Rose Vennard



Life and Work

With a midwife present, Rose was born to the loving family of Alice May & Ralph Clinton Ellithorpe at their farm home in Westward Ho. Rose was the fifth of nine children. She had a happy life with that many siblings – as a matter of fact – her nickname was “Happy”. She attended Sundre East School, two miles east and two miles north of Sundre.

Everett Vennard was working at Knott’s Store and if he timed it just right, he could be pumping gas into the pump for resale as Rose passed by on her way to school. His clever plan paid off – in 1945, when Rose was twenty-two, he and Rose were married.

With the exception of one year taking grade one in Olds, Rose has lived in Sundre for seventy-six years. Twenty-eight of those years were spent running a General Store with her husband. In 1947 the store opened and they sold bags of flour and sugar, gas & oil, clothes, groceries, hardware and dresses, on consignment. One hilarious incident happened the day after Rose & Stella Mercer, a clerk there, went to a dance in Carbon. They were very late getting home but had to work in the store anyway. Charge accounts were kept in separate books; one per customer. When Mrs. Bull came in, Rose was scrambling, in her sleepy state, to find Mrs. Bull’s account book. Finally, in desperation, she said to Stella “Have you seen Mrs. Bill’s bull?” Of course, much giggling ensued and they had to apologize to Mrs. Bull for being so rude.

Christmas was a happy time for Rose: A time when everyone would come home. She and Nathan were the only ones of the family who stayed in Sundre. It was a wonderful occasion when they were reunited for Christmas at Mom & Dad’s house. The table would be groaning with a bounteous variety of foods her mother had prepared. Speaking of food, Rose just loves to cook. Her specialties are chocolate cake and BBQ pork ribs. She remembers her mother’s roast lamb, which she hasn’t had since her mom’s passing in 1979. Rose was her mother’s favorite. They were real buddies.

It was while they owned the store that Rose would pick up the film that came in Wednesday’s mail and with a projector, show it at Hagen’s Hall on Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings. People would come by the sleigh loads in the dead of winter and pay twenty-five cents each to see the film. It was a great form of entertainment in those early years. This continued until the hall was condemned and finally burned down. Danny Saundulak, a teacher, showed films at the school after that. This was a time of great fulfillment for Rose!

Rose is grateful for the time she spends at her cabin in the summertime, which she & Everett built in 1950. Everett died in May 1989, since then, the cabin has been her “life line”. To dispel her feelings of loss, Rose took a five-week trip to New Zealand & Australia. Her trip there is a delightfully cherished memory. Since then, Rose has been content to stay close to home, tending her garden and enjoying her other hobbies – quilting, crocheting. She is an avid curler and was secretary treasurer of the club in 1953.

Her only child, Bobby was in the Scouts for a few years so she was an active mother in that movement. Bobby has two children, Kelly & Kevin. During the summers Rose bonded with her grandchildren, one at a time, at the cabin. She would entertain them by guiding them in building small wooden objects – tables, boxes & birdhouses – each useful in its own way.

Rose views the world as “scary” especially computers which seem to have such a grip on events. She is in awe of advances in technology in vehicles – keys that start cards from afar, his & her keys that adjust seats to fit the individual - truly mind-boggling. Rose’s advice to young people today: Every day when making decisions look to your family or older adults for good advice. Always keep in contact with your aunts and uncles. They are always there for you, with good advice.