Her infant sister, Marianne — who was born with multiple mental and physical disabilities — died in 1952. De Burger-Fex's 15-year-old brother, Willy, was hit by a car and killed while riding his bicycle in 1960.
When she was a young woman, she and her husband, Alex, returned to live in the community for several years, and de Burger-Fex taught at the community's school.
“My mother called it our hometown in Canada, because the people were so wonderful, helpful and supporting,” she said. “She couldn't say enough good things about it.”
An Inco settlement located close to Lively, the mining company decided to decommission the town, with the last buildings torn down in the late 1980s.
“I couldn't go to Creighton when they were tearing the school down,” de Burger-Fex said. “It just meant too much to me.”
Today there's not much left of the town except for the remnants of the wooden sidewalks and a few lilac trees planted by the town's residents.
Creighton Mine, which at one time had a population of about 1,000 people, had “it all” — including three grocery stores, two restaurants, a clothes store, a movie theatre and even a jail, de Burger-Fex said.
Well-known former Creigtonites include the late regional chair Tom Davies and Steelworkers International president Leo Gerard.
Given how good Creighton Mine was to de Burger-Fex and her family, she's made it her mission to keep the memory of the town alive.
She's one of the organizers of the 25th annual Creighton Shines Again reunion, which takes place in Lively July 18-20.
Events planned for this year's reunion include a social with bowling and pool at Laneway Tap and Grill and a slag pour viewing July 18, a Memories of Creighton event at Anderson Farm Museum and a dinner and dance at TM Davies Arena July 19, and an interfaith service at Anderson Farm Museum July 20.
Registration for the reunion costs $10 a family, and tickets to the dinner and dance cost $25 a person. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone de Burger-Fex at 705-671-2711.