Vidah (Vauthrin) Lindner



Life and Work

Vidah's parents, Ed and Myra Vauthrin, had arrived at their homestead in Red Lodge with three year old son Mahlon on October 25, 1903. They had lived in Iowa and Washington state previously. After spending the first winter in two shelters, they moved into their house in the spring. They used oxen for all the farm work and trips to Olds or Red Lodge. The winter of 1908-09 the family spent in a little house in Olds so that Mahlon could start school and the expected baby would be near medical help.

Vidah's mother taught the little girl to do beautiful sewing and they both won many prizes at local fairs and the Calgary and Edmonton Exhibitions for their sewing, painting, cooking, baking, canning and preserving, the prize money helping the home economy. Vidah still has the doll that she dressed in a hand-sewn long dress, shawl and bonnet all decorated with fine feather stitch and an undershirt of a wool fabric known as "nuns' veiling." At age nine she won first-prize ribbons wherever the doll was exhibited.

She married Rudi Lindner in 1939. Later a University of Alberta student wrote his thesis about Mrs. Lindner's work in industrial arts in rural Alberta and the Edmonton Public School Archives and Museum contacted her for details about her pioneer work in that field. As early as March of 1936 Vidah had written an article for the Alberta Teachers' Association Magazine entitled, Manual Arts Curriculum for Rural Schools in which she outlined the program she had successfully introduced into her teaching.

After her retirement from teaching, Vidah developed her hobby of basket making and gave lessons from Olds College to Kamloops. Her home reflects many examples of her craft as well as her woodworking skill and her love of gardening.

She has enjoyed traveling in Europe and the United States with her daughters. Elizabeth lives in Toronto where she is the CEO for Canada Hollister Co. which markets products for people needing enterostomal therapy. Elizabeth also is a volunteer board member of the Canadian Association for Enterostomal Therapy.

In 1989 she was awarded the President's Award for outstanding service with the association and is also a liaison officer for the world association. Carol is the regional supervisor of kidney dialysis for the David Thompson Health Region based in Red Deer. Carol's children are Christopher and Ann. Living in Innisfail makes it easy to be in close touch with Vidah who still lives in the house her father built.

"I was a pampered and beloved child, a cherished wife, a happy mother and now a grandmother. I have good health and many interests, what more could I ask?"


Letter of Appreciation by Douglas Petersen

Vidah became a good friend of our family in the mid-60s and has remained thus to this very day.

I first remember Vidah when I had the blessing of studying industrial arts at the high school in Sundre. I thought it quite unique that we should have a women in that department but in just a few classes she won our respect and affection.

After the initial wood working project was completed - which at that point was a shoe shine box - Vidah did not, insist on another project that would only inspire a few. She allowed us to choose a project, and no matter how hard it sounded. She would coach us through to completion in her tremendously encouraging manner. Oh, how I remember the times she would holler "demonstration." In that era, demonstration was a positive word. Vidah wanted to show us some neat way of doing something or some cool tool that would make our work easier and better. She had a neat way of encouraging independent thought and development of individual talents and interests.

Vidah was not only encouraging in school but also in extra-curricular activities and continuing education after graduation.

Her incredibly hospitable nature brought a few of us boys to spend a weekend at her family farm. Here we learned the fascinating world of the honey bee and honey extraction. Oh what sweet memories….

Vidah has left an indelible mark on many of our lives.

Her mottos, shown by the way she lives, would be:

1. NEVER worry. (in which she is no hypocrite)

2. Always contribute. (to this day she is willing to give back to and contribute to the world around her from her wealth of knowledge and wisdom.)

Thanks to a profound, contributing Lady of the Aspenland

Memoirs of Vidah

Vidah's Birth

"I became impatient to make my début and for the first and last time in my life arrived ahead of time. A blizzard was blowing, the engaged practical nurse was absent, the doctor. Dr. Stevens, a tiny but very competent Englishman had another maternity case on hand and spent the night trudging through snow-drifts between the two households. Of course, kindly neighbours were with Mother but she did think it was rather a harrowing experience. I was the result, a daughter, named Vidah."


"Our home was on a well-travelled road between Olds and the Little Red Deer River and on to Garrington and the sparsely settled land beyond the Red Deer River. For those settlers it was a day's travel by horse and wagon to our place. We could put up people and horses overnight with many meals, of course. Then the next day to Olds and back, another night here and the third day home. Usually these people only did this two or three times a year. Fording the big Red Deer River was hazardous. During the Depression many people could not afford cars or gasoline, so we had travellers stopping then, too."


"WWI was an anxious and sad time for many. We raised victory gardens and helped the Red Cross in various ways."

Her Father

"My father kept active at his trade (journeyman painter and paper hanger). His largest painting project was the exterior of all the buildings at the Olds College and Experimental Farm in 1922. Mahlon was in charge of the farm work which included milking 10 or so cows, feeding pigs, etc. Mother tended the chickens and turkeys and garden. I helped with all the chores, kept a small flock of sheep and did some field work as soon as I was big enough."


"I attended school at Red Lodge until it closed October 31, 1921 so I went to Berrydale until Christmas when it too closed. Then the teacher ... transferred to Hainstock. I was in Grade 8 and was to write the departmental exams that year that qualified one for high school. Mrs. Pearson had me stay in the teacherage with her and her little girl so I did not miss out on school ... So began my love affair with Hainstock to be reinforced when 1 taught there 30 years later and had the pleasure of instructing sons and daughters of my former much-liked classmates."


"The winters from 1922 on were filled with fun activities. A young people's club, the Lyceum, met fortnightly on Tuesdays in the Red Lodge schoolhouse. We had debates, spelling matches, recitations, songs and little plays, soon the grown-ups joined, then Eagle Creek and Berrydale people, too. It was soon obvious that we needed larger quarters and a movement began that resulted in the building of Hillcrest Hall to serve the three communities. For the next 10 years and more we were actively involved."

The Recession

"The recession was tough for everybody. I went to Camrose Normal School in 1930-31 and was fortunately employed from then on so it wasn't too bad for us."

Her Husband

"In 1939 I married Rudi Lindner ... Rudi was born in 1890 in Saxony, Germany where he studied violin from an early age. He came to Saskatchewan in 1912 and to Alberta about 1926. After my brother married and left home, Rudi farmed the home place. He played in dance orchestras and performed on many stages. When I taught locally, Rudi ... helped my classes ... to prepare Christmas concerts, which was marvelous for me as I totally lack any musical ability."


" The WWII years were strenuous. We all did what we could. Rudi joined the Militia. After the Royal Air Force base was established at Bowden we ... welcomed the young airmen on their military leaves and we sent letters and parcels to their relatives in ration-strapped Great Britain. This led to most interesting correspondences."

"Sugar was rationed during the war years and beekeeping, with Rudi's reluctant help, became important with two hives in 1942. By '44 we decided beekeeping was a piece of cake so we expanded to 10 hives. Then we had a baby! By '46 the shock had worn off so we went to 20 hives, then we had another baby! No more expansion until the children were grown up. After I retired I went to sixty hives with the help of my brother, but his heart condition limited what he could do so I went down to 40 hives, then 20 until I quit four years ago." (about 1990)


"My teaching covered 40 years, first Red Raven 1931-32, Red Lodge 1932-36, (1936-37 I attended SAIT for Industrial Arts), Brant 1937-38, Pakowki south of Many berries 1938-39, Loyalty 1941-42, Little Red Deer #2 in 1949-52, Hainstock 1952-55, Sundre 1955-62 leaching Ind. Arts, Canmore 1962-63, Spruce View 1963-64, Fawcett 80 miles north of Edmonton 1964-65, Torrington 1965-68, Hutterite Hand Hills Colony near Hanna 1968-71.


"In 1952 Rudi seriously damaged his heart while trying to rescue a young cow that broke through ice on a beaver pond. He was on medication the rest of his life and had to give up actively farming. Mr. Roe (the Anglican minister who had officiated at Vidah's baptism, confirmation and marriage, and had attended their 25th wedding anniversary the year before) performed the funeral."


"A gratifying and ego expanding thing happened to me a few years ago. I was contacted by Dr.Preitz, an Edmonton University of Alberta professor who was ... researching the history of industrial arts in Alberta. He discovered that I was the first and for many years the only woman who had taught the subject. Also, I was the only person, male or female that ever taught it in a one-room school. I borrowed some articles made by a former pupil 50 years ago in Red Lodge. He was impressed! That fall he arranged for me to attend a 25th anniversary banquet given by the industrial arts and home economics teachers in Edmonton."

The previous account is largely taken from the material prepared by Mrs. Lindner for the Hainstock Centennial History Book Association Printed by Friesen Printers in 1994.

Supervisor's Report

Copy of the Supervisor's report of Mrs. Lindner's teaching at Sundre in 1956.

Dept. of Education Alberta Report of Supervisor of Industrial Arts

Sundre SD# 4394 S. Div. 31

Teacher Mrs. V. Lindner

Grades 7,8 & 9

Equipment - drill press, circular saw, band lathe, portable sander

Shop in basement of school 25' x 40'.

22 students Night school 8 adults Woodwork 2 levels Drafting

"Mrs. Lindner is highly commended for the effectiveness other program to date. T would suspect that she is receiving a great deal of satisfaction from this work. Certainly she is giving unstintingly of her time and ability. All of this was reflected in the purposeful and diligent manner with which the students were proceeding. I have much admiration for Mrs. Lindner's competence and continued interest for this work." May 30 1956 J.P. Michell, Supervisor of Industrial Arts

The following account is largely taken from the material prepared by Mrs. Lindner for the Hainstock Centennial History Book Association Printed by Friesen Printers in 1994