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Labrador West Pioneer: Jack McCarthy

Jack McCarthy
Jack McCarthy - Gary Shaw

LABRADOR WEST, N.L.

Jack McCarthy is a long-time resident of Wabush and is yet another representation of who a true Labrador West Pioneer is.

Jack came to Labrador West in 1964 from Corner Brook. He came to Wabush with the encouragement of his aunt who was already here. Although he had no other contacts or job possibilities, at age 18, he threw caution to the wind and headed to Labrador. He had left home with $30, which he managed to lose on his way to Labrador West in his search for work.

Thankfully, Jack arrived and stayed with his aunt in the beginning and quickly started his search for the work that drew so many young folks to Labrador West. It would be Jack’s opportunity to find a good paying job and the security that went with it.


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​​​​​​​His first stop was at Wabush Mines. He went on site, searched out the right place to be, and the right people to talk to and after a five-minute interview with the job recruiter he had a job with Wabush Mines. It was three weeks before he started work. He needed the signature of the general manager on his paper work. The manager was out of town, so Jack had to wait.

At the end of the three weeks, he had completed his medical and went to work in the accounting department of the mine. He started out working 60 hours a week for a monthly salary of $353.

The rest was history. Jack completed a 31-year career in the mining sector at Wabush Mines. All the years spent living and working through the good times and the bad times that exist in the normal run of a mining career was worth it all.

Jack described the early years in Wabush as a time of optimism and growth for the mine and the people who were employed there. The mine grew, the town of Wabush grew and the families of the people who worked every day to make it all grow, grew as well.

Infrastructure, homes, streets and supply and service industries and all the stores carrying the needs of the people, all grew together with everyone in all sectors working hard and being active participants in the growth of a typical northern mining town, with energy and optimism being the driving force.

After Jack did his time in the bunkhouses and cafeteria living, he was married to his wife Elaine from Baie Verte, Newfoundland in 1970 and set up housekeeping together. Jack is most proud of his wife and family. He and Elaine raised four children, three boys and one girl who are now adults, living successful lives and have given Jack and Elaine four grandchildren.

He and Elaine are proud of their children, the education that they were able to provide them with and the successes that they have achieved thanks to Mom and Dad’s hard work and the many valuable life’s lessons Labrador West has provided them with, as a family.

He and Elaine have given a great amount of time back to their community. Jack has served in the Kinsmen Club as a member for many years, including a stint as president. Minor hockey with three boys all playing in different leagues at different times also saw them involved in helping with the wellness of the young people of our community.

Jack and Elaine have also been contributors to their church for many years including the Catholic Church Council and ongoing supporters of the many volunteer efforts attached to the work of the church.

Final question as always asked, any regrets on the life chosen by them, in Labrador West. As always the same answer.

“Not one, Labrador West has been nothing but good to us for all these years,” Jack said. “We have tried our best to be good back.”

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