Former school superintendent, provincial historian mourned

Albertans are mourning the death of historian and Stettler educator Bill Baergen.


Albertans are mourning the death of historian and Stettler educator Bill Baergen.

Baergen died at his Stettler home April 9. He was 77.

Baergen had a lifetime career in education — as a teacher, principal, school trustee and board chairman and superintendent — and a passion for history.

He came to Stettler in 1970 to fill the position of deputy superintendent of the former Stettler School Board. He later became superintendent of the Clearview School Division, a position he held until his retirement in 1991.

“He was very influential to me,” said current Clearview chairman Ken Checkel, who recalls that when he was first elected to the board in 1998, Baergen was the chairman.

“He was very good with people. He had a way of easing situations and making things run smooth, often using his sense of humour to lighten things up.”

Born in 1935 at Irma, Alta., Baergen was raised on farms at Irma and Vauxhall.

After graduating with degrees in education and history at the University of Alberta, Baergen earned a PhD at the University of Oregon.

He taught English and history at the high school and college levels.

Baergen also wrote curriculum for Alberta education on Canadian history.

His interest in history led him to serve as president of the Central Alberta Historical Society.

He was the author of two books, “The Ku Klux Klan in Central Alberta” and “Pioneering with a Piece of Chalk.”

The latter chronicled the history of the one-room schoolhouses in Alberta.

His work was recognized with an award from the Historical Society of Alberta for “his outstanding contribution to Alberta history.”

Retired Stettler principal and current town councillor Malcolm Fischer knew Baergen as a superintendent and through his involvement in local theatre.

Baergen was passionate about music, drama and documenting history, especially history related to Louis Riel, Fischer said.

He said Baergen was involved in many events, plays and projects connected to Riel.

For years, Baergen had a major role in the local Gilbert and Sullivan troupe and performed in the Heartland Arts Troupe Society, Fischer said.

“Bill always had a smile and looked for humour and the lighter side of issues.”

Baergen and his wife, Donna, raised their three children, Patricia, Grant and James, in Stettler.

His obituary said that a funeral isn’t planned, per Baergen’s request.

Just Posted

Generous community support flows in for local student diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma

A ‘hair drive’ fundraiser was held recently by the cosmetology class at the school

Farm Credit Canada Women in Ag Summit coming soon

The closest event to Stettler is slated to run in Edmonton Dec. 5th

Stettler’s Parent Link faces uncertain future with announcement of budget cuts

Regular activities being planned with the onset of the Christmas season

A donation from the Sandra Schmirler Foundation will benefit the Stettler Health Services Foundation

Funds will purchase a vital signs monitor for the Panda warmer at the Stettler Hospital

Light Up the Night coming to Stettler Town and Country Museum

First annual gingerbread house contest added to event

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

RCMP find burned out vehicles near Pigeon Lake

Wetaskiwin RCMP Recovered Numerous Stolen Vehicles in Pigeon Lake Area

Millet gas station robbed, worker bear sprayed

Wetaskiwin RCMP Investigate Armed Robbery, Seek information and ID Suspect

Environmental group’s lawsuit seeks to quash ‘anti-Alberta’ inquiry

UCP launched inquiry into where Canadian environmental charities get their funding

Federal laws at heart of West’s anger up for debate, as Liberals begin outreach

Vancouver mayor to Trudeau’s western critics: ‘Get over yourselves’

Snowboard pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter dies at 65

He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011

Teen developed ‘popcorn lung’ due to vaping: Ontario doctors

Boy went from being in perfect health to being on life support after just five months

Woman calls 911 to say she was late for train, asks Ontario police for ‘emergency ride’

Peel Regional Police received more than 180,000 improper calls so far this year

Infants more vulnerable to measles than previously thought: Canadian study

Babies typically don’t receive the measles vaccine until they are 12 months old

Most Read