Clarice McKean




Life and Work

Clarice McKean moved with her family from Iowa to Dickson, Alberta in March, 1910. Clarice attended Red Deer High School for grades 10 and 11. She was an excellent student and received IODE (Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire) gold medals for highest class standing in provincial departmental exams. She also ranked highest in Alberta in Physics and History for two consecutive years.

Clarice became a teacher and in 1916 taught at Red Raven School. She later taught at rural schools such as Pleasant Valley (Knee Hill Valley), Springvale (east of Red Deer), and Evarts (west of Red Deer). Clarice married David Clough Braton of Evarts in 1925. However, this marriage failed and she moved to her land near Dickson where she raised their two daughters. She took back her maiden name - signature C.E. McKean. Clarice did not teach again for 24 years.

As the health of her parents declined, Clarice took on ever increasing responsibility for the farm management. She accepted the challenge of farm life and could saddle a horse or harness a team with ease. She loved gardening, canning vegetables, meat and wild fruit. Homemade ice cream was her specialty. Clarice was an artist from the perspective of crocheting, embroidery, quilting and the tanning of pelts and hides. After her mother suffered a stroke which left her an invalid, Clarice nursed her at home for over three years.

When it became evident in 1947 that her daughter Carole needed a hip replacement, a farm auction was held and the land rented out. Clarice resumed teaching. On one occasion a black bear walked around the teacherage and surprised Clarice. At first she thought the movement was her border collie, Tweed. Clarice reached for her loaded gun and shot the bear from a two-rifle-length range with her son-in-law's .410 single-shot gun.

Clarice passed away September 4, 1969 at Richard Parson's Auxiliary in Red Deer, Alberta. During her stay at the auxiliary hospital, 1963-1969, she wrote journals, which tell family history, district history, observations, and opinions as well as quotes of both poetry and prose. She was very well read and had keen interests in education, environmental issues, music, current events as well as a thorough knowledge and love of the Bible. In many ways, Clarice McKean was a lady before her time.


  • Contributors: Carole (McKean) Norman/Dickson Store Museum