Friday, 25 November 2016

Illa Cassell Cooledge

Illa Mary Cassell was born on her parents William and Agnes's farm 14-13-28 north of Elkhorn on January 13, 1915.  Her elder sister Gertie was already married and gone at 19 years old, brother Ernie was 17 and about to enlist in WW1, Randy's Grandpa Russell was 12 years old and sister Pearl was 9.  Another girl Hazel "Irene" was born into the family a year after Illa, but died just short of her 6th birthday in 1922.  The picture below shows Irene on the left and Illa on the right and is perhaps the only photo of little Irene.   There are so many tragic stories in this generation of the family and another will be told in this post.

Illa with her mother Agnes in 1927
Illa attended school at nearby Jeffrey and West Two Creeks.  On September 29 in 1933, 18 year old Illa married Harold Cooledge.  Online information about Harold says he was born in Oshawa in 1901 and came west with his parents.  He was musical, played the banjo and entertained at local dances in the 20's and 30's.  He was manager at the Co-Op store in Kirkella when he met and then married Illa. Their first daughter Audrey Joan was born on April 27, 1935 and the family photos below would have been taken of the family of 3 in about 1937 and of 4 in front of their car in the fall of 1939.  Their second daughter Carol Anne kindly shared her pictures and clippings with me to help tell the incredibly sad ending to Illa's biography.

The Kirkella fire claimed another life on Wednesday last, January 31st, when Illa Mary beloved wife of Harold T. Cooledge, passed to eternal rest, in the Elkhorn nursing home.  Everything possible was done to save the life of the unfortunate young woman, but the injuries sustained in the fire were too great to remedy and a loving mother was called to join her five year old daughter who perished in the fire on Jan. 26th. The funeral took place from Elkhorn United Church on Sunday afternoon, February 4th the service being conducted by Rev. C. M. Bater of Fleming,  in the presence of sorrowing relatives and far more than 300 sympathizers from far and near.  Internment took place at Elkhorn Cemetery, the pall bearers being Wilfred Francis, Joe Ruddick, Ken Corbett, Archie Young, G.E. Bartley, Earl Frazer.  The many floral tributes silently spoke the sorrow and sympathy so widely expressed throughout the community.  Illa Mary Cooledge (Nee Cassell) was born on sec 14-12-28, north of the old Burnbank post office on January 13, 1914, she received her early education at Jaffray and Two Creeks schools and was a popular and well beloved girl at home and among the many friends with whom she grew up.  On Sept 29th, 1933 she married Harold Cooledge who survives her together with her infant daughter Carole Anne.  Other principal mourners are her aged father Mr. Wm. Cassell and one brother Russell of Elkhorn, also two sisters: Mrs. Gordon Turner, Flin Flon and Mrs. Grant Gerow, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.  To these the heartfelt sympathy of a host of friends goes out at this time of their great bereavement.   

A few years after, Harold remarried and lived in Hargrave as a storekeeper there for a time.  He later used his carpentry talents to make a living and lived in Fleming, SK.  Harold died in 1978 in Moosomin, Saskatchewan.  Sincere thanks to their daughter Carol for generously sharing her things with me to be able to tell this story.    

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