Millet's Pioneer Women 2017
Madge (Barrows) Plant
Hello, I am pleased to present Madeline Plant better known as, Madge as one of our 2017 Pioneer Women Inductees, for her dedication to the Millet Historical Society.
Madge was born on November 7, 1913 to Frank and Mary Barrows in Magdalen, Kings Lynn, England. She was the first of two children, her brother Jack was born a year after her. Growing up they had lived on a farm where a variety of animals were raised. When Madge’s mother passed away her family boarded the Canadian Pacific Liner “Montclair” in 1925. Frank bought a farm just east of Millet, and Madge took on the responsibility of being the cook and housekeeper for her father and brother, while also attending school at larch Tree and then later Millet School.
Madge met Reuben Plant and they were married on March 5, 1935 in Edmonton. Madge and Reuben lived in multiple homes in the Millet area and raised five children, Jack, Tom, Denny, Sally, and Jim. In her spare time, Madge enjoyed knitting, gardening, playing games of cribbage and scrabble. Madge taught many of the girls in the family to knit and all their unfinished projects were magically finished. Madge volunteered for a number of groups in the community. She began volunteering for Rebekah Lodge in the early 1950’s. She was an active member and held multiple positions over the years. She was also involved with the Rebekah Assembly of Alberta and was elected District Deputy President 9B in March of 1967. The Rebekah Lodge did a great amount of fundraising for various projects and mostly raised money through catering to many weddings and banquets. The Rebekah Lodge sponsored the Cubs and Scouts for many years. In 1956, Dorothy Trathen got the ball rolling to form a Cub Pack and a group committee was started. Dorothy was the Cub Master and needed helpers, so in 1956 Madge attended a training course and became a helper.
Madge and her husband were both members of the United Church and sang in the choir for many years. Madge held many positons on the executive of the UCW. In March 1991, Madge was presented with a certificate of appreciation by the Red Deer Presbyteries UCW for her invaluable services and co-operations.
When husband Reuben, became fire Chief for the Village of Millet in 1956 Madge became his secretary. When fire phones were installed into their home Madge was the one to answer the phone and manned the siren to signal all the firemen to the fire hall. Years later Madge was recognized for her contribution to the fire department and was presented with a silver plate.
Madge and Reuben were also members of the sponsoring group for the Millet Historical Society. Madge spent many hours in the Millet Museum volunteering with fellow Pioneer Woman Eileen Wagner. Madge and Reuben were also active members of the Millet Senior Citizens Society. They took excursions and bus trips with this group, including two trips to Victoria, BC.
Madge continued to live in her house after Reuben passed away on July 15, 1988 growing her beloved garden, playing Scrabble with anyone who would play and knitting for craft sales and great grandchildren. She passed away on Sept 26, 2005 at age of almost 92. Her family cherishes the memories they have of her. Granddaughter Christine, stated that Madge’s “leadership and dedication inspire the women in my family to follow in her footsteps. I am very proud of what she was able to accomplish and I only hope that I can leave such a legacy”.
For her devotion to the community of Millet, it is an honor to present her as one of our Pioneer Women.
Eileen (Barth) Wagner
Hello and welcome, today I am thrilled to be able to present to you my 2017 Pioneer Woman Eileen Mildred Ysobel (Barth) Wagner. Throughout the years she spent in Millet, Eileen became an integral part of the community through her many hours of volunteer work. Whenever someone needed a helping hand or someone to talk to they could depend on Eileen to be there. Despite her busy schedule she still made time to spend traveling with friends and family. It is my honor today to be able to share Eileen’s story with you.
On August 12, 1922 Eileen was born in Lestock, Saskatchewan to John and May Barth. When Eileen was two years old, her family moved to Millet where John opened Barth’s Billiards and Barber Shop. As Eileen was the oldest of five children she spent a lot of time helping her mother with household chores and caring for her younger siblings. Eileen spent much of her younger years curling, ice skating, playing sports, Scottish dancing, and singing. It was during this time that she developed a love for music which carried with her throughout her life. In a letter about Eileen, grandson Doug stated “what I remember best about Grandma was her love of music. I learned so much of the story of her life, and her music always played a big role in those stories”.
At the age of twelve Eileen met Don Wagner, whose family owned a farm just west of Millet. The two got to know each other better as they spent time together with mutual friends. Eileen and Don were married on March 25, 1941 and made their home in Millet. Here they raised three daughters: Marie, Donna, and Patricia. Don was the manager of the Millet Creamery and Eileen kept busy at home. She enjoyed socializing very much and held Tupper Ware parties, hosted Ladies Birthday Club, and was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Rebekah Lodge.In 1962, Don got transferred and the family moved east to Daysland, Alberta. Here Eileen became involved in the Hospital Auxiliary and the Lions Club. It was in this town that the family began camping and Eileen’s love for the outdoors developed.
In 1973 Don and Eileen made a move to St. Paul. When Don retired in 1983 this became their retirement area. They bought a lake lot at Bonnie Beach which they parked their trailer on and bought a van to use for traveling.When Don passed away in 1989, Eileen moved back to Millet, the town that had always held a special place in her heart. Here she became an integral part of the community through her volunteer work. Whenever someone needed a helping hand they could depend on Eileen to be there. She kept herself busy volunteering for the United Church Goodwill Store, the Millet Legion, the Millet Museum, and baking for various functions. In the museum she worked with collections, drawing artifacts on catalog sheets and doing inventory with her good friend Madge Plant. When not busy volunteering Eileen continued to travel. Some of the places she visited include Mexico, the Oregon Coast, and Los Angeles, where she visited Disneyland twice.
Always dependable, Eileen was a trusted confidant to many. She was a social butterfly, greatly enjoying the company of others and brightening each community she lived in. Eileen volunteered extensively for several community organizations in Millet, making invaluable contributions to each one. She continued to be an active part of the community until she passed away on September 7, 2012. Without dependable Pioneer Women such as Eileen, Millet would not be the same community it is today. It is an honor to present Eileen in Millet’s 2017 Pioneer Women.
Linda (McKay) Weber
Good afternoon, I am honoured to present Linda Weber, as one of our 2017 Pioneer Women Inductees, for her dedication to the Millet and District Historical Society.
Linda was born at Hines Creek, Alberta on May 26, 1940 daughter of Eben and Ruby McKay the oldest of 8 children. Raised on a farm and attended school in Hines Creek and graduated grade 12 then worked at a bank for a year.
Linda married Rudy Weber on May 9, 1959 then moved to Ft St John, B.C. and had 4 children Kenneth, Shelley, Sandra, and Randall. While raising her children she volunteered at their school. A quote from her sister Harriet “I would like to following Linda’s foots steps. Impossible to do. She has 3 surviving kids. She’s a cancer survivor. When our parents died she became the Go to person for the 7 remaining siblings. She is Volunteer Supreme” That theme continues through all of her letters of support.
As the Girl Guide Commissioner, she organized and operated a thrift shop as a fundraiser for Girl Guides. Coached junior girl’s softball. Linda volunteered for Ft. St John Minor Hockey. Moved to Leduc in 1975 and volunteered at Corinthia Park School while working at Corinthia Flowers. Her one previous co-worker even did the flower vases today. She volunteered for Minor Hockey in Leduc until 1979.
In 1979 Rudy was transferred to Nottingham, England where they spent 7 and a half years. Then hockey returned to Nottingham after an absence of 40 years, and Linda was recruited to organize and implement a Minor Hockey Program. She became secretary for Minor Hockey, then Junior hockey and finally the Senior Nottingham Panthers in the British Ice Hockey League for which her son Randall played. It was interesting reading the secretary notes “success of England’s first ever International Pee Wee ice Hockey Tournament” G. Moin said in a tribute “Sure, no one is indispensable, but Linda got damn close.” Linda and Rudy returned to Canada in January 1987 and eventually moved back to Leduc.
In 1994 Linda moved to Millet and instantly became involved in the community again as secretary of the Millet Thunder seniors’ men hockey team for 3 years with Chuck O Neill as manager. She then volunteered for the Millet Ag Society working bingo events as well as organizing the Millet Harvest Fair bench show 1997- 1999. Her sister Chris sums up “Linda is the most dependable, devoted helper you could ever want to have on your side whether you running a bingo or setting up a museum display or just trying to feed a bunch of hungry people. This is in throughout the letter again and again.
In about 2000 Linda started volunteering at bingos for the Millet and District Historical Society. She was soon on the board and became secretary in 2003, a position she holds to this day. She soon became bingo chair, rep for all MDHS bingos and casinos. Linda has organized as well as worked two bingos a month. She has also worked on cataloguing and inventory of the museum and archives collections, works on exhibit design and creation as well as all aspects of administrative support including funding proposals and kids’ programs. I have presented Linda throughout the last years with the most volunteer hours annually at the MDHS Volunteer appreciation dinner. Linda received her 10-year certificate in 2016 for volunteering with Communities in Bloom and always planting around the Museum and area as well as decorating for fall. Linda became a celebrity on the cover of the Seniors Directory.
Every summer student makes a comment in the evaluation about how Linda was a very important role model – Sharlene Ironside wrote Linda spent hours helping me move, photograph and accurately record objects 5 days a week. Now 7 years later she has even gotten me back volunteering.” I can say she even got her grand daughter Amanda to loan teddy bears for an exhibit. Linda has co-audited with me the Millet Seniors’ financial records for the past five years. She has volunteered for the Wetaskiwin Seniors games and billeted two participants. Linda helped with all aspects of the Alberta Winter games in Leduc, which included bowling. Linda has been the secretary of the Leduc 5 pin bowlers’ association for about 10 years.
It is true as sister Helen says “Linda work ethic and honest dedication have always inspired those around her”. Don’t ask Rudy what time she got home anytime this week getting ready this exhibit as I had to do the same – phone the husbands we are not done yet. For her devotion to the community of Millet, it is an honor to present her as one of our Pioneer Women
Gloria (Fox) Wilkinson
Hello and good afternoon. I am delighted to present Gloria Ann (Fox) Wilkinson into our 2017 Pioneer Women inductees! Gloria was a creative and helpful woman who used her abilities to aid her community.
Gloria Fox was born on June 2nd, 1928 in Calgary, Alberta. She was the eldest of five children born to George and Ethel Fox. Gloria’s early years were spent growing up in the town of Hanna, Alberta where she attended school, helped with her younger siblings and babysat neighborhood children. She loved to ride horseback across the prairies when visiting friend’s ranches. At age 17, Gloria’s family moved to Strathmore, Alberta where she worked as a telephone switchboard operator. When she was 18 she moved to Airdrie, Alberta and worked as a waitress in a restaurant. Gloria would often catch a ride home on her friend’s motorcycle to visit her family in Strathmore. It was on one these trips home, where she met Jack Wilkinson.The pair started dating and married in Drumheller, Alberta on August 31, 1950. After they got married, they moved to Calgary, where Jack was a welder. In 1951, they had a daughter, Susan. 1962 was when Gloria and Jack purchased their farm west of Millet.Gloria’s was always very family-orientated, and she loved spending time with them.
In her spare time, Gloria painted many beautiful paintings. She also found enjoyment in crocheting, knitting, gardening, canning and pickling, and would enter the Millet Ag Society bench shows with her wares. Gloria was an avid photo buff and always had her camera with her, loved music, and writing letters to loved ones. Throughout her life, Gloria spent a lot of time examining ancestry, and history always fascinated her. In 1986 Gloria happened to be taking in an exhibit to the museum, where Jo Moonen was on volunteer duty. Jo talked to Gloria about the Millet & District Historical Society and museum and she made it sound so interesting, it convinced Gloria to take an interest! During her time here, Gloria spent a lot of time doing research and exhibits.
From 1989-1991 Gloria was the president of the Millet & District Historical Society, and from 1990-1992 she was the co-curator of the Millet Museum. She became the curator manager for Millet Museum shortly after this and held the position for a few years. During her presidency Gloria put in approximately 32 volunteer hours each week. She worked with other volunteers at the museum to design and set up exhibits. Gloria also spent a lot of time managing the archives. Her creativity and artistic eye added a lot to the Millet Museum exhibits. Grandson Tyler remember Grandma Gloria telling of the time she rushed out the door one day to volunteer at the museum. After being at the museum for the morning, she looked at her feet and realized that in her haste leaving the house she had put a navy shoe on one foot and a black shoe on the other. She asked her colleagues why no one had brought this to her attention. Everyone thought because it was April Fools’ Day she was doing it as a prank! She would always get a good chuckle out of it when her quirky fashion sense was brought up. Gloria was a member of the Rebekah’s and enjoyed making meals with the members for the Lion’s club meetings. In 1992 she was awarded a Volunteer Culture award for all of her helpful efforts.
Gloria (Fox) Wilkinson was an independent, caring, creative woman who was ahead of her time. I am pleased to be honouring her and sharing her contributions with you all today. I believe Gloria is more than deserving of being part of our 2017 Pioneer Women inductees.
Hello, and welcome. I am pleased to present to you today my 2017 Pioneer Woman, Nora Winifred (Nowell) Ziebarth. Throughout her life, Nora was very involved in the community, spending countless hours giving of her time through volunteering with many different organizations. In spite of her busy life, she still made time for entertaining and visiting family and friends. Today, it is my honour to share Nora’s story with you.
Nora was born on April 17, 1927 to John and Agnes Nowell. The middle child of five, Nora had three sisters, and one brother. During Nora’s growing up years, the family lived on a farm between Millet and Wetaskiwin, where the children were expected to help with the work. As a child, Nora enjoyed competing against other schools at annual track meets. She also enjoyed performing in Christmas concerts, which always came with the possibility of getting a new dress. In 1946, Nora graduated from the Wetaskiwin High School.
Nora met Edwin Ziebarth at a local pie social, where he bought her lemon pie. She and Ed were married on October 1, 1947. They bought a lot in Millet which they eventually built their house on in 1960. In 1950, their eldest daughter, Diane, was born, and in 1952 they were blessed with twin boys, Douglas and Daryl. The family was greatly saddened by the passing of Daryl at the age of only two and a half months. Their youngest child, Darlene, was born in 1961.
Always busy, Nora worked as a sales clerk at various stores in Millet and Wetaskiwin, and for a year as the secretary at the Millet School. Nora also volunteered for many of her children’s activities, such as 4H, Scouts, Girl Guides, hockey, skating, and baseball. Nora was also heavily involved in the production of the Tales and Trails of Millet books, which she typed.
In spite of her busy life volunteering and working, Nora always made time for family, friends and fun. She enjoyed entertaining, baking, and cooking for visitors, always making sure others where served before she sat down herself. In the 1973 Millet Car Rally, she rode as the navigator for her good friend Eleanor Grant. The pair won first place, handily beating both of their husbands’ teams. Nora was also heavily involved in the Millet branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. During her time with the Legion she held the positions of Secretary, Membership Chair, and Service Officer. She wrote general interest items for the Tellim news, as well as being the correspondent to the National Legion Magazine. In honour of her lengthy and dedicated service, Nora was awarded a Lifetime Membership with the Royal Canadian Legion in 1999. In 2003, Nora was awarded the Millet Community Lifetime Achievement Award.
Nora was a remarkable lady. Her extensive volunteer work speaks to her dedication to the community, and her enjoyment of entertaining demonstrates the important status the she gave to family and friends. Nora remained an active member of the community until her death in March, 2011, and she will always be lovingly remembered by her family and friends. In their letter, her Granddaughters, Michelle and Tracy, remember Nora was always taking pictures, especially of family. This is a testament to the value she placed on family and preserving family memories.
Tracy and Michelle also wrote about Nora’s work campaigning for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and how special they felt when they could mark their pages with one of her heart bookmarks. It is an honour to present such a hospitable and dedicated woman as one of Millet’s 2017 Pioneer Women.