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  • Writer's pictureErin Dentzien

405A-2 AVE - Golden Years

Mary Ellen Herman began coming to Ma-Me-O with her parents Fred and Gladys Duggan as an infant in 1942. The family would rent Spencer’s Cabin called ‘This Is It’ for many years. In 1952, the family had just arrived at Ma-Me-O and Mary Ellen’s parents went for a ride to then shortly returned with the news that they had bought a cabin of their own! The family moved into 217-1 Avenue in 1952, which was then named Marfranken after the whole family. This story continues on in ‘Tugboat Tales at Marfranken’ for the 217-1 Avenue property.

During her annual holiday to the family cottage, Mary Ellen and her family would borrow her brother's pontoon boat to journey around the lake and see all the beautiful cabins along the shoreline. On one such trip had Mary Ellen thinking out loud to her partner John that they should retire at Ma-Me-O Beach. Mary-Ellen loved living at the lake every summer and always wanted to retire in a small town just like she grew up in at Camrose. She and John were even the first couple to be married in the new St.Theresa's church at Ma-Me-O.

Street View of 405A-2 Avenue

In 2004, Mary Ellen and her husband John Herman bought 405A-2 Avenue from Rose and Larry Fipke who were selling via their realtor, who was also a Ma-Me-O resident, Jim Duggan. They were sold by the guesthouse to sleep up to eight guests, a lovely greenhouse, garage and a workshop for John to putter away in. The original cabin was built by Mister and Missus Dolittle. When this property was first developed, the guest house was actually built before the main cabin. The guest house was fitted with its own furnace and had a stove, fridge and sink in it initially. The Dolittle’s lived in the bunkhouse for many years while they built the main cabin. The final design for the cabin was completed to include a pot belly stove which was eventually replaced with a big skylight. After moving into the cabin in 2005, the Herman’s installed a fireplace in the main cabin to complete the quintessential cabin with fireside views. Their property can now host up to 17 people with plenty of room to spare.

After retiring out at the lake, Mary Ellen got involved with a quilt club at Mulhurst, the Gold Club, the Curling Club, the Sunsetters Senior’s Group and the Pigeon Lake Child and Family Society. John joined the Lions and the Legion and the Seniors and the Golf and Curling Clubs too. Mary Ellen has continued on to support families in the area through the PLSFS, with a focus on artistic and musical engagement with youth through local schools and the Santa’s Elves program.

John and Mary Ellen were married for 25 glorious years and spent their golden years together, retired at Ma-Me-O Beach. Many hours were spent creating an amazing garden full of flowers and joining with friends and relatives around a campfire. Their cabin continues to be a wonderful gathering place for family; especially the grandchildren. The connections go beyond the cabin with many neighbours, family and friends who either own or rent cabins along the roads of Ma-Me-O Beach. The cabin at 405A-2 Avenue remains a warm, welcoming place for all to gather and embrace life at the lake.

That's all for now folks! Stay tuned for our next post as more stories are collected and submitted.

~History Book Team~

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