Torie (Bell) Gerring
Victoria “Torie” Louise Bell was born to Bruce and Zelma Bell on May 8, 1922 in Leduc, Alberta. She grew up on the family farm just north of Conjuring Lake. She had one brother, Tom, and four sisters: Salina, Eva, Geordie, and Olga. They were a very close family. They attended church services as often as possible, and Sundays were always busy; the Bells' home was the usual drop-in center for other church attendees.
Torie attended Conjuring Lake and Humble schools, finishing her Grade 12 in Calmar, Alberta. She later went to Edmonton to attend Normal School and obtain her Teaching Certificate. Torie’s first teaching position was at Marlboro School and Pine Grove School, north of Edson, in 1945. Her next school was in Carnwood at the Liberton School. This is where she met Lawrence Gering, who became her husband on July 30, 1947. In June 1948, their daughter Diana was born. They then moved to the Westrose area, where they purchased a farm and Torie taught at the Fletcher School. In 1952, they moved to Millet and Torie taught at a little school in Leduc. In 1953 their son Lorne was born. Torie later taught at Michigan Center until she received a position at Millet School in 1956, where she taught until retiring in 1973. She was beloved by her students. At Christmas her students loved to give her gifts, including jewellery and brooches which she loved to wear.
Torie enjoyed working with the Cub Scout Group Committee, Millet Home and School, Ladies Curling Club, church choir, Recreation Board, and the Junior Choir. She was an instigator of the PlayNites for fundraising for the new Curling Rink. She also hosted many bridal showers, as so many of the community girls were her former students. Torie enjoyed bowling with her friends Ed and Joyce Moonen and Don and Shirley Wark for many years.
Keeping busy with many crafts, Torie never had idle hands. Knitting, crocheting, and embroidery were among her favorites. Christmas was her favorite time of year. She loved making Christmas gifts, attending school and church concerts, corresponding with all her old-time friends and relatives, and spending time with family. She decorated the Millet Legion for many years, as this was where the annual Bell Christmas party often took place. Torie and Lawrence loved to dance. They joined Pacemakers and danced 3-4 times a week. Music was one of Torie's favorite pastimes. She would sit and play the piano or organ, and often whistled while working around the house. Torie was an early riser and enjoyed the sunrise and the birds out her window with her morning cup of tea. She welcomed everyone to her humble home, and loved to visit over tea and her spectacular meals or home-made cookies. Torie kept a diary for many, many years. She recorded everyone’s activities, including her and Lawrence’s, as well as the weather on special dates. She did things in her own quiet manner, never expecting rewards or return for her kindness.
She spent her summers travelling around Alberta with Lawrence as he worked on road construction. Torie and Lawrence also belonged to the Good Sam club and travelled to many destinations in their RV. They also travelled to Hawaii for their 25th anniversary. Torie devoured the Reader’s Digest every month and enjoyed reading Anne of Green Gables and the Pollyanna series. Torie loved to cook and bake; she had a real sweet tooth so no meal was complete without some type of dessert. Bread making was always on Saturdays and the family looked forward to the cinnamon buns. The Gerings also had two dogs: Tiny, who often ended up in her school room in a box under her desk, and Tinker, a poodle whom they adopted after retirement.
When Torie's health began to fail, Lawrence made the decision to move to Wetaskiwin to be closer to all the amenities they would need as they aged. They would have coffee at A&W with their coffee clutch group. After Torie was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease Lawrence cared for her at home for as long as he could. She then went into the Good Shepherd Home and then into long-term care. Lawrence visited twice daily. Torie passed away December 14, 2009.