On October 18th, 1929, Alberta’s Famous Five (Emily Murphy, Irene Parlby, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, and Henrietta Edwards) succeeded in having Canadian women defined as “persons” under law. To celebrate this, and coinciding with Women’s History Month each October, women from our own community are inducted into the Wetaskiwin & District Heritage Museum’s Women of Aspenland exhibit. Now in its 19th year, and consisting of 85 ‘persons’, this project showcases the lives of local women who embody the heart of Wetaskiwin City, County, and Maskwacis. Join the Heritage Museum on Saturday, October 17 at 2:00 pm to help celebrate the induction of Lou Klone, Dorothy French, and Florence Buffalo.
Lillian “Lou” Klone:
This fantastic woman is more commonly known as Lou and she carries the title of friend, mother, artist and volunteer with pride. Not one to shun hard work, Lou has spent the majority of her life helping to build the community of Wetaskiwin through her volunteer work.
Lou was born 12 miles west of Wetaskiwin on March 21, 1923, the second child of Theodore and Maria Fietz. The Fietz family was born and raised in the Wetaskiwin district and her childhood was spent working hard on her family’s farm. Her day typically consisted of waking up early to help with chores before eating and heading off to school.
She attended the Big Stone School from grades one to eight, until she decided to put her education on hold to look after her younger sister Ruby when her mother took ill. Even at a young age, she was very family oriented as she watched over Ruby for three months while her father did the harvesting as her mother recovered.
At the age of 17, Lou Fietz met her husband-to-be Ben Klone at a church social. They dated for two years prior to tying the knot in 1940. Ben and Lou were married in the rebuilt Emmaus church and were said to be a well matched couple with similar backgrounds and even temperaments.
The Klones had two children, Doreen and Don. Doreen was born in 1941 with her brother following five years later in 1946. Lou’s children were raised on the farm and were never idle. Don and Doreen stress that their mother raised them never to say negative things about other people, as well as teaching them the importance of family. As a family, they would often go camping at Pigeon Lake and Zeiner’s, and were known for travelling in comfort. The Klone family knew it was important to balance hard work and fun.
Lou’s community involvement began once her family moved to Wetaskiwin in 1952. She had switched from the Emmaus Lutheran Church to the Zion Lutheran Church. Her work for the Zion Lutheran involved becoming a part of the Ladies Aid Guild, Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, teaching Sunday school for three years, and joining Zion’s choir for ten. Lou was also involved in the planning of funeral luncheons, creating arrangements for sales, and running fundraisers. Let us not forget her work for the Seniors Centre, Twilighters, and Communities in Bloom, as well as various community events where she let her artistic flair flourish.
A kind woman to the core, Lou has a penchant for celebrating others and helping where she can. At this year’s Pioneer of the Year Celebrations, Lou brought a gift for her friend Dorothy Brekke, who was being honoured that night. Her kindness does not stop there as Lou has repeatedly offered to help the museum by donating items for exhibits. Thank you Lou.
As busy as she is, Lou Klone continues to extend her hand to anyone who needs it. Not one to let age slow her down, Lou’s dedication to her community is commendable. Lou’s compassion, selflessness, and flair for style render her an unforgettable and warm-hearted woman. If not for her, Wetaskiwin would not be the colourful place it is today.