George Hawey Gage and his wife and family chose to move their family from Edmonton to Ponoka in 1941, where they would immediately get involved in a number of business ventures, made lots of new friends, became avid sports fans, and together they would construct or move into several comfortable homes along the way.
When Mr. Gage decided to purchase an old local feedmiil he would remodel the entire building into a busy community store that would sell quality seed, flour, cereals, and coal, as well as including a chicken hatchery on the top floor. They would establish their first home in a house owned by Andy Reid and located on Fisher Hill overlooking the booming Town of Ponoka, and then in the summer of 1943 they would move down to 54 Ave. and 51 St. to occupy a house owned by Mr. A.J. Crandall, the owner of Crandall’s Electric. While George was remodeling the upstairs of his bustling business from 1945 to 1946 the family would live in the store while their new home was being built alongside the old tierack where the Ponoka Legion Hall was later located. With his family expanding the wily but congenial “wheeler dealer” only lived in the new house until 1950, when he sold it, and then moved into an apartment that he had built on the back of the Hatchery and lived there until 1956 when he sold the business to Ray Henry.
Mr. and Mrs. Gage were blessed with five children, including Helen, who married James Murray of Ponoka; Dorothy, who married Earl Sparks of Ponoka; Martin, who married Alva Parker of Rimbey and worked at the Alberta Hospital; Muriel, who married Len Glancy and lived in Victoria, B.C., and Richard, who married Deanna Olson of Ponoka, and later moved to Meritt, B.C. I fondly remember going to school with Ritchie Gage, who was always a very friendly and dynamic young man, who loved music and dancing, and was very involved in the organization of the very active and popular Ponoka Teen Town group! Sadly Mrs. Gage would pass away in 1957, after which George would later marry Mrs. Ivy Hickmore, and then built yet another palatial home on the corner of the infamous poultry farm at the top of “Chicken Hill” in the Riverside district, eventually selling it in 1962, and later retiring to Vancouver Island.
The Gage family was always very active in and around the community, with George being an avid sports fan interested in all local sports and assisting or cheering for the teams and players at every game. He would faithfully serve as the equipment manager for the powerhouse Ponoka Stampeder Senior A Hockey team from 1948 to 1954, and as a “Jack of all trades” he would install the first time clock in the new Ponoka Arena, which was built in 1947 at the south end of 50 St. Ponoka, and would serve as the heart of the sport, entertainment, and event centre of the community for over 50 years.
George Gage was also an avid musician, always looking forward to playing in the Ponoka Band under the direction of Mr. Cartwright and Mr. Harry Wright. Over a period of ten years he would share his keen musical skills not only in this area, but also as a member of the Hanna and Youngstown Town Bands. George and his wife and family always enjoyed a very active participation in all areas and activities of the community at large, were faithful members of the Ponoka United Church, and he would help to organize the first local Elks Club in 1946. Over the years some of the ongoing generations of the Gage family stayed in the Ponoka area to carry on the long and proud traditions and share the memories of community life in the 1940s to 50s and sixties.