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Topic: The Women of Aspenland
Article: Grace (Stewart) Mellett
Date Posted: December 28/2006
Main District: Wetaskiwin
Decades: 1920's to 1990's
Grace Scott (Stewart) Mellet was born on June 9, 1907 of parents, Hugh Stewart and Barbara Clelland (Allison) Stewart who had emigrated from Scotland the previous year. They purchased land in Wetaskiwin, west of the water tower and John, Hugh’s brother, helped them build their new home. Soon after, Grace was born. Her brother, Allan, was born in 1908, Flora in 1912, and Hugh in 1925, completing the Stewart family.
Grace worked hard in school and even had an essay published in The Wetaskiwin Times. No one was surprised when she announced her decision to earn her teaching certificate at the Camrose Normal School. After graduating in 1928, she taught at several rural schools.
In December 1929, she attended a family party where she met Robert Spencer Mellett, or ‘Spen’ as he was typically called by family. At evening’s end, he offered to drive Grace and her sister Flora home and then offered to drive her to and from her teacher lodgings and Wetaskiwin. Thus began the courtship, or the “driving courtship” as Spen referred to it.
On June 9th, 1931, Grace and Spencer Mellett were married in Edmonton and honeymooned in Banff. When they returned to Wetaskiwin, they moved into the flat above the Mellett Sheet Metal Works. On March 19, 1932, Barbara Anna Mellett was born and on April 9, 1933 William Robert Mellett was born. Grace quickly fell into her role as mother and homemaker. During the war years, Grace and her mother would send care packages to family in Scotland who were under severe food rationings.
Throughout the years, Grace’s involvement in the Church remained strong. She was a long time member, often filling executive roles, of the Women’s Association and the Women’s Missionary Society later the United Church Women when they joined in 1962, and the Red Deer Presbyterial United Church Women, the Presbytery Women Association, and of the Women’s Inter-Church Council for over twenty years.
In these groups, Grace took part in fundraising, charity, and missionary work. In 1961 and ‘62, the United Church Women’s Missionary Society and the United Church honoured Grace with Life Memberships, and the Inter-Church Council recognized her for her service. When Grace was not caring for her family or occupied by her many church responsibilities, Grace also enjoyed needlecrafts, becoming accomplished in sewing, knitting, tatting, crocheting, and embroidery work.
Spen and Grace were delighted to be honoured by their many friends and family attending their fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration. Sadly, Spen passed away in August of 1984.
In 1985 after fifty-four happy years at the Metal Works building, Grace moved into an apartment in the Legion Arms, making a new home for herself. Grace passed away on March 20, 1993 in the Long Term Care facility at the Wetaskiwin Hospital, and is still missed by many.
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Wetaskiwin, Alberta T9A 0S3
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