Photo: Trail Historical Society

Photo: Trail Historical Society

Trail Blazers: Remembering Mr. Potter

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

As we begin another school year, let’s take a dive back to the original JL Crowe Secondary School.

Pictured here is the school band circa 1952, in what was a brand new gym (the school opened in September 1951), led by the talented and dedicated band teacher, Mr. Rex Potter.

Reginald “Rex” Potter made a name for himself in the city when he arrived in Trail in 1937.

Offering private music lessons and leading the local veteran’s orchestra, English-born Potter was soon recruited by the school board to get a high school music program up and running.

Because he lacked a teaching certificate, the Department of Education resisted the board’s suggestion due to his lack of formal credentials.

After much negotiating and the board’s insistence on Potter’s reputation and ability, the powers that be hired him to lead the music program in 1939.

The move was an important one, as the school’s robust band, orchestra, and choir programs became a successful model for schools across the province.

An artist and sportsman, Potter enjoyed oil painting and bountiful fishing the West Kootenay offered.

He passed away in Trail at the age of 76, leaving his wife Cora. His obituary shared some insights into his life before arriving in Trail:

Mr. Potter was well-known for the stories he could tell of his varied career as an immigrant homesteader in northern Saskatchewan, a theatre musician in Prince Albert, a member of the RCMP serving in the Crow’s Nest area and overseas with the RCMP cavalry regiment, an independent fur trader in northern Saskatchewan, and a school principal in Estevan during the Depression.”

We wonder how many Trail Times readers studied under Mr. Potter at Crowe.

Do you recognize any faces in the photo?

Feel free to share your memories on Facebook with the Trail Museum and Archives.

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