Arthur Maitland Twigg was a proud British Columbian who self-published a hardcover history called Union Steamships Remembered 1920-1958, a compilation of text and photos, with cover art by Michael Dean, that was launched at the Vancouver Maritime Museum in 1997. Now out of print, it focused on ships and personnel of ‘the lifeline of the coast’, the Union Steamship Company.
Twigg was born at the North Vancouver General Hospital on April 25, 1923 and first lived at one of the cottages on Ambleside Beach. Growing up in West Vancouver, he excelled at sports despite the effects of a boyhood accident that prevented him from bending one leg. In his late teens and early 20s he worked for the Union Steamships, mostly as a purser, on a wide variety of ships. He married and thereafter worked primarily as a purchasing agent for the municipality of West Vancouver. He presided over a national convention of the Purchasing Management Association and formed the local ‘Jondo’ basketball club in West Vancouver to encourage all boys to play. “We wanted a name that would include everybody,” he told the Lions Gate Times, “and since John Doe has come to be a universal name, we figured we couldn’t find a better one. We shortened it to Jondos.” He was also a coach for senior men’s basketball in Vancouver. Divorced from his first wife, he retired early in 1972 and moved with his second wife (Gloria) in 1974 to live at Oyster Bay on family property where his mother Rubina had been living since the early 1940s. His father Harry had died in 1946 but his mother remained active as a local newspaper columnist into her late 90s. She died in April of 2008. After his second wife died in 1996, Art Twigg met his close companion and subsequent caregiver, Judy Aylsworth, of Nanoose Bay, in 1998. He died on November 24, 2001 at Woodgrove Manor in Nanaimo after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. A collector of books about the Duke of Wellington, he was also a painter who could, if prompted, recite Casey at the Bat in its entirety. He was 78 years old.
The Maritime Heritage Centre is proud to have Mr. Twigg's notes and research he compiled during his 5 years of interviewing those personnel with the Union Steamship Company.