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Topic: The Women of Aspenland
Article: Gwendolyn Baker
Date Posted: July 10/2012
Main District: Wetaskiwin
Decades: 1900's to 1950's
Gwendolyn was born July 17, 1900 in Sibley, Iowa, in the same town her father, Asahel Burdett Evert, was born. Her mother was born in Cornwall, Devonshire, England. Her family moved to Alberta and settled on a farm half a mile west of Wetaskiwin on the south side of the highway to Pigeon Lake. She had eight siblings but two died in infancy. Gwen became the youngest of her family.
On September 1, 1917, Gwen married Edward (Ted) A. Reynolds. At this time he served in the Royal Flying Corps. and was stationed in Toronto. After Ted was settled in Toronto he sent for Gwen to join him. During this time Gwen worked in a teahouse.
When they returned to the Wetaskiwin area, Gwen was kept busy caring for her young family. They had four children: Byron Edward, Stanley George, Allan Burdette, and Eleanor May. She also tended a garden, milked the family's cow and looked after poultry.
Gwen and Ted separated in 1936. The children stayed with relatives and Gwen went to work sewing overalls for the Great West Garment Company in Edmonton. She worked for GWG for several years, saving money to purchase special gifts for her children. One of them was a toy airplane mechano set (now on display at the Reynolds Alberta Museum) which she gave to her son Stan for a Christmas present in 1936.
Gwen married David Baker in 1942. He was the local blacksmith in Wetaskiwin. Gwen liked to paint pictures when her family was grown and she had the time. In the 1950's she became a member of the newly formed Wetaskiwin Art Club. Her painting 'Alberta Harvest' was selected by the Visual Art Board of the University of Alberta to tour the regional libraries of the province. In 1956, the Art Club awarded a scholarship to Gwen and three other artists. She was able to hone her artistic talent at the Banff School of Fine Arts.
Gwen was a caregiver, a soft-spoken and selfless person. She passed away on November 19, 1958, at the age of 58.
Information compiled in 2000.
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Wetaskiwin, Alberta T9A 0S3
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