By Al Beeber on May 8, 2021.
Steele and Loree Brewerton will be celebrating a special anniversary on Sunday but COVID-19 restrictions mean family and friends won’t be joining them in person at their Magrath home.
The Brewertons who live in the Diamond Willow Lodge in Magrath, will be marking their 75th wedding anniversary on Mother’s Day.
Eldest daughter Bonnie West says family will be congratulating the couple via Zoom calls over a few days.
“It would be too overwhelming” for the couple if everyone participated in a Zoom meeting at the same time due to their hearing issues, said West, who also lives in Magrath.
Steele will be reaching another milestone on May 26 when the retired physician turns 98.
The couple have deep roots in southern Alberta with Steele born in Raymond and Loree being part of the Nelson clan of Glenwood.
Steele was a founding partner along with Mark Dahl and Harlan Taylor of the Magrath-Raymond medical clinic which they operated along with junior partner Clare Norton who joined them after the clinics were established, said West, who has four siblings.
“Mom came from a big family in Glenwood, her dad was the junior high school principal in Cardston,” recalled West Wednesday.
Brewerton’s father Lee owned the Raymond movie theatre which was once a popular attraction on that town’s Main Street. Lee’s namesake grandson Lee Brewerton is a radiologist at Radiology Associates Inc. in Lethbridge. West’s brother, Conway Brewerton, is an anesthesiologist with Southgate Surgical Suites and a former Medical Officer of Health for the Chinook Health Region, taking over from Paul Hasselback.
West said her parents met at a swimming party along a river near Cardston. Both were with other people at the time and her mom remarked to her daughter that Steele “had the whitest legs I’ve ever seen,” West laughed Wednesday.
Her mom wasn’t interested in going out with Steele but that night, West recalled her mother telling her, when she got home Loree had a thought about their grandchildren.
The two eventually went on a date where Steele proceeded to give Loree a synopsis about the Disney movie “Fantasia.”
“She thought he was the most boring person she’d ever met,” West said. But that initial meeting didn’t deter her from going out again with Steele.
The two would both go to the University of Alberta in Edmonton where Loree studied commerce for a year and Steele engineering. A friend convinced him to switch majors to medicine and that began his career. In university, Steele was also a boxer.
Steele proposed when Loree decided she was going to move to Vancouver. She stayed in Edmonton and worked at the Hudson Bay Company as Steele continued his studies.
Steele started his medical career in Raymond and after one year, moved to Magrath when a physician there left. He, Dahl and Taylor then formed the Raymond-Magrath clinic.
All three doctors had different professional interests, recalled West, with her father’s being obstetrics and gynaecology. The doctors decided each would take a turn studying their specialty for six months in Utah and the other two would support his family while he wasn’t working.
“It was a real good system,” said West, recalling the family spent three different six-month stints in Salt Lake City. Eventually, the doctors took year-long leaves from the practice which meant less disruption for the children’s education.
Steele Brewerton chose to continue his studies in Hawaii, his daughter said.
“Dad chose to go to Hawaii which I was really glad for,” she said.
Brewerton delivered thousands of babies in southern Alberta, said his daughter, and was always on call. Many family picnics were put on hold in summer until he came home after helping a mother. He became so popular women from Calgary and the United States came to Brewerton to deliver their children, she said.
“When a baby was ready, dad was always there.”
Steele and Loree eventually moved to the U.S. and after doing an LDS mission in San Diego, they headed north to Cardston and then finally Magrath where they spent five years before moving into the lodge in 2020.
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