The Legacy of Ethel Tucker
The Town of Okotoks remains committed to recognizing and protecting the legacy of Ethel Tucker. Her volunteer contributions to Okotoks are extensive and helped shape Okotoks into the wonderful community it is today.
Ethel passed away in 1995 and friends offered this tribute: “Ethel stood out as a symbol of all the pioneer women of Western Canada – hard working, courageous, bearing pain without complaint, always ready with a helping hand. Her heart was as big as the outdoors.”
Ethel Tucker was born in Davisburg in 1912, the fourth of eight children of Frank and Beatrice Tucker who came to the Davisburg area, north of Okotoks, in 1905 and established a farm there. The family moved to a farm south of Okotoks in 1926. This farm was originally part of the Lineham Ranch.
She never married, however, she considered the citizens of Okotoks to be her large, extended family. Ethel devoted her life to the community as a tireless volunteer. She held numerous jobs over the years, beginning as farm help and cook on the family farm. She also worked at the High River Hospital, Willingdon Hotel, Wentworth’s General Store, Berry’s Drug Store and King’s Pharmacy. She then worked full-time at the Sears catalogue office from 1975-1982. An accident on while on the job led to the amputation of part of her leg, but that did not slow her down.
Ethel Tucker at Sears catalogue office, June 1979
- Member of the Okotoks Agricultural Society
- Founding member of the Okotoks and District Historical Society
- Member of the Order of the Eastern Star
- Member of the Okotoks United Church, volunteering in numerous capacities including the choir and acting as leader of Canadian Girls in Training program and Young People’s Group
- Coordinator/canvasser for Canadian Red Cross.
- President of the Okotoks Branch of the Canadian Red Cross
- Coordinator/canvasser for Arthritis Society
- Helped to establish and then volunteered with the Okotoks and District Interfaith Food Bank (1984-1995)
- Life-long hockey fan; volunteered as ticket-taker for all Okotoks Oilers and Bisons’ home games
- Volunteer with Okotoks Horse Show Association
Past Honoured Royal Lady Colleen Neish, at right, of Okotoks Royal Purple,
presents $200 cheque to Ethel Tucker of Okotoks Food Bank, Oct. 1990.
Honours and Awards
Ethel became the town’s first Citizen of the Year in 1977. She was also named a Celebration ‘88 Award Recipient (volunteer recognition program for the Calgary Winter Olympics) and was the recipient of the Melvin Jones Fellowship in 1992, presented by Lions Club Internal Foundation and the Okotoks Lions Club.
Celebration '88 medal winners, recognizing sport and community involvement, include L-R:
Ethel Tucker, Cory Beatt, Dennis Littler, Don Gilbert (in back), Pat Jensen and Harry Morrison.
Ethel Tucker Centennial Park
The park was originally called Okotoks Centennial Park and was officially created as a federal centennial project in 1967. It was renamed in 1995 to honour Ethel Tucker who was considered the town’s greatest supporter. Mayor Sandi Kennedy was assisted by Ethel’s siblings to unveil the bronze sign embedded in a sandstone rock in a ceremony in June 1995.
In April 2020, Okotoks Town Council approved a bylaw to ensure Ethel Tucker Centennial Park remains an important part of the Town’s future. The bylaw indicates that the park will be maintained at the same size but in a slightly different location. The bylaw protects the legacy of Ethel Tucker and ensures the name Ethel Tucker Centennial Park is protected moving forward.
Mayor Sandi Kennedy with members of the Tucker family unveiling park sign, June 1995