Marjory (Adams) Corless Rankin




Life and Work

Fay Adams was born on January 23, 1906 in Pendleton, Oregon. She was one of 10 children five boys and five girls. Fay's father was a sheep rancher and decided that he would need more land if his sons decided to farm. They decided to move north where there was still lots of land to expand. They came to Alberta in October 1917. Hazel was teaching at the time and talked her folks into letting Fay stay behind with her. In 1918 the girls joined the family in Trochu. Fay was 12 years old at that time.

It was soon time for Fay to go to high school. She went to Fairmount School which was about three miles (4.8 kilometres) away. On fine days she walked and in bad weather she rode a horse or took a democrat.

After high school, Fay joined two of her sisters in Calgary to attend Normal School. There they boarded together and pursued their education - Blanche in Nursing and Esther studied dressmaking. Fay attended Normal School to become a teacher. Edna had become a dressmaker and of course Hazel was already a teacher.

After Normal School in 1925, Fay began teaching in a little country school close to her home district of Arthurville. In 1926 an application to teach at McDougal Flats was accepted and at the end of August, Fay began her journey to Sundre. For this new adventure she wanted to look her very best and dressed accordingly. When Fay finally arrived in Sundre, she looked and felt anything but prim and proper.

She was taken to Mr. Hagen's store, where upon he asked her if she was the new teacher. She admitted that she was. He then packed her and her belongings up and drove her to the Hunter home, where she was to board.

Fay and Melvin Corless met at the Sundre School Fair, the first Friday after she arrived. In December it was decided that she would board at the Corless farm as it was only a mile from school and an easy walk. Melvin's parents were glad to have her.

Fay remained at the McDougal Flat school for 4 years. She loved her students and had many happy times with them. In 1930 Fay retired from teaching and she and Melvin Corless were married. They went on to have three children, Roy, Kay and Jack.

After 13 years of marriage, Fay went back to teaching as a substitute and in 1949 returned full time. In 1960, Fay moved to Sundre where she taught Grade 9 until her final retirement in 1967. They remained on the farm for six more years at which time their oldest son, Roy, took over.

Fay and Melvin bought a house in Sundre and lived a contented retirement until 1980 when Melvin passed away. After some time, Fay moved into Hagen Manor and later on to the Lodge. In 1984 Fay married Bob Rankin, also a resident there, and became Mrs. Bob Rankin. The two had 16 months together before Fay died on September 16, 1986. She was 80 years old.


Memories of Grandma Rankin by Grand Daughter Connie

Granny, Thank you for… The "treasures"' which were once so wonderful; for the nights of sleeping over sharing a pair of pajamas; for the confidences shared and advice given; for the example of Godliness; for the interview on tape of the old school days that will always be cherished; for caring and understanding when times get hectic; for being the same "Granny" to my husband and daughter that you were always were to me… I love you!

More Memories of Marjory Rankin

Growing Up

She had a happy young life. There were so many children, quite close together in age, that bath time was a big occasion. Mother would bathe each one in the old wash tub, wrap them in a towel, and send them to the living room, where father would dry them and put their pajamas on them. The first one, of course, got the cleanest water, although warm water was added from time to time. The Adams family lived very close to two dens of rattle snakes, so the children always had to wear shoes outside. One day Fay's mother went into the bed room and there curled up in the sun, on the braided rug by the bed, was a big rattler, sunning himself. He had slipped in through an open window. Another time Hazel, the oldest daughter, went out by the creek to read in a favourite tree. So engrossed in her book was she that she didn't see the rattler that had climbed up to catch some sun also. Alas, she had to stay put until the sun went down and the snake slithered away.

Life Lessons

One experience she had was a little nerve racking. A little grade one boy asked her home for supper and to stay the night. Thinking of course that the mother of the lad was behind the invitation she walked the 21/2 miles with him to his home. Strangely, the parents were just arriving home at the same time. They didn't seem enthusiastic to see her. She was asked to sit down in an area screened off from the kitchen. The family, one by one, were called into the next room where the sounds of dining could plainly be heard. It was quite awkward. After it became clear that she was not going to be fed, she was at a loss to know whether or not the overnight invitation was real. By now it was dark and she wasn't looking forward to the long walk home, but when she stood up and said she thought she should be going the husband offered to take her. She was very relieved and she was sure they were also. Needless to say, she made sure that any further invitations were accompanied by an invitation from the family. A lesson was learned by the new teacher.


One of the big events of the year was a Christmas concert which was practised diligently and put on in the Sundre Hall which was the only place that could hold the crowd that always attended. The caretaker there was a man with a long white beard. Some of the children thought that he surely must be Santa Claus. Her memories of teaching in that little country school were by in large, very good. Many of the pupils became her friends when they grew up and in later years she enjoyed meeting them and talking over old times.


They were little darlings and no trouble at all. Roy was once found putting baby mice through the meat grinder. Then Jack went swimming but couldn't swim, so the others pulled him out when he was found floating down the creek with his hat still on his head. Miraculously, he was just fine after they squeezed the water out of him. Kay always wanted to play house and was forever dragging her brother Jack along to be father to all the dolls she pulled in the red wagon. He, being four years younger, usually complied. Eventually, the kids grew up. Roy married, had three children and started a successful construction. Kay married, had five children and had a fabric store. Jack married and became a teacher.

Finding God

When Fay was 25 years old an important event took place in her life. She accepted Christ as her personal Saviour. A few years later, Melvin did the same. This made a profound difference in their lives. Fay was able to set her sights on Heaven and her faith helped her through many difficult times. Two of the hardest were the death of her husband Melvin and their son Jack at the age of 48. After her conversion, she became very active in the church. For many years she was president of the church ladies' group and served in many other church-related activities.