“Off on Patrol” R.C.M.P. Constable Joe Kessler kissing his wife, Lillian, goodbye as he leaves on patrol. ca. 1938
Yukon Archives: #8478
Joe Kessler was posted to the Yukon in 1936, a few years after joining the RCMP. His romance with Lillian is an early version of "teledating": he met Lillian while stationed in Port Arthur/Fort William in Ontario, and she was a telephone operator in Winnipeg. Joe had a friend living there who he called frequently, and he and Lillian would chat.
Joe Kessler with his “favourite dog” at Forty Mile.
Yukon Archives: #8444
Eventually they connected in person when he visited Winnipeg. Lillian followed Joe to the Yukon in 1937, and they were married in Whitehorse on December 9 of that year. The newlyweds journeyed via dog sled to Forty Mile, where Joe was the last RCMP officer to serve. The Kesslers left the Yukon in 1938 and eventually settled in Winnipeg where they had four children. Joe Kessler died in 1987. Lillian is in her nineties and resides in Winnipeg. She still treasures the portraits Claude Tidd took of them while in Forty Mile.