The Millet Museum created the Millet's Pioneer Women exhibit to celebrate our own local women's contributions. As quoted by the CARMN project - "official" history all to frequently ignored the contribution of women. While the notion of the "hand that rocked the cradle ruling the world" is often citied, with respect to museum collections, the contextual material around the lives of girls and women is not generally collected. Domestic artifacts comprise a huge volume of community museum collections but the women who used them and gave them the patina of age are nowhere described or felt. Where women espouse "male" roles, as politicians and policy makers, they are captured in community histories. But all of those "nameless" and "faceless" women who are brides, mothers, sisters, aunts, teachers, nurses -- all of those ways in which women function in communities -- are frequently missing from the pages of history. The Exhibit begins to give these women their rightful play and makes them visible so that their stories can help us to understand the larger Canadian story.
Millet's Pioneer Women 2014
Peggy (Dubeau) Vant-RobinsonPeggy was born on April 27, 1941 to Maude and Raymond Dubeau. Peggy had three siblings: Rae, Don and Linda. Peggy was raised on a 20,000 acre ranch, 20 miles west of Medicine Hat.
She took a Junior E education course at the University of Calgary. In 1960 Peggy was crowned Medicine Hat’s Stampede Queen. In the fall of that same year, Peggy taught grades 1-6 at Suffield, Alberta.
Peggy became engaged to John Vant and he bought a place for them in Millet. The couple married on August 3, 1962. Peggy briefly taught at Pipestone school before her first child, Jill arrived. After Jill came Margy and then Shawn.
Peggy is a pillar of the community and helps in any way she can. She sang with the United Church choir and with the Wetaskiwin Chorolaries. She has been involved in teaching Sunday school and assisting with Christmas concerts at the community hall. Linda Goin and Peggy created a figure skating group and even put on winter carnivals. When the curling rink opened Peggy became an active member.
As an avid horse lover, Peggy along with her husband John were involved with the Millet Light Horse Club, where Peggy was the Secretary Treasurer for a number of years. The couple also helped build an arena in Millet for people to use. Peggy won the Alberta Ladies Cutting Horse Championship in 1972. She worked with others to get a teacher to come to Millet to teach the children highland dance.
Unfortunately in April 1977, John passed away. After John’s passing the girls became more involved in riding. A new group for young woman was started by the Tellim Woman’s Institute and Peggy became involved in the Handicraft Division. Peggy was the treasurer for the Quarter Horse Shows in Alberta from 1977-1982. The J-V Ranch Quarter Horse Show started in 1977 and was held in Peggy’s arena for 6 years.
In 1980 Peggy met Bob Robinson, they dated for two years before marrying on December 3, 1982. Together, Bob and Peggy have 23 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Peggy makes all of them quilts when they graduate from high school or get married. Peggy joined the Millet Arts and Craft Guild and has been treasurer for many years and has taught many classes. She also helps at the Millet Museum sewing flags and garment bags and has recently accepted the position as the Millet and District Historical Society Treasurer.
Peggy is an inspiration to the community and her contributions to Millet and surrounding area have not gone unnoticed. The Millet Museum is excited to honor this spectacular woman.
Torie (Bell) GerringVictoria “Torie” Louise Bell was born to Bruce and Zelma Bell on May 8, 1922 in Leduc, Alberta. She was raised on the family farm just north of Conjuring Lake. She had one brother, Tom, and four sisters, Salina, Eva, Geordie, and Olga.
Torie attended Conjuring Lake, and Humble schools, and finished her Grade 12 in Calmar, Alberta. She later went to Edmonton to attend Normal School and obtain her Teaching Certificate. Torie’s first teaching position was north of Edson, called Marlboro School and Pine Grove School in 1945. Her next school was in Carnwood at the Liberton School.This is where she met a handsome fellow, Lawrence Gering, who became her husband on July 30, 1947. In June of 1948 their daughter Diana was born, and shortly after they moved to the Westrose area where they purchased a farm and Torie then taught at the Fletcher School.
In 1952 they moved to Millet and Torie taught at a little school in Leduc. In 1953 their son Lorne was born. She later taught at a Michigan Center until she received a position in 1956 at the Millet School as the Grade 2 teacher where she taught until retiring in 1973.
Torie had pleasant memories of working with the Cub Scout Group Committee, Millet Home and School, Ladies Curling Club, Church choir, Recreation Board, and especially time spent with the Junior Choir. She was an instigator of the PlayNites for fundraising for the new Curling Rink. She was very excited and interested in the organizing of events for the Museum and wished she could have spent more time there. She hosted many bridal showers as so many of the Community girls were her former students. Torie enjoyed bowling with her friends Ed and Joyce Moonen and Don and Shirley Wark for many years.
Keeping busy with many crafts Torie never had idle hands. Knitting, crocheting, embroidery and paper tole were amongst her favorites. Music was one of her favorite relaxing times, she would sit and play the piano or organ by the hour and sing and often whistled while working around the house.
Torie loved her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and would do anything for them; driving them to music lessons, sporting events, Boy Scouts, Explorers swimming lessons and picnics.
Torie was an unassuming, modest, kind, generous, thoughtful, respected and respectful loving lady that enjoyed life to the fullest every day. One of the most positive people you’d ever know. She was also honest, trustworthy, organized, patient, tolerant, vibrant, appreciative and very family oriented. Her love and dedication to teaching, her community and her family are what makes Torie Gerring such a miraculous woman and is the reason we are honouring her as a Pioneer Woman of Millet.
Phyllis (Davidson) MullenPhyllis was born on May 17, 1922 in Warner, Alberta. She was the first of four children born to Alex and Greta Davidson. Phyllis grew up on a farm North West of Bowden with her sister Donna and two brothers Leonard and Raymond.
Phyllis earned her teaching certificate by attending normal school in Calgary. She started her career out in a one room school house located in the Wang (pronounced Vang) District east of Millet. Her next job brought her to the Hillside District, south of Millet. This is where she met Robert Mullen who she married on August 4, 1945. The couple had eight children: Catherine, Sharon, Dennis, Theresa, Brian, Patricia, Kathleen and Marilynn. Eventually grandchildren and even great grandchildren expanded the already large clan.
Despite her hectic duties as a mother, Phyllis always found time to be a devoted member of both the Calmar and Millet communities. Phyllis has been recognized as establishing the first Kindergarten in Millet. She was not raised Catholic, however, she was introduced to the church when she married Robert and quickly became a vital member of the congregation. She was a council member and taught many catechism classes at St Norbert’s Parish in Millet. She was a dependable bingo volunteer and was actively involved with the Millet museum helping to prepare exhibits.
Phyllis loved to craft and therefore joined the Millet Arts and Crafts Guild, where she made many friends. Phyllis was able to transfer her knack of teaching into the guild, instructing anyone who was willing to learn.
Once Phyllis had tucked her children into bed, wrapped up her volunteering and the house was clean she somehow found time for her hobbies. Phyllis was capable of sewing anything and everything. She even gave each of her grandchildren a hand-made quillow. In addition to sewing, she did knitting, weaving, embroidery, quilting, rug hooking, ceramics/ pottery, macramé, milliner, and made Christmas decorations.
Phyllis’s family says she was the toughest, yet kindest person they ever met. She impacted the lives of many in the community. She will always be remembered for her caring and loving nature, her teaching abilities and of course, her crafts. We are excited to honor such a memorable, and important member of the millet community in the 2014 Millet’s Pioneer Women exhibit.
Margaret (Scott) StuehmerJeannie Margaret was born on July 30, 1912 in Kinsella, Alberta. She was the youngest of three daughters born to John and Jeannie Scott who were both from Edinburgh, Scotland. Her father, John Scott, immigrated to Canada in 1906 and was followed by his wife, Jeannie, and his daughters Bessie and Jenny in 1907. In the fall of 1913 when Margaret was one year old, the family returned to Scotland to have Margaret christened at the Scottish Presbyterian Church as there was no church in the Kinsella area. The family returned to Alberta in the spring of 1914.
Margaret received her education at one-room schools after completing high school, and attended the Camrose Normal School for one year to obtain her teaching certificate. In 1938, she accepted a job west of Millet at Porto Bello School. While boarded by the Stuehmer family, she met her husband, John Stuehmer. John and Margaret were married on July 10, 1939 and had 3 children; Ronald, James and Janet.
Margaret returned to teaching in 1953, moving from Porto Bello School to Pipestone School, and finally to Millet School. Long into the evenings, when the farm and house work were done, Margaret would sit at the kitchen table, preparing the next day’s lessons. Children were very important to Margaret. She continued to teach at Millet School until 1978, and had dedicated 25 years of her life to the teaching profession.
After her retirement from teaching, Margaret became a very active volunteer for many local organizations. Her favorite organizations were the Local Food Bank, Devonian Gardens, Edmonton Art Gallery, Leduc Friends of the Library and the Meals on Wheels Program. She received numerous awards for her volunteer work.
Margaret was a vibrant and active woman throughout her life. She considered herself a “lifelong learner” and encouraged those around to do the same. She continued to take university courses and engage in other learning activities right up until the time of her death in 2003. Her particular loves were flowers, art, music, Canadian history and poetry.
Margaret Stuehmer was an amazing pioneer woman. She spent her life inspiring others by being an incredible wife, teacher, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend, and volunteer. She was a true Albertan and a proud Canadian woman.