Weyburn– Dempsey Laird was honoured on June 3 as one of two Southeast Saskatchewan Oilmen of the Year. The award was presented at the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show in Weyburn.
Ray Frehlick made the presentation.
“This gentleman’s been in the oilpatch since 1955. At that time, Alida, Saskatchewan, was kind of a hotbed for oil. At that time, R.E. Line had many employees there,” Frehlick said.
“There were no pipelines at that time. Everyone trucked their oil. Dempsey Laird was in charge of rail cars, loading rail cars at Nottingham, Carnduff, Alida in those days.”
Frehlick said, “In 1960, Dempsey Laird and his wife moved to Halbrite, and they trucked oil out of Halbrite for quite a number of years before they started their own business in Halbrite, trucking oil and water. He continued on until his retirement. He turned his business over to his family, and they still run it. At its peak, they had something like 67 employees. I think today they still have 57. They’re very dedicated to their employees.
“He was also heavily involved in the community of Halbrite. He hired summer students, kids to work, and give them some income.”
Laird now resides in Moose Jaw.
“I thank you, not from the bottom of my heart, but from all the people of this province, for making Halbrite a better community, Saskatchewan a better province and Canada a better country,” Frehlick concluded.
In response, Laird thanked all those who made this possible.
Laird said he was born in Glaslyn, Sask. in 1932. After graduation from high school he went to Powell River, B.C. and worked for Northern Construction for six months. He returned to Saskatchewan and worked in Prince Albert. He hauled lumber in the winter, and gravel in the summer.
In 1953 he worked for the Sask. Timber Board in the office, and then in the spring of 1954 he started moving dozers and road equipment.
“In December, when it froze up, I went to Alida, Saskatchewan visit my brother who worked for R. E. Line Trucking in the oilfield. I started driving truck for R.E. Line in December 1955, loading tank cars in Alida, Nottingham and Steelman, until Producers Pipeline came in in 1957. Then we hauled oil to the pipeline,” Laird said.
He loaded rail cars at Carievale for two years.
“I met Marion Jackson. Marion was a farm girl from northeast Alida. I met her in 1956. We were married June 29, 1957. We have five children, four girls and one boy.”
“I moved to Halbrite in 1960 and worked as a foreman for 1960.”
Hudson Bay Oil drilled a well in 1965 near Gladmar which had quite a bit of product. “That was quite a feat to haul oil 75 miles from Gladmar to Midale with the equipment we had at that time, but we managed to do it.”
In May 1978 R.E. Line Trucking became Dempsey Laird Trucking, and by 1985 they were running 41 trucks. He retired in 1998 and three children Trevor Laird, Nancy St. Jules, and Ione Scott now own and operate the business.