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Jo Moonen

Josephine Moonen
Marguerite Josephine Scott, known as Jo, was born on July 7, 1923 in the Scottsdale Post Office. Jo was born to Charlotte and Harry Scott, who lived in the Scottsdale area. She had three brothers, Jerry, Bill and Orville, and one sister Marie. They were born and raised in the Millet area, and grew up on the west side of Millet. Jo attended Millet School and finished her education up to grade 11. Growing up, she was always involved in sports, and loved playing ball with her friends and brothers.
Jo met and fell in love with a gentleman named John Moonen. John was on leave from Camp Bordon in Hamilton when they were engaged. He bought a piece of land at the west end of Millet, with a two-room house for his soon-to-be wife. John and Jo were married on March 10, 1943. Not long after they were married, John had to return to Camp Bordon. Jo followed him there and worked in a restaurant to help pay the bills. They lived out east for 2 years, going back and forth on John’s leaves. When Jo became pregnant with their first child, Beverly, she moved back to Millet and the two-room house until John came home. There was not enough room for the three of them, and so John had to make the house bigger. While making their home bigger, they also increased the size of their family. The Moonens had 4 more children: Morley, Margo, Jack, and Becky.
During Jo’s life she has played many different roles. After she left school to be home with her mother, she became a cook in the Arlington Hotel. Though she was unsure of herself when she first started, she learned the trade and excelled. One of her next jobs was working at the XL Grocery Store in Millet. During the 1950s she worked at the Millet Cash Store, which sold clothes, groceries, and trinkets. The owner of the Cash Store, Harry Tussman, was close to retirement and Jo and John made the decision to purchase the store from him when he put it up for sale. They had the store for 5 years, after which they decided to sell it to a man from Edmonton.
John had always wanted to farm, though Jo was less eager. Instead of farm work, she enjoyed cooking for everyone and taking the food out to the field for the working men. After running a farm on the west end of Millet for 15 years, they sold their land to an investor. They were somewhat happy to sell the land, as it had proved difficult to grow anything there. Their land was later developed into the Moonen Heights subdivision. After selling their land, Jo and John decided to take a trip with 2 other couples headed to explore Australia, New Zealand, and the Fiji Islands. Jo considered the trip a highlight of her life and said that the Fiji Islands were her favourite part. After they returned to Canada, they sold their house and the remaining land. They bought land 2 miles west and 1 mile south of Millet, where they built their dream home. Jo and John lived in this acreage until John was faced with health issues. They moved into Millet, where they spent the next 6 years. John passed away in 2004.
While raising her children, Jo became involved in various community groups. She helped Erna Brown with the Girls' Club as an assistant when Margo was 7, and was also on the phoning group for the Millet School Reunion. It wasn’t until she retired, however, that she really got involved in the community. Jo, Jeane Thompson, and many other ladies from Millet came together to create the Tales and Trails of Millet books . Jo loved going out to the farms in the area, sitting down with the people and learning their stories. After this she was part of the creation of the Millet and District Historical Society, and is a Charter Member. After Jo and John moved to town, she became even more involved in the Museum and has volunteered with the Millet and District Museum and Archives since 1985. Since Jo lived only a block away from the museum, she would always come over to find something to do if she was bored at home. While volunteering at the Museum, Jo came up with the idea to create a commemorative wall celebrating those from the Millet area that served in WWI, WWII, the Boer War, the Vietnam War, the Korean Conflict, and the Canadian Peace Time Forces. Jo took it upon herself to gather pictures of the veteran along with their life stories. She knew many people who served in these wars, and wanted to help remember them the best she could. Jo also thought it was fun getting to know the people in the area and found their stories fascinating. Her project graces the museum today: the Jo Moonen Military Commemorative Wall.
Jo has received many awards for her work, including a Lifetime Commitment award from the Millet and District Historical Society in 2002, a Lifetime Commitment to the Community Award from the Millet Chamber of Commerce, and an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Millet and District Historical Society award in 2005.
Jo is an avid sports fan, and has played many sports over her lifetime. While growing up, she played the position of short stop on the Millet Yellow Jackets Softball Team. Jo also enjoyed bowling, curling and pool playing. In her retirement, she loves going out to her daughters' cabin on Maurice Lake in Saskatchewan, especially for fishing. Jo currently resides at the Sunrise Village in Wetaskiwin. She spends her time playing Card Bingo and Horse Races with the other residents and she has made many new friends there. She is still interested in sports, and is known to enjoy a good hockey game on the television.