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

VIDEO: Cloverdale’s cancer fundraising country concert hit the mark

Organizers believe the $600,000 goal was reached at the annual Gone Country - Here for the Cure.

2018 Aldergrove Fair photo gallery

Good times from pony rides and petting zoo to free MainStage concerts

Letter: Save the little forested area in Murrayville

A Langley letter writer is concerned development will mean the loss of greenspace.

54-40 thrills Aldergrove Fair crowd: VIDEO

54-40 were joined on stage by the band members’ dancing children, the “Aldergrove Rockettes”

Man arrested in Maple Ridge in connection with Victoria-area murder

Daniel Creagh faces second-degree murder charge in death of Joseph Gauthier

BC Wildfire merges two Okanagan wildfires

Large plume of smoke seen over the fire was a controlled event

Two accidents close Coquihalla north and south of Merritt

DriveBC says a crews are en route to each accident

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Trio overcomes adversity at the BC Games

Zone 4 girl’s 3x3 basketball team fought through injuries and conflicting schedules

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

Most Read