Wee Book Inn founder Darwin Luxford dies at 71

The man who founded a chain of used bookstores in Edmonton is being remembered for his adventurous spirit and passion for reading.
Darwin and Leola Luxford in an undated photo. Leola died in 2004. Their son Carey said: "They were an amazing team and I’ll miss them for the rest of my life." (Courtesy of Carey Luxford )

The man who founded a chain of used bookstores in Edmonton is being remembered for his adventurous spirit and passion for reading.

Darwin Luxford opened the first Wee Book Inn on Whyte Avenue in 1971.  He died of pancreatic cancer on Friday at the age of 71.

(Courtesy of Carey Luxford )

His son Carey Luxford says his father got the idea to open a used bookstore after working in a similar business on 124th Street.

“I guess he really liked what it was all about and he was already a big reader so he thought that it was something he could get into."

It turned out that the business was a great match for Luxford’s interests as well as his personality.

After a few years, the Wee Book Inn moved to a new two-storey location on Whyte Avenue which Luxford built.

Carey Luxford says his dad also loved being around people.

“Having somewhere he could go every day for twelve or fourteen hours a day and just talk to new people all the time,” he said.

“I think that was a perfect thing for him. He couldn't have made a better decision for himself."

However, Luxford never wrote his own stories, something his son regrets.

"He just had endless stories about living in this city with his buddies, doing things that just aren't done anymore,” he said.

In time where digital downloads are supplanting traditional paper books, customers say Luxford’s stores play an important role.

"Our kids and grandkids will talk about a time where people actually had to go and get books. And I think that's one of the nice things about it.” customer Jon Talon said.

“We're seeing less and less of these bookstores around town and this one is one that persevered for a long time and hopefully will for a long time to come."

Luxford’s funeral will be held on Wednesday.

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