Myrtle Louise Ashton was born in Edberg, Alberta on April 23, 1911 to parents Florence Lena (Miller) and Wade Angus Ashton. She had four brothers, John, George, Raymond, and Lloyd, and one sister, Pearl. Raymond passed away as an infant at three days old. The family grew up on a homestead once owned by Myrtle's paternal grandfather, Alexander Cameron Ashton, and his two sons, who moved to Alberta from South Dakota in 1899. The homestead was located on Dried Meat Lake, a few miles north of where Myrtle and her siblings were born.
The Ashton children attended Dried Meat Lake school, which their grandfather had helped build. Growing up, Myrtle lived the life typical of a child on a farm; she was always working and always busy. These aspects of farm life from her childhood translated into her adult life and helped her to become the hardworking woman that she was.
Myrtle married Oswald Kroening on February 20, 1933 at a church in the Pleasant Prairie district west of Wetaskiwin. It is unknown how exactly Myrtle and Oswald first met each other, but it is likely that they met at one of Pinyons Hall’s famous Friday night dances.
Myrtle and Oswald had eight children together, six sons and two daughters. Their sons were Harold, Myrin, Bernard, Ronald, Dennis, and Stanley, and their two daughters, Georgene and Laverne. The twins, Stanley and Georgene, were the only two of their children to be born in Millet, followed by Laverne who was born in Wetaskiwin. The Kroenings lived on a farm west of Menaik between 1933 and 1943. In 1943, the family left the farm and moved to Ponoka, where Oswald worked as a mechanic. In 1946, Oswald’s work took the family to their new home of Millet. They lived in various houses before finally settling down into a newly built house on 53rd Avenue. This house was on the centre lot of three owned by the family. The other two lots were used for Myrtle’s gardens: one for potatoes and the other for garden vegetables. These gardens, combined with Oswald’s fishing and hunting skills, kept the freezer stocked and the family fed.
Family was extremely important to Myrtle and she designated Sundays as days for visiting family. Myrtle, Oswald, and the children would go to the Camrose area to visit someone from her family or to the Ponoka area to visit someone from Oswald’s family. She was always writing letters to her aunt and her brothers- and sisters-in-law who lived further away. Her children remember family members coming over to talk to her whenever they were having any sort of issue. When someone had something going on, Myrtle was the one to talk to.
Myrtle was a very organized person and kept track of everything in scribblers and ledgers she kept with her. She made sure to keep track of everything financial in a ledger, including any bills, special events, and her Avon orders. Another book she carried had all the information about her family and friends. This book included any upcoming birthdays, weddings, funerals, and other events. As the family-oriented woman that she was, a book such as this was very important to her.
Myrtle volunteered with the Golden Glow Women’s Institute Girls Club, and took over the leadership of the Millet Mermaids 4-H clothing club in 1955. She was also involved in the Odd Fellows and Rebekah Lodges, becoming a representative of the Sunbeam Rebekah Lodge in February of 1976. This was an organization that stood to promote goodwill and harmony, and to make the world a better place.
Myrtle and Oswald were a very active couple. They spent a lot of their free time either square dancing or at the curling rink which once stood where the museum is now. When Myrtle had free time to spend with her family, they were often found playing Yahtzee.
As for her work, Myrtle had various jobs in Millet and Wetaskiwin. After a short time at an egg grading station in Millet, she worked at Pearce’s Dry Cleaning in Wetaskiwin. After leaving the dry cleaners in 1958, she worked as a cook in a senior’s home in Wetaskiwin in the early 1960s. She became an Avon Lady in 1971 and sold Avon products from her home for 5 years, until she passed away on February 25, 1976.
Myrtle was a hard-working woman who was always doing something and keeping busy, much like how she would have been as a child on the farm.