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Dorothy Trathen

Dorothy Trathen
Dorothy Elizabeth Blize was born on July 24, 1915 on a farm eight miles northeast of Millet. A student of the Coal Lake School until her grade 8 year, Dorothy was taught in a one-room school.
Dorothy and her friends would play softball in pastures, using cow pies as bases. Her already married sister, Ethel, had a husband, Ted Anderson, who helped make toboggans for the children.
Unable to find money for school or books, Dorothy completed grade ten and began work. Her first job was as a housekeeper for Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Main; her second was for the Ted Mullen family, which Dorothy quit. After working for two families, Dorothy replaced Irene Trathen as a housekeeper for a family in Edmonton. Dorothy made friends with the Trathens, and Irene’s sister Muriel invited Dorothy to a dance in the Trathen’s hometown of Bilby. There, Dorothy met Irene and Muriel's brother Ralph Trathen, and soon the couple was engaged. Married by Justice of the Peace Mackie on January 8, 1937, with Dorothy’s brother Lua and Ralph’s sister Irene as supporters, the couple celebrated their union at the Bilby Community Hall.
For one year, the couple lived with Ralph’s sisters on the Trathen family farm. After Ralph’s widowed mother remarried, the family relocated to the Millet area, where Ralph took jobs from numerous farmers. The couple had their first child, Donald, in 1939, and then moved to Norbuck, where Ralph worked at a sawmill.
In 1941 the family returned to Millet and welcomed their second son, Earl. When news of World War II broke, Ralph enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. The family moved to Edmonton for six months, during which time Ralph attended Youth Training School for air frame mechanics. Upon completing his training Ralph was posted to St.Thomas, Ontario and Dorothy returned to Millet with their two sons. Dorothy hired Laurenetta Wagner to assist her mother in caring for the children and went to St. Thomas for a month. This allowed Dorothy and Ralph time for a trip to Niagara Falls. At the end of Dorothy’s trip, the couple returned to Alberta on the troop train as Ralph had been transferred to Claresholm, Alberta. The family moved to Millet for the final time; Dorothy gave birth to Bill in 1945, Betty-Ann in 1947, and Leslie in 1950. After moving to a smaller home owned by the Women’s Institute, they then moved to their final home, two doors down from the United Church. After Ralph was discharged from the R.C.A.F., he found work in the oilfields. In 1968, he became the Public Works Foreman of Millet, a job that he held for fourteen years.
Around this time, Dorothy became heavily involved with her community work. She became the chairman of the Board of Trade, now the Chamber of Commerce, and worked in Panner’s grocery store for several years. Dorothy was responsible for the development of a Boy Scouts Cub Pack, and continued to be Cubmaster for ten years. With the help of Doris Frazer and Bessie Rupert, Dorothy took fifteen boys to the Calgary Zoo by train. Dorothy also served as District Deputy President of the Rebekah Lodge b112 three times. During her terms as District Deputy President Dorothy aided in instituting the Camrose Lodge. For many years Dorothy served as editor of the Millet Tellim Newspaper. The paper was free to two rural routes as well as the town itself, and Dorothy was producing 300 copies of the paper, sometimes up to five pages. In addition to her numerous roles within the community, she also modelled for Butterfly Boutique, her favourite store, at several events.
Dorothy was nominated for the “Celebration 88” event by members of the Museum group, and Premier Lougheed awarded her with an award in the Service category for her community work in 1984. Dorothy also received the Millet Distinguished Senior Citizen award that same year. After Dorothy’s second copying machine at the Millet Tellim broke down, she resigned and turned over her profits to the Millet Lion’s Club, the Millet Legion and other organizations that had provided financial assistance to the paper. Ralph became ill in 1975, and Dorothy retired from community work. The couple had always enjoyed camping trips and adventure, and they decided to take a bus tour to Alaska. After several years of poor health, Ralph passed on January 13, 1988.
Dorothy continued to be in charge of entertainment for the Millet Senior Citizens Club, through which she met Ernie Wotherspoon, his daughter, Pat, and her husband, Harry. These three played in their own country and western band and provided entertainment for the club. Pat told Dorothy that, had her dad known Dorothy’s name, he would have asked her to dance. The two went on to attend many dances together and soon became engaged. In May 22, 1989 the couple got married in the Millet United Church. Dorothy sold all but her personal belongings and moved into Ernie’s trailer with him. After six happy years together, Ernie was diagnosed with lung cancer due to smoking and working in grain elevators. Upon receiving a large inheritance from his brother, Ernie took Dorothy on a trip to Australia. Following their return, Ernie’s health deteriorated and he passed on December 22, 1994. Dorothy continued to live in their trailer until 1998, when, after rolling her vehicle, she attained serious injuries.
Recuperating better than expected, Dorothy made the decision to move into a retirement lodge, first in Winfield and then in Wetaskiwin. Dorothy continued to be involved, serving on the lodge recreation board and organizing bus trips and events. She still found pleasure in dressing up for special occasions. Dorothy passed away November 19th, 2014 at the age of 99.