It was a sunny afternoon on Saturday, June 17, as friends and family of long-time volunteer of Stettler Town and Country Museum, Wilda Gibbon gathered together to remember her through fond memories at the Museum.
With support and funds from Gibbon’s family, a gazebo had been built on the Museum grounds, which was dedicated to her memory.
Being raised on a farm, where now the Latter-day Saints Church stands, Gibbon had many memories of growing up and shared her family stories of earlier years with the Museum staff and board members freely, giving them an insight into invaluable history.
“If Stettler needed a walking-talking history book, Wilda was the person to talk to,” Karen Wahlund, Museum manager said. “She was a teacher, mentor and friend for me. Wilda was a dedicated volunteer who handled the preservations of the Museum, and its holdings. It was in a way, her home away from home!”
According to Wahlund, Gibbon would take each summer student under her wings and teach them the basics, from gardening to any task.
“Wilda’s answer to fix most maintenance problems temporarily was to use duct tape, and so duct tape held the carpets together, was around windows and doors to keep the rain out and in many other places,” said Wahlund, laughing.
When Gibbon passed away in May 2015, the Museum had the flag flying at half mast to honour her.
“We wanted to have something permanent, which could be dedicated to the amazing work she has done for the Museum and the community,” Wahlund added. “So I thought of building the gazebo. I remembered Wilda talking about the bandstand that originally stood by the old fire hall; as a young girl she remembered listening to the band play in the evenings, and just sitting in it on a hot day, which got us thinking of it.”
The gazebo was built by wood worker, Brad Coleman and has a small patch of garden going around the front where rose plants were planted by family.
“Wilda’s favourite flower was rose and at every event at the Museum, she would make sure that all the tables had rose bowls,” Wahlund recalled. “Since Wilda loved music and entertainment, we hope we can use the gazebo to incorporate small entertainment groups throughout the season, and to provide a nice spot for the community to sit and enjoy.”
Wahlund said that the Museum was grateful to the Gibbon family – Wilda’s daughter, Brenda, and two sons, Bill and Bob; Brad and Carson Coleman; Kathy Thomas; Dave McCourt and the Steel Wheel Stampede committee.
“Without their help and support this gazebo would not be a reality,” Wahlund commented. “We would also like to thank the County of Stettler, Town of Stettler, and all the staff at the Museum and the Museum board members.”