." Well I did it - the guy was fired and I got the job - just like that I went from $l40/month job to $175/month. That was a big promotion in those days.
In December of 1948, the office, about ten of us, was moved to Calgary to space on the mezzanine floor of the Greyhound Building. I recall talking on the phone to someone back in Lloydminster when the party said, "Where the 'H' are you?" You see they announced the arrivals and departures of buses all day and the sound carried throughout our offices. Our stay was short lived there and we relocated above the Underwood Typewriters on 8 th Avenue.
It was in 1949 that I met Bernice Birney who became my wife in July 1951. Shortly there after Husky transferred me back to Lloydrninster to head up a Payroll/Personnel Department. We set up in the Shaw Petroleum offices over the Toronto Dominion Bank, corner of 50th Avenue and 50th Street.
Husky had purchased Commonwealth Petroleums and Russell Shaw Petroleum, both drilling and servicing companies. The payroll jumped from about 100 to 300. Those were busy times. Husky Bill was still there along with a number of peers, all involved in drilling and servicing wells.
Help was scarce so we had arrangements with the Royal Cafe and Roy Phillips to house, feed and clothe new hires. Part of the setup involved me delivering pay cheques or otherwise ensuring these employees paid their bills.
The Refinery was also expanding. The Company set up Insurance Benefit programs for the employees - with John McNulty from Cody, Wyoming in charge and I was John's Canadian liaison. I toured the rigs quite frequently, usually with Bill Williams, to talk to employees about benefits, payroll matters, etc. We had a memorable trip to rigs in Kindersley and Yorkton accompanied by our wives.
Then in 1955, Husky hired a guy named Harding (from Eastern Auto factory) to head up a new Employee Relations Department. We did not hit it off and I requested a transfer and was moved back to Calgary to head up Accounts Receivable under my old boss Bill McWhinney. It was in this job that I became knowledgeable about Refining products and marketing traffic operations.
A year or two later, Husky purchased refineries in Fort William and Moose Jaw. Pete Campbell, the refinery manager at Lloydminster, was moved to Calgary to become a Vice President and set up a Refineries Management group to oversee three Canadian Refineries and the Refinery in Cody, Wyoming. I was transferred to Refining to join Pete Campbell’s group as Administration Supervisor responsible for standardizing and coordinating all refinery records and procedures.
In this capacity I often traveled to Cody, Lloydminster, Moose Jaw and Fort William, a very interesting period in my career.
Meanwhile at home, Bea and I raised three children, Ron and Wendy born in Lloydminster, and Diane, shortly after our transfer to Calgary.
Husky underwent a major transformation in 1963 with the building of the "Yo-yo" pipeline for heavy crude - Lloydminster to Hardisty. The refineries at Fort William and Moose Jaw were shut down - their tankage becoming terminals for crude oil and asphalt products.
In September 1963, I was sent to Lloydrninster Refinery to run the office until a suitable replacement was found for Clayton Reeves, who was leaving Husky. From September to December, I resided at the Thunderbird Motel in Lloydminster along with my good friend Tom Ferris who was also transferred to the Lloydminster Refinery from Fort William.
My temporary status was changed to permanent in December 1963 and Bea and I moved the family over Christmas back to Lloydminster - perhaps the most trying time of our lives. However, it wasn’t long before we settled in the Lloydminster lifestyle again and became active in the community. Husky built new offices in Lloydminster on the Saskatchewan side to accommodate both field and refinery offices. Leo Cavanagh (Refining Manager), my staff and I moved to the new quarters, commonly referred to as "The Palace."
In 1970, Bea and I were blessed with our youngest son Jim - who in 1986 as a High School project built a demonstration oil derrick.
In 1976 Leo Cavanagh transferred to Calgary and good friend Vic Juba became Refinery Manager. The new refinery as stands today was commissioned in December 1982. Prior to its construction (December 1976) Husky had its only strike at the refinery - 76 days long during the winter. Management didn't want to shut down for fear of the freezing weather. A northern camp was set up in the plant and a number of us non-union personnel were housed in the plant to keep it running. I was among this group and surprised everyone by calling back my old Navy training to do various steam pump maintenance, shop work, fire brick laying and many other chores. A new adventure was an assignment to clear the staff parking lot of snow prior to the return of the workers.
In the years to follow, four floors were added to the "Palace" and the new refinery was built. Vic and I and office staff moved to quarters at the new refinery as many changes in company operations and methods started appearing.
My work as I loved it also started to change with the introduction of personal computers, head office 'hands on' and more. I think it was in this period that I first started serious thoughts of retirement. Bea and I built a new home and I ventured for a short time into the housing development business in anticipation of retirement. The market went flat and I escaped without any serious consequences.
It was about this time that several business people encouraged me to run for City Alderman, which I did and won a by-election in 1981.
I served on council a total of nine years winning 4 elections. While on council I served on most all committees, liking "properties" and "finance" the best. Also served on the Community Futures Committee and the Lloydminster Economic Development Authority.
In 1985, I retired after 37 and a half years with Husky Oil - a relationship that was rewarding and memorable and today I still reminisce of all the friends and good times and the pranks.
In 1986, I was honored as Oilman of the Year at the Lloydminster Oilmen’s Annual Bonspiel, an honor which was very meaningful to me. I am a Life member of "Lions" by sponsorship of Lloydminster and Westbank Lions having served Lions in most offices including President, Zone Chairman, Deputy District Governor and Convention Chairman. Prior to my city council election, I served 4 years on the city Recreation Board (3 years as chairman). Other activities included Chairman of Internal Transportation for Lloydminster Winter Games - A Canadian legion member and several other projects including Building Chairman of the Lloydminster Communiplex.
In 1990, Bea and I retired to Westbank, BC., wintering in Yuma, Arizona where we still winter but now have our permanent home in Kelowna, BC.
We busy ourselves with our four grown children who have their own families and jobs, of whom we are very proud. Ron, the oldest is in Calgary married to Kay and they have three children. Wendy is married to Ed Benoit (well known family in Lloydminster) and lives in Westbank. They have three children, one who lives in Lethbridge with her wee son (our first great grandchild). Diane is in Surrey, BC. and married to Murray and they have two sons. Jim who is married to Suzanne lives in Taylor, BC.