The Paynter Family

The Paynter Family

Edwin Paynter was born in 1881 in England. He married Margaret in 1903. They immigrated to Canada in 1909, settling in East Kelowna and giving the area that name. In 1914 they moved back to England, while Edwin served in World War I. They returned to Canada and moved to Westbank in 1919. Edwin and Margaret had 7 children: Edwina (born 1905), Henry (born 1907), Rose, Jessica (born 1909), John, Jacqueline (born 1917), and Doris. Many of their children were born in England but immigrated to Canada at a young age.

Upon settling in Westbank in the early to mid-1900s, Edwin Paynter became the Postmaster. Edwin was a trained lawyer in England and became a Notary Public in Canada. Edwin and Margaret also owned land and farmed. Margaret Paynter looked after the post office while Edwin was gone for months exploring the watershed and diverting water.

Edwin Paynter was involved with the Westbank Water Users’ Co-op Association (later called the Westbank Irrigation District) for 43 years and was secretary for 21 years. Edwin was influential in the water supply organization in early Westbank development. He spent a lot of time exploring mountain lakes and increasing water supply. Edwin found and named Paynter Lake. He also built a diversion ditch from Bear Lake to Powers Creek, despite being told that this task was impossible, with only determination, a level, a pick, and a shovel. There was a dry summer in the mid-1920s when the main water supply for Westbank ran out. They relied on Edwin to temporarily fix the problem, getting rid of a beaver dam that was obstructing water flow. This helped Westbank get through the season. There were three generations of Paynters involved with the Westbank Irrigation District helping to better supply water to the Westbank area.

Margaret Paynter was involved with the church as a Sunday school teacher, organist, and member of the W.A. She was also active in the Community Hall, Pro-Rec, Women’s Institute, and the Victorian Order of Nurses. Margaret retired from the Post Office in 1946 to focus more on her garden and grandchildren. She also helped with the orchard when able. Margaret died in 1958 in the Kelowna General Hospital.

Edwin received the Good Citizenship Award in 1954 from the Westbank Board of Trade. Edwin died in 1973 in the Kelowna General Hospital. Edwin and Margaret left behind many family members including grandchildren and great-grandchildren that continue to contribute to the Westbank area. Margaret and Edwin were buried beside each other in the Westbank cemetery.

Margaret and Edwin’s son, Henry (with his wife Shelia), established the Paynter’s Fruit Market that is still operated by the Paynter family today. Henry had a passion for badminton, farming, and bees. He was recognized as the world’s oldest competitive badminton player by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Margaret and Edwin’s daughter, Edwina, continued to farm in the area. She was known for her fondness for her animals and fierce spirit. One time Edwina was struck by lightning while changing sprinklers. She had been holding a pipe, having thought that her rubber gloves and boots would save her. Edwina was often working by herself on her farm. She had to deal with predators such a skunk, a bobcat, and a boar (which sliced her thigh before she managed to escape).