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Labrador West Pioneer Dwight Coombs

Dwight Coombs
Dwight Coombs - Gary Shaw

Dwight Coombs is a Wabush pioneer through and through. Dwight arrived in Wabush at age 20 in April of 1974 from Shoal Cove West located on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. In the beginning Dwight stayed for a while with his brother Abe who was already here.

A month after his arrival he was followed by his wife Jean and their 14-month-old child. Life in Labrador West was about to begin for this young family.

Like so many folks who landed in Labrador West during those early years, it was all about the work that the mining sector could provide and Dwight was no different.


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He punched 34.5 years inside the gate with a full career at Wabush Mines. All those years saw him live and work through the good times, the bad times and the strikes of the day.

Dwight was quick to say that as a community, Wabush was and continues to be, a good community to live in. He forged close relationships over the years with neighbours and friends that allowed for a social network of activities that gave everyone something to look forward to on a good many Saturday nights.

They had everything they needed: a grocery store, a department store, a gas station, a drug store, a restaurant, the hotel, the Legion, the bank, the arena and the recreation centre. All of these facilities were within minutes of home as was the gate to the mine where they went to work.

Dwight and his wife Jean raised three children in Wabush, two whom are now in Edmonton and one in Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories.

Dwight has two brothers here in Labrador West, who he is close to and he still maintains a close connection with his home roots on the Northern Peninsula as well as fairly regular trips to the west to see their children and grandchildren.

Dwight has had a cabin on Duley Lake since 1988. He lost the original building to a fire in 1997 but quickly rebuilt. He continues to spend as much time as possible there to this day.

Dwight is a man of the woods and water. He has had a long and storied history of fishing the many waterways of Labrador West. He has a long history as a hunter as well. Moose hunting adventures back home on the Northern Peninsula with his family are a regular part of his and his family’s life as tag allocations allow. The many years of caribou bounty in Labrador West in years gone by were also an important part of Dwight’s lifestyle. This is something that not only Dwight, but also a good many Labradorians miss.

As is usually the case with most of our Labrador West pioneers featured in this series, the final analysis by most everyone is very similar. Looking back, the message is usually the same. Dwight is no different. Labrador West has been good to him and his family and he has been good to it. It has been a great place for steady work, a safe place to raise his kids, and a great lifestyle.

In Dwight’s own words, after living a full career of work and 10 years of retirement so far, Labrador West is home, no regrets, and it’s all good.             

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