Jasper Treasures: Pattie and Stephen Pavlov

·5 min read

Pattie and Stephen Pavlov personify the term 'community involvement'.

And Jasper has had the fortune to reap the benefits of this pair's commitment for almost three decades.

Both were attending the University of Windsor and met at a pub there in 1978, through a mutual friend. They got married in 1981.

The year before, Stephen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social sciences from the Department of Communication and started working for Confederation Life Insurance in Windsor a week after that. He also worked as marketing executive and a cameraman in the news department of a cable company.

Pattie graduated in 1985 with a BA in English and history (double major) and a double minor in psychology and sociology.

She worked as a telecommunications operator for the Windsor RCMP detachment for five years. That was where Stephen's interest in the RCMP started.

"Through Pattie I got to know the RCMP members and it opened my interest in police work," he said.

Another influence was his uncle in New Jersey who was a police officer.

Stephen forged ahead to prepare for training, completing entrance exams and doing interviews and got the call in March of 1986 to start six months of training at the depot in Regina.

His first posting was in Grande Prairie.

"That was culture shock," he said.

The weather was quite a change too. The first time the temperature hit 40 below, he chuckled, and "The first time I heard tires thumping, I wondered, 'Why did I move here'?"

In Grande Prairie, Stephen said, "People work hard and they play hard. There's lots of crime, lots of break-ins."

The last year he worked there, he dealt with three domestics, back-to-back in one day, assisted by an auxiliary constable because other members were busy elsewhere.

Pattie worked at the Canada Employment Centre, first as an administrative assistant to the manager, then as an employment counsellor, a job she kept until they moved.

Stephen joined the Grande Prairie Stompede board of directors.

He noted the CPRA circuit was brought in and remembered 2,000 people taking in the rodeo action, midway and beer gardens. Glen Keddie and Don Johansen were his mentors.

Stephen also met "rodeo royalty" Mel Hyland. He and other past presidents were honoured with silver handmade belt buckles at a ceremony at the rodeo arena. Stephen still has a connection with those folks.

Pattie, on the same board, created the Miss Rodeo Grande Prairie title.

Five years later, when he got notice he was being transferred to the RCMP detachment in Jasper, Stephen said, "I remember calling Pattie immediately: 'Pack your bags - we're going to Jasper.'"

When it came time to move, Stephen said, "It was kind of sad."

After living in apartments for many years, the Pavlovs built a house on a lot they purchased.

They celebrated the first birthday of their son Nikolas the day they moved out of the house.

"Then we closed the garage door for the last time," Stephen said.

Pattie's and Stephen's second son, Peter, was born in 1994, with severe cerebral palsy. The Jasper community, including schools, rallied around the Pavlov family with the extra care needed, including having an elevator installed at the elementary school for his use.

"There were so many advantages," Stephen said. "That's what kept us here."

Peter eventually went to long term care and his family lived right next door. Peter lived to the age of 19.

"People in the community were a huge help to us," Stephen said.

Stephen was told to expect to work in Jasper 10, maybe 12 years, due to another financial crunch in the RCMP.

"I didn't mind," he said.

He joined the Jasper Rodeo Committee and worked many years with the group.

Pattie was an employment counsellor at the Canada Employment Centre until it closed in 1996 then sold advertising for the Jasper Booster. She left there to work at Jasper Elementary School as a teaching assistant.

The tenacious Pattie started studies at the University of Alberta in September of 2005 and completed 10 courses in three months. She graduated in June of 2007 with a degree in elementary studies. She did some contract work and substitute teaching at the elementary school and high school until 2010.

Pattie got into the rodeo scene too, rejuvenating the Miss Rodeo Jasper competition.

"We were very successful," she said.

Since retiring from the RCMP on March 14, 2012, Stephen has kept busy at the local stables working as a trail guide three days a week.

Pattie celebrated her tenth year with the Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce in September. She decided to curtail volunteer positions to focus on her job with the Chamber.

In her free time, Pattie said, "I still enjoy reading - that's my passion. I like walking the trails here, you meet people on the trail."

Another of her passions is cooking.

"I'm all over the world with what I cook - Hungarian, Chinese, French and much more. For me it's a stress buster," she said.

Immersing oneself in the community, Pattie said, is "important to me because giving back is important. Feeling good about contributing is wonderful."

Stephen said, "Our communities provide so much. This community is a really good place to live. (Volunteering) is a way of giving back to the community."

Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh