REFLECTIONS: Saluting our Ponoka town and county women

Ada (Johnson) McIntosh. Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum

Ada (Johnson) McIntosh. Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum

By Mike Rainone for the News

Our town and county will hopefully gather together sometime in the near future and publish another history book that will carry on the magnificent stories, photos, and milestones of our long and colourful past. It was our Ponoka Panorama, the 50th Anniversary, Crestomere Sylvan Heights Heritage, Mecca Glen Memories and other delightful historical publications that have vividly outlined the first colourful 50-plus rugged and exciting years of the amazing growth and progress of our urban and rural communities. But along the way there are still so many more outstanding tales to be told about the second half of the 19th century and on to the roaring 20s to the present day.

Through the weekly Reflections and Remember When features in your Ponoka News many of these wild, wonderful, and witty stories have been told about the accomplishments and dedicated efforts of countless families, individuals, characters, businesses, organizations, teams, and events that have been such an important part of our proud legacy and ongoing successes for both our town and county.

Ada (Johnson) McIntosh

Ada was born and raised and took her schooling in Gadsby, Alberta, and then after completing her nurses’ training at the University of Alberta she would return home. She later met and married Bill McIntosh, a local school teacher, and in 1935 the happy couple would move to the fast growing town of Ponoka, Alberta.

Soon after their arrival here Mrs. McIntosh would begin her position as a charge nurse at the Provincial Mental Hospital as well as later assisting her husband in his businesses as well as serving as his secretary in the early years of the Credit Union Bank. Following his teaching career, W.C. or Bill McIntosh went into business in Ponoka in 1947, which included selling general insurance and doing book keeping for various local firms. W.C. was also a charter member of the newly formed Ponoka Savings and Credit Union, which would set up their local bank in the old Municipal office on 51 Ave., where Bill served as the manager until 1963. When Bill’s health failed Ada would step forward as the treasurer of the new Ponoka Savings and Credit Union and following her husband’s resignation in 1963 she would take over his manager’s role, becoming the first woman credit union manager in Alberta, a position which she would faithfully serve until her retirement in 1972. It is very interesting to note that by 1963 the Ponoka Savings and Credit Union had grown in assets to $283,000, which by May 1972 had grown to $1,200,000 and with over 1,000 members had certainly become a real complement to the community that has carried on to the present day and is now known as Servus Credit Union.

Along the way Bill and Ada would welcome their two children, a son Keith and a daughter Jenene, with the family becoming very involved in countless community activities. Ada McIntosh always loved taking an active role in all of her year-round undertakings, whether it was at work, at leisure, at home, or as a willing volunteer, and as a fanatic for the game of bridge, she would never turn down a chance to play some cards with family and friends. Her long-standing involvements and dedicated interest in the community would include memberships with the IODE, Kinettes and K-40s, as well as the Ponoka United Church. Mrs. McIntosh would proudly serve as the regent of the local IODE for two years, during which time she became involved in the Ponoka Jubilee Library, where she volunteered many hours and served on the local board as well as a representative on the Red Deer Regional Library Board. At the Ponoka United Church she enjoyed teaching Sunday school and attending and assisting at countless functions with the United Church Women, as well as serving as a leader of the Canadian Girls in Training community program and becoming the first president and provincial treasurer of the Red Deer Presbyterian Association.

Bill McIntosh passed away in November 1965, with his longstanding and successful Ponoka Insurance and Accounting businesses being sold to Lindskog and Wheeler and John Low. Agencies. Mrs. Ada McIntosh was nominated by her peers to receive one of the Ponoka Pioneer Women of Excellence Awards, which were presented at our 100th birthday celebration in 2001. Ada McIntosh continues to live an active and healthy lifestyle in Victoria B.C., loves to spend quality time with her children and grandchildren, and always keeps in touch with all the news from in and around Ponoka.