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Topic: The Women of Aspenland
Article: Dora (Staack) Ballhorn
Date Posted: August 26/2012
Main District: Wetaskiwin
Decades: 1890's to 1980's

Dora Staack was born May 21, 1892 at Dysart, Iowa. At eight years of age she moved with her parents and two sisters to Lacombe, Alberta. Here she completed her schooling and began her job as a dental assistant.

Dora's family was great friends with the Ballhorn family in Iowa and around 1910 the Ballhorn family relocated to Wetaskiwin. The families were reunited and after some courting, their son Roy asked for Dora's hand in marriage. They were wed on March 25, 1918. Dora and Roy then set up their homestead in the Angus Ridge district.

Soon after their marriage Dora and Roy decided to raise purebred Black Angus cattle. They became widely known for raising the very best in this breed and became very active in the Angus Breeders Association. When husband Roy was Director of the Edmonton Exhibition, Dora was active in all its affairs, entering into Klondike days every year with great enthusiasm in fashionable Klondike regalia.

Dora's talents as a homemaker and gardener soon made "Woodlawn" (farm name) a show place. Dora delighted in flowers and gardens. She was truly a green thumb. Her life was filled with many community projects, among them were: teaching Sunday school, helping to build and maintain the Angus Ridge Hall and assisting those in need. Dora loved to bake pies. Whenever someone was ill or in need, she would give them one of her pies.

The Tweedsmuir competition sponsored by the Federated Women's Institutes of Canada was the incentive for the recording of community history. One of Dora's greatest prides was the winning of this competition with the Angus Ridge History Book. Dora along with Freda Nelles organized the Angus Women's Institute members to assist in putting together the community's history. Out of this came our local history book "Pioneer Pathways." She was also instrumental in helping other community's research and compiling their local histories.

The Master Farm Family Award was presented to Dora and Roy. Dora took a very active part in working towards this award. The Master Farm Family program was initiated in Alberta on February 17, 1949. It is a policy of the Alberta Government which seeks to select and Honor farm families who have made an outstanding success of farming, homemaking and citizenship. The government has now discontinued these awards.

In 1960, after thirty-five years of membership in the Angus Ridge Women's Institute and having served in many positions, Dora received a Life membership.

Dora was very interested in history and kept many scrapbooks with clippings from the community. She also wrote many articles for local newspapers. She loved to write and read stories and her sense of humor is evident in her scrapbooks and writings. She was known for her many talents from hooked rugs, crocheted tablecloths and lovely quilts. She continued with these handicrafts until sometime in her eighties. She was a devoted member of the Order of the Eastern Star, became Worthy Matron in 1936 and received her Life Membership in 1971. She was also Grand Representative from Alberta to Indiana in 1937 and to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in 1967.

Scrapbooks can tell a wonderful story of events in one's life. While reading through Dora's scrapbooks her story unfolds. Along with community history she kept scrapbooks on her family, with pictures of her daughter Roma and son-in-law, Harold, and all their achievements, to letters from her granddaughters, Jody and Lynne. She had her dream fulfilled when she became a great grandmother to Candice, Kevin, Arron, Steven and Daniel.

Dora treasured her friends and she had many. She was always the life of a party with her stories and enthusiastic personality. She was a happy, industrious, and ambitious woman who loved her home, family and friends. Dora passed away at the age of 93, September 21, 1985.

Information compiled in 2001.


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Wetaskiwin, Alberta T9A 0S3


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