Donald L. Mullen
Donald Lee Mullen was born Sept. 14, 1933 in Olds, Alta. to Lee and Mable Mullen.
He has two sisters, Shirley and Bev. Donald was the oldest of the three. As a child he grew up in the Olds area on a farm. The family moved to Turner Valley, Alta. where his dad worked on the rigs. As a young man, dad, worked as a truck driver, crusher operator and a heavy equipment operator. He was a hard-working man, father and grandfather and great grandfather.
A man of not so many words but in a way was always easily understood.
Dad and mom moved to the High Prairie area in 1972 where they bought a farm and homestead. Mom worked the farm and dad worked off the farm as a heavy equipment operator.
Dad will be greatly missed by his whole family. We’ll always remember him in different ways; how he touched our hearts and our lives. We’ll miss you, dad!
Donald is survived by his children: Leland – Willy, Brian – Flo, Charlene, Wayne – Rolande, James – Bonnie; his 13 grandchildren and two great grandchildren; and many other relatives.
Thank-you to everyone who helped out in our time of need and loss of our dad.
One of the men instrumental in bringing the sport of rodeo to High Prairie died April 23.
Raleigh Perry chaired the High Prairie Elks from 1944-46 when the first rodeos were held. He was 97 years old.
Perry was born May 21, 1912, near Olds, Alta. at Harmattan and died at the Chinook Hospice in Calgary, only one month short of his 98th birthday.
Raleigh moved to High Prairie in 1919 where he lived and farmed for 37 years. He then moved to Edmonton in 1956 to go into business. He retired to the United States in 1973 and after the passing of his second wife Helen in 1987, he returned to Alberta. He subsequently lived in California and British Columbia before settling in Cochrane, Alta.
Perry was a member of the Alberta Cowboy Poetry Association and performed at the Calgary Stampede and gatherings in Western Canada well into his nineties. He was the oldest performing cowboy poet in North America until his death.
However, he will be best be remembered in High Prairie for bring rodeo to town. Perry chaired the Elks when they began the creation of what is known today as the High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo. He was the man responsible for signing the documents to purchase the property for today’s rodeo grounds. Two years later the first High Prairie outdoor show was held.
In 2006, Perry returned to High Prairie to watch the rodeo.
“Back then it was called the High Prairie Stampede, and it brought in a several hundred people, ” says Perry in a 2006 interview. “It is impressive to see how much it has changed. Back then we didn’t have the metal bleachers, it was just a fence around the arena and you picnicked for the day.”
His love for rodeo was unparalleled.
“I used to compete in the bareback and the wild cow milking, ” he says. “Of course, before we started a rodeo here we had to go to the neighbouring communities to take part in theirs.”
Perry used his lack of skill in horseback riding and turned it into a talent.
“I could never ride in a saddle worth a damn, that is why I would compete in the bareback, ” says Perry. “When I was growing up I was the middle of 13 children, and the older kids had first dibs on the two saddles we owned, so I never got to use one.”
Perry grew up on farm four miles from High Prairie, and eventually married his first of three wives, Ardith Greer, who he was married to for nine years. They had four children. After losing Ardith to tuberculosis, Perry raised the boys on his own for three years.
His life of bachelorhood came to a screeching halt when a two-week whirlwind relationship with his second wife, Helen, a dancer from the U.S., changed his life. He married again.
“At this point she had never seen the house she was going to move into, or even met my boys, ” says Perry.
Helen was Perry’s inspiration for his first poem he ever wrote, which was an accomplishment for the poetry lover, who at 90 joined the Cowboy Poets Association.
“Since I was 12 years old I have loved cowboy poetry,” says Perry. “Whenever I came across a poem I liked and I would memorize it. At 50 I started composing my own poems.”
In addition to his poetry composition, Perry also wrote an autobiography called ‘My Life and Poems’ about his life which was finished just after he turned 90. He has sold 175 books and has bound 288.
“I have lived an interesting life, that is why I wanted to write my story, ” says Perry. “I have done a lot of different work and have lived in a lot of places.”
Perry is survived by: four sons, Ronald (Iris), Chester (Carol), George (Irene) and Patrick (Maureen); seven grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren; and one sister, Doris Bliss of High Prairie.
He was predeceased by 11 of his 12 siblings and three wives, Ardith (Greer), Helen (Tierney) and Ola (Gillebrand).
Perry will be laid to rest in High Prairie May 1, 2010 at 2 p.m. at the High Prairie United Church.
If friends so desire, a memorial tribute in Raleigh’s name may be made to Chinook Hospice, 1261–Glenmore Trail SW, Calgary, Alta., T2V 4Y8.
Mark Dwayne (Lorencz) Ragan
It is with broken hearts we announce the suddenly passing of our son and stepson Mark, at the age of 44 years Dec. 26, 2010, at the Toronto General Hospital.
Mark was born in High Prairie and graduated from E.W. Pratt High School in 1984 with an Advanced Diploma of Excellence. Mark attended the University of Alberta, McGill University and the University of B.C. where he acquired his teaching degree.
Mark was employed at the Vancouver Film School teaching and writing which was his passion. He then moved to Toronto and worked for the Home & Garden TV Network as a story editor. At the time of his death he was employed by the Ontario Minister of Health, as director of operations.
Mark is survived by: his mother Adelaide (Allie) Murdoch and stepfather Ken Murdoch, of High Prairie; and his biological father Ken Ragan, of High Prairie; brother Dez and Nikki Lorencz and special nephew Danyon Lorencz, of Innisfail; grandfather and grandmother Peter and Pauline Kushner, of High Prairie; Aunt Victoria and Harvey McKeachnie, of Fairview; and Bert, Darren and Mark McKeachnie and their families, of Grande Prairie; Uncle Bryant and Millie Kushner and Jennifer, of High Prairie; Uncle Brent Kushner, of Edmonton; and many Ragan relatives.
Mark was predeceased by his grandparents, Clara and George Ragan, and Uncle Bernie Kushner.
Mark will also be missed by his special friends Rodney Kort of Toronto, Kathleen Kort-O’Day of Vancouver, Sandra Marquardt of High Prairie and all his other friends and colleagues in Toronto.
Mark had a passion for the film industry, writing, movies, reading and traveling which he did and loved.
As per Mark’s request a celebration of Mark’s life will be held later at a private family ceremony.
Our many thanks to all who phoned, brought fruit baskets, sent flowers, e-mails and cards. Your sympathies and caring thoughts are much appreciated.
Christine Elizabeth Reynolds passed away at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women in Edmonton on May 29 at the age of 77 years.
She was born July 22, 1932 and was a long-time resident of the High Prairie area.
Christine will be missed by her loving family: Karen (Lorne) Peyre of High Prairie, Diana (Wayne) Davey of Rainbow Lake, Alta., Patricia Reynolds of Calgary, Jim Reynolds of High Prairie, Lorna Reynolds of High Prairie, Lorraine (Bruce) Brownlee of Chilliwack, B.C., and Coralee (Darcy) Troute of Red Deer, Alta.; and her six grandchildren Anthony, Jasmine, Dakota, David, Stephanie and Samuel.
She was predeceased by her husband, Sam Reynolds.
A memorial service was held Tuesday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m. at Appel Funeral Homes - Central Memorial Chapel in Edmonton with Rev. Vic Perron officiating.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta, 10985–124 Street, Edmonton, Alta., T5M 0H9.
Arthur (Pete) Smyth
Arthur F. (Pete) Smyth, resident of Grande Prairie, passed away peacefully at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital March 11, 2010 at the age of 89 years.
Pete was born Nov. 18, 1920 in Creelman, Sask., and moved to High Prairie at the age of 12. Pete served in the Second World War. After the war, Pete returned to High Prairie and married Ruth March 17, 1948. Pete farmed successfully until 1974 when he retired to Grande Prairie.
Pete will be sadly missed by his beloved wife, Ruth; four children, Shirley (Bob) Dumont, Charles (Lorraine) Smyth, Darlene (Richard) Dahl, Janette (Rick) Ferguson; seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
The funeral was held at Oliver’s Grande Prairie Funeral Chapel on March 16. Interment followed in the Grande Prairie Cemetery.
Catherine Starko passed away Oct. 9, 2010, in High Prairie, at the age of 79 years.
Catherine was born April 10, 1931, and lived in Toronto for a short time in her younger years before moving to Edmonton in the early 1960s. She resided there until 2008. At that time, Catherine lived at the J.B. Wood Nursing Home in High Prairie until her passing.
Catherine was never married or had any children of her own but she was a caring daughter, sister, aunt and friend to all who knew her. She will be sadly missed.
Catherine is survived by: her brother Mike (Nancy) Starko; her sister-in-law Jean Starko; nephew David (Judy) Starko; nephew Peter (Joanne) Starko; niece Rose (Donald) Cox; cousins, great nieces and great nephews.
She was predeceased by: her parents, Peter and Anna Starko; brother Steve Starko; and nephew Steve Starko Jr.
The funeral for Catherine Starko was held Oct. 14, 2010, at Christ the King Catholic Church in High Prairie at 11 a.m. with Father Roman Planchak officiating. The cross bearer was Peter Starko and pallbearers were Devon Cox, Conan Ochran, Michael Ochran, Ben Starko, Joe Starko and Steven Starko.
Interment followed at St. Vladimir’s Cemetery in High Prairie.
Dorothy Isabelle Turner
One of Dorothy Turner's most memorable moments was when she received a key to the Town of High Prairie in August 1998 from Mayor Diana Oliver.
Dorothy Isabelle Turner passed away on Feb. 24, 2010, at J.B. Wood Nursing Home in High Prairie at the age of 90 years.
Dorothy always said she felt content and at home in High Prairie. Well she should, having been a resident in High Prairie since she was three months old.
She was born Dorothy MacIntyre, eldest child of Dr. Edward and Grace MacIntyre, in Winnipeg Aug. 2, 1919. Her father, Dr. MacIntyre, was in charge of the Tuxedo Military Hospital when Dorothy was born. Since the war had ended, the services of Dr. MacIntyre were no longer required at the hospital. He moved his family to High Prairie where he began his own medical practice. The family’s first home was located just west of town on what is now the Turions farm. The remained there until a drug store – clinic – surgery and home complex was built by Dr. MacIntyre in 1922. The entire complex was situated on what is now Hebert’s Motor Sports. Dorothy began working in the drug store as soon as she could see over the counter.
Dorothy remained in High Prairie until she received her high school diploma from Prairie River Consolidated. She then enrolled at Alberta College to take secretarial training. After her secretarial training, Dorothy worked in the main branch of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Edmonton before returning to High Prairie.
Upon returning to High Prairie, she began working at Duggan Drug Store and then she became employed at the Treasury Branch Agency. But the most memorable experiences she had on returning to High Prairie was that she met a watchmaker called Jack Turner. At least she thought that she had just met him. As it turned out, Jack had first met Dorothy when she was just three years of age and Jack was 16. It was at the High Prairie Agricultural Fair in 1922. Dorothy also worked for a short time at Royal Fruit in Peace River.
In 1952 Dorothy married Jack Turner and became a stepmother to Hugh and Marjorie Turner. Later, Dorothy and Jack had a son, John.
Life wither husband Jack brought many enjoyable experiences but one particular experience Dorothy recalled was Jack’s purchase of a Corvette. He purchased the car the first year the sports car was introduced in Canada. That year there were only nine cars ordered in the entire country and one was delivered to High Prairie at the train station.
In her spare time, Dorothy enjoyed reading, embroidery and playing polkas in waltz time on her piano. She claimed to play the piano for her amusement and others’ abusement.
Dorothy always wanted to play cribbage. She once got a perfect hand of 29, although it proved to be the most frustrating of her pastimes. Her opponent counted first, pegged out and left her unable to peg the 29.
Dorothy was a volunteer for and a member of numerous community groups during her life. She was with the CGIT, taught Sunday School, was a member of the Royal Purple, secretary for a singles club, member of the UCW, the Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary and the Golden Age Club, a United Church board member, etc. Dorothy was an Eastern Star member for over 65 years.
Jack died in 1963 and left Dorothy to operate Jack’s Jewellery. Dorothy truly enjoyed meeting the public and serving her customers until 2004 when she got sick and subsequently had a stroke. While operating the store she was privileged to have some wonderful staff. She especially relished the school girls who worker for her.
Dorothy was proud to receive a key to the Town of High Prairie. She was honoured by the museum with a tea social. Dorothy was humbled when she was named an Outstanding Citizen of High Prairie.
Dorothy is survived by: her son, John Turner; sister Margaret (Harry) Harley of Wetaskiwin, AB; brother Neil (Belle) MacIntyre of Bow Island, AB; niece Deborah (nee Forshner) Dixon of Sunset House, AB; nephew Lyndon (Pam) Harley of Valmont, B.C.; many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews; Marjorie (John) Buck of Sherwood Park, AB; and grandchildren Garfield (Judy) Buck of Peers, AB, Cindy (Jack) Cormack of Red Deer, and Diane (Gordon) Reinich of Sherwood Park; as well as many great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.
She was predeceased by: her parents, Dr. Edward and Grace MacIntyre; sisters Jean and Betty MacIntyre and Sarah (MacIntyre) Forshner; husband Leonard John Turner; stepson Hugh Turner; and nephews Ian and Donald Harley.
As per Dorothy’s request, only a simple cremation was performed.
Alex Visser was born April 6, 1939 and passed away suddenly May 2, 2010 in High Prairie at the age of 71 years.
He will be dearly missed by: his son, Rodney of Winfield, B.C.; his daughter, Dana “Mugs” (Kevin) Armstrong of Airdrie, Alta.; grandchildren Tristan and AJ; sister Diane (George) Nemeth of Lethbridge, Alta.; brother Aaron Visser of Winnipeg; as well as many other extended family.
Alex worked as a pressman for South Peace News while farming southwest of High Prairie in the Sunset House district. He also drove a cab recently for Bold Eagles Cabs. Over the years, Alex also extended his heart to youth in the region by being a foster parent. It was indicative of his caring nature.
Everyone will have fond memories of Alex. A celebration of his life occurred at the Chapel of Mountain View Funeral Home in Calgary May 6.
Dorothy T. Willier
Dorothy T. Willier, known to us as Wadi, was born in Driftpile on Nov. 1, 1932, to Francis (Wabby) and Christian Willier and was one of eight children.
Wadi battled the effects of diabetes for years. She lived in pain but rarely showed it. For all of us who knew her, we knew how she was. Wadi was Wadi. She had her own unique personality. She was strong-willed, stubborn, yet she had a very big heart for those she cared about. If she didn’t like someone, that person knew it. She was never afraid to voice her opinion whether it was good or bad. Wadi was all about the truth and she was the first to admit she was no angel or saint.
Wadi was a gambler, a smoker and she even drank once in awhile.
She raised her children with the help of bingo and welfare and she was very proud to have raised her children. She lived alone for many years.
She always helped who she could with what she had. Many times she would make her famous bannock whether it was for funerals, weddings, parties, picnics or just someone stopping to visit her.
Wadi loved to laugh and have fun. She always had a story to tell and many of them were about the good old days.
She was a fighter and no one could tell her who or what to believe. When she made up her mind, that’s the way it was. She never walked to a fight – she ran. She was a force to be reckoned with but her bark was always bigger than her bite.
Wadi had many family and friends who loved her and she will be dearly missed by all.
Wadi had a lot of faith and she believed in God wholeheartedly. Wadi is gone but will not be forgotten.
She leaves to mourn: her children Charles, Charlotte, Lawrence (Chine), Florence (Dets), Coleen (Teen), Darrald (Popio), Albert Ben (Cheech), Bev, Cynthia; her granddaughter Barbie she had raised; other grandchildren and great grandchildren; brothers Noel and Wilfred; her sister Rita McDermott; numerous friends and her traveling partner and friend Marcel Giroux.
She was predeceased by: her parents, Francis and Christian; her sons Victor Prinz and Bernard Willier; her daughter, Barbara Willier; brothers Archie, Louison, Francis, Raymond (Baldy) Cunningham, and Clarence (Bigman) Prince; and her sister, Mary Willier Giroux.
It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Earl William Killie Jan. 15, 2011, at the age of 87 years at the High Prairie Health Complex.
A long-time resident of Joussard, he will be sadly missed by: his stepson Richard (Ricky) Willier, of Grouard; sister Sadie (Keith) of British Columbia; sister Eileen (Bill) of Edmonton; and brother Melvin (Sharon) or Edmonton.
Earl was a veteran of the Second World War and sent to Europe and was involved in the action. Upon his return he met Jean Belcourt. They farmed in the Little Smoky area in the summer and lived in Joussard in the winter.
Earl was a hard-working, kind, gentle soul who would never refuse anyone help.
He will be greatly missed by his niece, Sylvia Hurley, of Joussard.
The family thanks the doctors and staff for their wonderful care in the last few week’s of Earl’s life.
Cremation has occurred. There was no service.