Langley’s Tidballs inducted into hall of fame

The local equestrians and business owners are BC Sports Hall of Fame inductees

Langley’s own George and Diane Tidball were named at inductees into the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

Chosen in the builder category, the husband and wife, who both died in 2014, created the Thunderbird Show Park and are some of the biggest contributors to making Langley the Horse Capital of B.C.

The official ceremony to recognize the 2017 inductees will be April 12, 2017.

The couple had adventurous forebearers and lives that took them all over the world before settling down in Langley.

Dianne was born in Shanghai in 1932, where her father John Braidwood was a Lever Brother’s Far East Division manager. Her mother Wenda was originally from Poland, and the pair were on a short leave there in 1939 when the family had to scramble to avoid the invading Germans.

They settled in Vancouver and later Naramata in the Interior, but Dianne’s father would late return to Shanghai, where he was captured by the Japanese during the Second World War and interned in a POW camp for several years. After more time in Shanghai, her father re-joined the family in Naramata.

Dianne would graduate from Penticton High in 1951, where she had already met George Tidball, originally from Carstairs, Alta.

George was a descendent of pioneers and war veterans hailing from the Canadian west.

A graduate of a one-room schoolhouse and then Pentiction High, George went on to study at the University of British Columbia.

He ran into academic problems a few times in his early life, but developed a pattern of bouncing back and studying harder.

He failed his first year at UBC, but then graduated at the top of his year as a chartered accountant.

George and Dianne were married in 1952, and George started working for Alcan.

With three young children in tow, the family headed off to the United States in 1959 when George got the opportunity to study first at Harvard, and then in Chicago.

“My experience at Harvard forced me to reconsider my perspective on everything,” George recalled years later. “When I failed the very first exam, I came home and said, ‘Dianne, I think we made a mistake, I can’t keep up with these guys’. But later I found out that the professor failed me because he thought I was too arrogant. That changed my attitude towards school – I decided to study more seriously.”

Dianne supported the family, as while George had a scholarship, it covered only books and tuition.

She took up typing envelopes at home while caring for their children.

It was also Dianne who spurred the family’s move into the restaurant industry. After leaving Chicago, she missed the simple fast food place that their kids had loved. It was a new chain called McDonald’s.

With the family back in Vancouver, George approached McDonald’s, looking for the chance to open a single franchise. He came back with the rights for all of western Canada.

They opened their first franchise in Richmond in 1967, and would eventually open 32 stores over the next four years.

It was also in the late 1960s that the couple and their now-four children would come to Langley, all because oldest daughter Kathy wanted a horse.

By 1969 the family had an acreage near Fort Langley, and space enough for their children to ride.

George, having sold his McDonald’s franchises, was busy creating The Keg Steakhouse chain, while at the same time the family oversaw the creation of the Thunderbird Equestrian Centre near 200th Street and 88th Avenue.

The original Thunderbird park was closed in the late 1990s, and the area redeveloped into commercial and residential units.

Soon the family began plans for a new Thunderbird, at 72nd Avenue and 248th Street – now one of North America’s premiere show jumping locations.

George passed away in June, and Dianne followed him just a few weeks later.

 

Just Posted

Suspected spill kills hundreds of crayfish, coho in Langley river

A fish kill in the Nicomekl has a biologist concerned for the health of the local ecosystem.

Rams harvest sweet victory in win over Huskers

The Chilliwack team found itself pushed back again and again.

WATCH: Cops for Cancer bring message of hope to Langley school

Young cancer survivors are traveling with the fundraising bike ride.

Boxing coach takes shot at Langley City council run

Dave Allison has lived downtown for years and wants to represent his neighbours.

Langley venue of glass provides bright stage for charity art show

West Fine Arts Show runs Friday to Sunday at South Langley’s Glass House Estate Winery.

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Aldergrove soccer forward enjoys scoring spree

UFV Cascades’ Jhaj named Canada West second star of the week

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

New ‘meowyoral’ race featuring felines announced by B.C. animal shelter

Organizers hope the cat election will generate attention for shelter and local municipal election

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Lower Mainland city calls for slower trains near popular beach

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Most Read