The son and grandson of lawyers, Andre Emile Marc was studying law in France when he decided to seek adventure and travel around the world. When he arrived in Victoria, he met and fell in love with a young French woman, Alice Pichon, the daughter of a man serving as France’s consul in Victoria.
After the couple married in 1909, they spent their wedding gift money on a homestead in the remote northern part of the area then known as South Lillooet. Their isolated homestead, near Loon Lake, had only trail access to the rest of Haney. But even Haney seemed distant at that time – the Marc children were boarded in Haney to attend school. Intent on preserving her heritage, Alice is said to have insisted that French be spoken in the home. If anyone at the dinner table asked to have the potatoes passed in English, they did without potatoes!
Andre joined the French Army, trained in military school and served for four years at the front as a major during the First World War. He also worked as a translator with the Second Life Guards, a British regiment. At Ypres in 1914, Andre was awarded the French Military Cross (Crois de Guerre) and citation for gallantry.
After a time spent back in France serving as an army major late in the war, Andre Marc returned to the homestead. Hiring Japanese labour, he had land cleared and cut shingle bolts for the Marc and MacVicker shingle mill on the Marc property. The Marcs raised their six children and worked this property until Andre’s death in 1959. Alice sold the property to the UBC Research Forest and moved to town with her son, Marcel.
Marcel had worked for a time with his father, and served in World War II in both the French and Canadian armies. Marcel continued to take care of Alice until her death in 1987 at the age of 100.
The Marc family donated an ornate Chinese teak chair to the Museum after her death. Alice had won it in a raffle in Victoria when she was a young woman and kept it with her throughout her life. It was a prized possession.