When Coal Was King
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Benjamin Tyler Coon

Benjamin Tyler Coon, 62-year old general manager of Lethbridge Collieries Ltd. since 1938, died in Lethbridge on 20 September 1943.

His passing removed one of the best-known officials in western coal-mining circles, a field in which he was involved for 40 years. He came to Lethbridge from Calgary to succeed Robert Livingstone, first general manager of Lethbridge Collieries Ltd. In Calgary, Ben Coon had held executive positions with the company and had been in charge of coal sales for the Lethbridge mines.

He played a leading part in the nation's coal mining circles, particularly as a result of the war. He was called to Ottawa often to attend conferences, to help formulate coal mining regulations, and to advise those responsible for such agencies as the Emergency Coal Products Board.

He was a member of Rotary and active in other aspects of civic affairs. His funeral was widely attended by directors of Lethbridge Collieries: S. G. Porter, R. A. Lovett, C. S. Donaldson, and T. H. Lancaster. The general office staff of Lethbridge Collieries, Galt No. 8 Mine, and the Standard Mine, Shaughnessy, attended in a body. The CPR Natural Resources Division was represented, as was the Lands Department. Osier, Hammond & Nanton of Winnipeg and Calgary, the Pacific Grain Company, United Grain Growers all sent representatives. Pallbearers were John Marshall Davidson, Dr. M.J. Gibson, A. Gladstone Virtue, E. C. M. Davis, M. B. Wilkinson and George Cox.

This article is extracted from Alex Johnston, Keith G. Gladwyn and L. GregoryLethbridge Its Coal Industry Ellis. Lethbridge: Its Coal Industry (Lethbridge, Lethbridge: City of Lethbridge, 1989), Occasional Paper No. 20, The Lethbridge Historical Society. The Heritage Community Foundation and the Year of the Coal Miner Consortium (of which the City of Lethbridge is the lead partner) would like to thank the authors for permission to reprint this material.

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