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Alice Wagner

Alice Wagner

Alice Ann Rogers was born on August 19, 1927 in Wetaskiwin, Alberta to Florence Katheryn (Rhodes) Rogers and William John Rogers. She was raised on the Rogers family farm, 6 miles northeast of Millet, with her siblings William, Faith, and James. Alice was homeschooled by her mother for the first 3 years of her education, and then spent 6 years at Coal Lake School. She completed high school at the Millet and Leduc schools.

After her graduation in 1943, Alice accepted a job with the County of Wetaskiwin as a supervising teacher at Big Hay Lake School. At this time, Alice began to date William C. Wagner, who delivered mail to the Rogers farm on the RR1 mail route. When Bill proposed, Alice only accepted on the condition that he would provide a house for them to live in. After that request was fulfilled, Alice and Bill were married on November 19, 1946. In the typical Alberta fashion, the weather was beautiful until the second week of November. On their wedding day, it was so cold that by the time the wedding dance was over, it was -33 degrees Celsius. Alice and Bill had three children: Raymond Douglas, David Neil, and Kevin John.

From 1953 to 1971, Alice worked as a post courier on both Millet rural routes alongside her husband. She drove 80 miles, 6 days a week, in a 4-wheel-drive Jeep to deliver mail. She was known for often doing other favours outside of her job description, like delivering groceries, picking up cans of cream for farmers, and delivering to the Millet NADP. On one occasion, she was with her sons and lost control on a muddy road. She rolled the jeep and it landed upside down in a ditch. Alice’s sons recalled her having the presence of mind to toss an expensive orchid corsage out the window. It survived and was delivered to the wedding as planned. Her sons were less lucky, as they were buried - but not injured - in mail and a foot of water.

During the construction of the new Highway 2 in 1962, Alice created a ‘Meals on Wheels’ truck which she used to sell sandwiches, chips, lemonade, soda, and plenty of baked goods to the men working on the job site twice a day. At this time, Alice and Bill also welcomed 7 to 8 live-in boarders into their home. Some of those men became part of the family in a sense. Alice’s son Raymond recalled the Beaver Lumber manager Al Kreklau living with the Wagners for a few years and becoming a big brother figure to him and his brothers. There were also a number of truckers who lived in their trailers but ate breakfast and dinner at the Wagner house. On a regular day, there were around 10-12 men at the dinner table. In order to feed that many people, Alice plotted a very large garden on her brother Jim’s farm and grew sacks of potatoes, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, peas, beans, and corn.

In 1971, Alice and Bill opened Wagner Ceramics. Ceramics first started out as a hobby for Alice after taking classes over the winter and soon grew into a passion project. She attended the Banff School of Fine Art and furthered her knowledge of ceramics, glazes, art application, and finishing and firing techniques. Bill and Alice first set up a room in the basement for ceramics when it was clear that the kitchen table would not suffice. She then obtained a teaching certificate so she could teach classes and share her love for the art with friends, family, and community members. The shop grew larger and took up the entire basement. Later, an addition was added to make room for additional classes and shelving for glaze inventory and raw product. While Alice continued to hone her skills and teach classes, Bill took an interest in making unique molds, slip, and pouring raw inventory. They both worked tirelessly to grow their business and bring art to Millet.

Alice was also very involved in the community and belonged to many organizations in Millet. She was actively involved in the many community suppers organized to raise money in order to build the new community hall. Alice was also a founding member of the Millet and District Recreational and Agricultural Society in 1985. In this role, she helped fundraise to build the Agriplex and curling rink. In her free time, Alice loved to garden and use her artistic talent to make and decorate cakes for numerous occasions, including her children’s weddings. Alice also went camping with her family every year. Her niece Marie recalls going camping with the Wagners in Alberta at Pigeon Lake and Mulhurst, and to the Columbia Ice fields in British Columbia. She continued to be active in her pursuits until her passing on February 9, 1987.