From the “Vox Wesleyana” the Manitoba College Yearbook (1927)
“Millie, the world needs girls just like you. Your happy disposition has cheered our college days.”
That is about all I know about Emily. Born October 10, 1901 in Almeda, Saskatchewan, she lived on a farm outside this town in the southeast corner of the province. Emily came from a Presbyterian family, but they must have joined the United Church at union in 1925 because she attended the Women’s Program at Manitoba College. Prior to union, Manitoba College was a Presbyterian school, but it was joined to the Methodist, Wesley College to become a United Church institution. Millie graduate in 1927 and a year later was designated as a United Church Deaconess.
Upon graduation she was appointed to Point Douglas United Church, in Winnipeg’s North End, where she served for two years. From 1929 to 1938 however, the Deaconess List records she is on a leave of absence. A note in the 1933 report specifies “on leave of absence without superannuation and not suitable for appointment”. A note in the October 1934 minutes of the Committee on the Deaconess Order and Women Workers raises the question if she should be disjoined, noting she has had no work in Canada since 1929. The minutes go on to say that she teaches in Chase House, Chicago. It is not clear if this was recent, or if she had been teaching there for 8 years. Her name continues on the Deaconess List however, until 1938 when she is reported as retired. Millie had not reached the age of normal retirement for a Deaconess, which at this time is officially 55 (although women work beyond that, probably because the pension plan was dreadful! or just because they are not ready to leave public life. Given the short period of her employment with the United Church it is certain that Millie would not have had an significant income from a pension. Retirement is sometimes used in the records in place of leave of absence, although it is less common in the 1930s than 25 years prior. In 1940 her name disappears from the list. There is no mention of a reason for this in the minutes, however, not all the documents from the Deaconess Order are extant.
In 1946, at the age of 44, Millie married Raymond D. Deyell in Alameda. She died December 14, 1979, probably still living in Alameda or nearby. Raymond died in the Oxbow, Saskatchewan, (near Alameda) hospital in 1990.
Millie’s family tree can be found on Ancestory.ca. This photo of her, from the 1930s (?) was found there, posted by Donna Gordon.
This biography was written by Caryn Douglas, January 2013.