Harvey Alexander Switzer

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Harvey Alexander Switzer

Birthdate: (88)
Birthplace: Bentinck, Grey County, Ontario, Canada
Death: November 3, 1977 (88)
EDSON, Alberta, Canada
Place of Burial: Edson, Division No. 14, Alberta, Canada
Immediate Family:

Son of Benjamin Jacob Switzer and Caroline Amelia Switzer
Husband of Edith Amelia Switzer and Mabel Violet SWITZER
Father of Lawrie Switzer; Bessie MacCuish (Switzer); Helen Margaret Currie; Marie Allen (Switzer); Dick Switzer and 9 others
Brother of Margaret Lavina Hillis, Twin; Mary Elizabeth Augustinus, Twin; Louisa Caroline Curtis "Aunt Lou"(Switzer); Benjamin Daniel Switzer; William James Switzer and 5 others

Managed by: Terry Jackson (Switzer)
Last Updated:

About Harvey Alexander Switzer

Harvey A. Switzer, originally from Ontario, was one of northern Alberta’s first pharmacists. After graduating from the University of Toronto in 1910, he initially settled in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. He operated a freight company that moved goods over the newly constructed Grande Prairie Trail, but ultimately separated from his two partners, and settled in Edson to open H.A. Switzer and Co. in 1912.

Harvey became very involved in his new community. Aside from running a pharmacy, he also housed the local telephone exchange, the ice cream and soda shop, and even a library. He married Edith Lawrence, the daughter of the residing mayor, with whom he had 14 children. Harvey became involved in local politics, and was elected to town council in 1914.

Three of Harvey’s children, William, John, and Dan, followed their father into pharmacy. William A. Switzer, who graduated from the University of Alberta in 1947, first managed the Edson store before expanding into a second location in Hinton. He served as Hinton’s mayor, and then as M.L.A. for the Jasper-Hinton area.

John F. Switzer graduated from pharmacy in 1953, and practiced with both his father, Harvey, and brother, Daniel. John married Hazel, and together they raised seven children – several of whom were also involved with the family pharmacy. John’s children Harold and Connie Switzer studied pharmacy at the University of Alberta – Harold, who graduated in 1988, continues to run the pharmacy in Edson, while Connie went on to study medicine and now works as a Gastroenterologist in Edmonton.

Daniel P. Switzer worked first as a coal miner and oilfield worker before graduating from Pharmacy at the University of Alberta in 1960.

One Saturday in 1952, a fire devastated the main street of Edson, including the pharmacy. The Switzers worked hard, and ensured that the pharmacy was back in business the Monday following the fire, at a temporary location.

John Switzer is now 83, and often drops in to the pharmacy, now run by his son Harold. It remains in the same location where it was rebuilt after the fire, and bears the original H.A. Switzer and Co. sign in the front. While Edson has grown tremendously, the pharmacy still remains a corner post of the community. Harold greets almost all customers by their first name, and the pharmacy is a large part of Edson’s own centennial celebrations.

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Harvey Alexander Switzer's Timeline

June 8, 1889
Bentinck, Grey County, Ontario, Canada
December 9, 1914
Age 25
February 2, 1916
Age 26
Edson, AB, Canada
March 28, 1917
Age 27
New Westminster, BC, Canada
May 13, 1918
Age 28
Edson, AB, Canada
June 27, 1919
Age 30
EDSON, Alberta, Canada
September 21, 1920
Age 31
Edson, Division No. 14, Alberta, Canada
November 27, 1921
Age 32
Edson, AB, Canada
January 25, 1923
Age 33
Edson, AB, Canada