Saskatchewan

Governor General to award medal to longtime archeologist, archivist and construction historian

Frank Korvemaker is one of nearly 40 Canadians being presented an honour by Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Julie Payette in a ceremony at the RCMP depot Regina on Saturday.

Frank Korvemaker is a triple threat when it comes to Saskatchewan's history

Regina’s Frank Korvemaker is one of 40 Canadians receiving honours today from the Governor General. (Heather Korvemaker)

Frank Korvemaker is one of 36 Canadians to be honoured by the Governor General of Canada Julie Payette in a ceremony at the RCMP Academy Depot in Regina Saturday.

Some are receiving medals of bravery. Others, such as Korvemaker, are receiving Meritorious Service Decorations. His efforts have helped save and preserve several Saskatchewan landmarks.

The Addison Sod House, the Claybank Brick Plant and the Bell Barn are just a few structures that still stand today, thanks in part to his efforts.

Korvemaker's passion for history began at birth. Born in Holland, he was named after, Eduard Frank, a Jewish family friend and co-worker who Korvemaker's parents offered to hide during the Second World War. Eduard Frank refused.  Instead the Korvemakers helped another Jewish family by hiding them during the occupation.

His parents actions were discovered before the war ended. The Jewish family was never heard from again. Korvemaker's father was incarcerated and punished. 

"I was born in 1947, but I might as well have lived through the war, because I lived it daily through my parents," he says. "The war affected them profoundly." 

His mother always instilled in him the importance of family and history.

"I've been named for history, and I carry that with me every day," says Korvemaker. "What I do, I do for Eduard Frank and my parents."

The Korvemaker family emigrated to Canada in 1954 and settled in Montreal. From childhood Frank was fascinated with buildings, particularly old ones. 

He then came west to attend University in Calgary before finishing his degree in Regina in 1969. He met his wife in Saskatchewan. They raised four children here. 

Korvemaker spent 25 years working for the Heritage Branch of the Saskatchewan Government. 

The same week that he was sent a letter congratulating him on 25 years of service, he was also given a layoff notice. 

That challenge turned into an opportunity for Korvemaker to continue to pursue his historical interests. He was able to secure a job in the Provincial Archives. He finished his career there, but hasn't stopped working to preserve old buildings.

He still works with the Claybank Brick Plant and is collecting information on the history on the Bell farm near Indian Head, where the famous round barn is located.

Korvemaker also works on family and community histories and has written and co-authored several books on both Saskatchewan's history and its architecture.

"In another 350 years, I'll run out of work."  

Other Saskatchewanians receiving Meritorious Service Medals include Bob Kayseas, Murad Al-Katib, and Ellen Remai. Frank Remai will also be awarded a medal posthumously. 

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