|Birth: ||Mar. 30, 1881|
|Death: ||Dec. 28, 1967|
Daughter of Oliver Hiram and Mary Johnson. Married Clarence Orion Pool.
Dr Mina Pool, Itinerant Minister
By Vern Wishart
Few United Church ministers can say they have served 20 churches. Mina Pool, not unlike John Wesley before her, spent much of her life travelling to serve and minister to others. She didn't travel by horseback but come snow or come shine, she travelled by car over dirt and gravel roads and later, smooth black pavement. Her transportation varied in size and temperament, from a car with faulty chassis alignment to a fast paced Oldsmobile and finally, to a speedy Cadillac. All were needed in order for her to keep up with the expectations of an itinerant minister.
Mina was born in her parents' home. She and her four brothers and one sister were raised on a farm near the town of Beaverlodge. Mina was baptized in her grandparents' home, the place where church services were held for years, then in schools, before a United Church was built in
Beaverlodge. After completing Grade 12 in Beaverlodge, she attended Westglen High School in Edmonton, to gain more credits. In 1943, she entered nursing at the Royal Alexander Hospital, graduating in 1946. Her health failed her on two occasions, once with tuberculosis and later, with a minor attack of polio. With the onset of the latter, she went to recuperate at the home of her younger brother in Ralston (outside Medicine Hat). Fortuitously, while there, she was able to nurse her three-year old nephew Dennis back to health during his bout with pneumonia.
Health restored, Mina made the decision to become a public health nurse and returned to the University of Alberta for further training. In 1950, she recived her first posting, to the Athabasca Health Division. There she began a life of travel, bringing her nursing knowledge and skills to many schools of the Athabasca School Division, holding baby clinics and the occasional visit to Grassland. Alberta's rural roads were hard on cars in those days (not to mention their passengers). But Mina didn't allow anything to stop her. Over the next three years of her travels, she changed 37 flat tires. On one day alone, she had four flats, using up the four spare tires she always carried with her.
In 1953, Mina was posted to the Grande Prairie Health Unit where she had to cover a very large area, as far west as the B.C. border and north to the Peace River, including towns like Spirit River, Debolt and, as before, the many schools in the Grande Prairie School Division. While at Grande Prairie she sent aspiring health nurses in order to expose them to what was demanded of them in more rural areas. This had it scary moments. Some didn't know how to drive a car, an absolute must for public health nurses. One internee didn't make the grade, going off the end of a bridge into a ditch, bending the cars chasses and throwing the wheels out of alignment. She visited the district nurses at Bonanza, Blueberry Mountain, Wanham, Tangent and Valleyview. Alberta's rural roads were hard on cars in those days (not to mention their passengers). But Mina didn't allow anything to stop her.
Decision time came again, when she was asked to go to McGill for further training to become a teacher and supervisor in public health. Throughout her life, Mina had been close to the church. Her faith had been tested in sickness and in health. She had reached a bend in the road as to which direction her life should take. One night as she wrestled with the decision, she felt God's presence and the call to give her life to the church. Mina responded by going to Toronto for training as a deaconess. Her first posting was to Hudson Bay Junction in northern Saskatchewan.
There she began a different kind of itinerancy, serving four churches in lumbering and farming communities, including Mistation, Prairie River, and Clemenceau. After four years, she became increasingly frustrated that she was not allowed to perform the sacraments. She decided to seek ordination. Appearing before a selection committee of elders, some of whom were still doubtful about women in the ministry, she was asked "You will likely be appointed to a rural charge where there will be a lot of travel over rough roads. Do you know how to change a tire?" Mina responded, "As a public health nurse in Athabasca, I changed 37 spare tires." There were no more questions.
In 1970, Mina entered St. Stephen's College. After completing her studies, she was ordained and sent to Westlock. She teamed with Frank Andrews and between them they served eight churches, Hazel Bluff, Linaria, Clyde, Jarvie, Picardville, Busby, and Independence. By this time, the roads travelled by Mina were getting better and so were her cars, not to mention the speed she travelled.
In 1978 she was called to the Bawlf/Daysland Pastoral Charge to serve five churches, including Ohaton, Kelsey and Rosalind. Once again she was asked to take interns, this time seminary students. She retired in 1985. By that time, Mina was so well known in church and UCW circles(she was the first president of the UCW in Peace River Presbyterial) that she was much in demand. And so, the travelling continued.
By this time Mina owned an Oldsmobile. I recall going with her to a Presbytery meeting at Fort St. John. Martha Dawson, the lay delegate from St. Paul's United in Grande Prairie and I were in the backseat. As Mina sped down the highway passing everything in sight, Martha and I were paralyzed. Had we been able to open our mouths to sing, I am sure it would have been, "Lord, I'm coming home!" Not satisfied with the Olds being fast enough to get her to the next meeting, she bought a Cadillac!
In 1990, Mina Pool was honoured at the St. Stephen's College Convocation where she was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity. Mina was 90-years-old in May 2010. She takes delight in her siblings children and offspring of five generations, still goes to church, and stays in touch with the many wonderful people she has met along the way (the way she was called by God to take). While we were reminiscing about the past, I was not surprised to see the book closest to her favorite chair the Holy Bible.
Clarence Orion Pool (1874 - 1954)*
Grande Prairie Census Division
Created by: Robert "Rob" Weller
Record added: Nov 26, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31734196