The Exham Years
The Church, Art and Life in Old Crow, 1965-1969
“Miss Beth-Anne Gibson, a recent graduate from A.W.T.C. joined us on the first of June and comes to us as the Director of Religious Education. She will be primarily responsible for work among the young native boys and girls who will be coming to live at the new Government Hostel in Whitehorse. She will also be on hand to assist with the work of Religious Education throughout the Diocese. We give her a warm welcome to the Diocese and refer you to the item under Camp Gikhyichoh."
Northern Lights magazine, August 1960.
Kenah Exham and Beth-Anne Gibson first met at Trinity College in Toronto when Beth-Anne was studying at the Anglican Women’s Training College (AWTC). They both had a strong interest in education as Beth-Anne was a teacher in Ottawa and Kenah had a degree in Education. Kenah was from Edmonton and Beth-Anne was from Ottawa but they would meet again.
Beth-Anne began work in the Yukon in 1960 at the Government Hostel in Whitehorse as well as working throughout the Diocese. She met Kenah again on a trip to Alberta. In 1964, the couple married and were posted to Dawson City where Kenah was priest-in-charge of the historic parish of St. Paul’s. When Reverend James Simon retired from Old Crow, the Exhams moved there the following year to replace him.
In Old Crow, Kenah was a standout at 6’5” tall. The Exhams also stood out in their dedication to the education of the youth of Old Crow. The trend for young people to go “outside” for their higher schooling and then staying away was creating social difficulties.
“…the young Old Crow adult, in the 20 to 40 age bracket, is not getting the education he needs as the trend of migration to the white communities gains momentum.”
Kenah Exham in Northern Lights magazine Spring 1966
The Exhams participated fully in the community’s social life. Within a year of settling in, Beth-Anne began teaching. She learned about the ski program from Father Mouchet, the famous Catholic priest who helped Gwich’in skiers Shirley and Sharon Firth on to the Olympics. She adopted the program and also began training some of her students for racing.
The Exhams left Old Crow in 1969 and moved to Vermillion, Alberta where Kenah ministered for 8 years. Kenah ministered for 16 years in Alberta before their last posting to Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan where they lived until Kenah died in 1986.Today Beth-Anne lives in Edmonton, Alberta.
The following articles about the Exham's life in the Yukon and Old Crow are copies from the Northern Lights magazine.
Beth-Anne Gibson arrives in Whitehorse
Rev. and Mrs. Exham drawing water at hole dug by RCMP. Exham Coll.
The Rectory. Exham Coll.
Beth-Anne's students. Exham Coll.