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  • Writer's pictureErin Dentzien

811-1 AVE - Community Legacy Cottagers

This property is connected to the prominent Spencer family who were known for “Spencer’s Corner” at Ma-Me-O Beach. Milton Spencer was Robert Spencer’s cousin and so related to the Spencer’s Corner family. The property at 811-1 AVE was owned by Milton and Jean Spencer for many years prior to selling to the Langelle family.

The Langelle family consists of Peter Langelle, Shirley Langelle, Jolene Langelle, Perry Langelle (Elizabeth Rempel) and grandchildren Annika and Sebastian Langelle.

Peter Langelle was a Hospital and Health Care CEO in Wetaskiwin. He was also the Board Chair of the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation, President of the Alberta Hospital Association and CEO of the Crossroads Regional Health Authority over the years. Shirley Langelle was a Real Estate Broker/Owner and a partner in Parkland agencies in Wetaskiwin, who had a satellite real estate office at the Village at Pigeon Lake until approximately 2014. Over the last 30 years Shirley has facilitated the sale of many Ma-Me-O Beach and other lake properties.

Peter had an early life history of cottage and lake living as a youth. Shirley and Peter shared a long term desire to have a cottage at a lake. Early family trips to Ma-Me-O and the sandy beach had made it the first choice. The search was on since going to Ma-Me-O Beach and with Peter away on a business trip Shirley discovered a property that fit just right. Shirley made the deposit on 811-1 AVE to purchase the property in 1991, from Milton and Jean Spencer.

An interesting fact about Jean Spencer is she had a large collection of dolls representing various countries and cultures all in appropriate dress, and was called the Ma-Me-O “doll Lady.” At the time of purchasing 811-1 AVE, Peter Langelle was the CEO of the Wetaskiwin Hospital which had just completed the construction of a new facility. The hospital had a fairly large pediatric wing. Jean and Milton had been trying to find an appropriate long term home for the doll collection as they would not be able to keep them in their new home. They subsequently donated the entire collection to the pediatric wing of the Wetaskiwin Hospital where they were housed in ground level glass cases on that ward so the children had easy visual access where they were displayed for many years. It was a great point of pride for Peter to have the connection between the previous owners and his career at the hospital.

Peter & Shirley Langelle

The existing cottage was a three bedroom, four season double-wide mobile which served the Langelle family until 2001. Those first years were a favourite family destination, filled with enjoyment for the family which involved commuting as often as possible all through the year and almost all holidays. Their intention was to retire at Ma-Me-O Beach. In 1992, Peter and Shirley made the decision to try living out at the existing cottage for one year full time. This was their test to determine if retirement out at Ma-Me-O was a desirable long term decision. Good news, IT WAS!

In 2001, Peter and Shirley removed the double wide mobile and built a new two-story cottage and moved in full time in 2002, which aligned perfectly with Peter’s retirement and Shirley’s existing satellite office at the Village at Pigeon Lake. With retirement and relocation came new opportunities for the Langelle’s within their community. Peter’s dedication and great sense of humour was known by all who met him along the beach road.

Peter served as a Ma-Me-O Beach municipal councillor from 1999-2005, and again from 2008-2021, a total of 19 years. Sadly, Peter passed away on September 18, 2021, which greatly affected the tight knit community of Ma-Me-O Beach. Peter contributed greatly to the success of the Ma-Me-O Beach History Book. Countless volunteer hours were spent going over previous Council minutes and connecting with long time residents who shaped Ma-Me-O into a vibrant community. His heart and soul became the driving force to bring the History Book project forward.

Langelle Family at Ma-Me-O Beach

Over all the years the many recreation and volunteer opportunities of the lake area offered the Langelle family, and especially their grandchildren many years of enjoyment. Peter and Shirley’s impact in the community helped to create an amazing legacy for all to enjoy. To know the Langelle’s was always to be welcomed with open arms and a story or two told around the campfire late into the night.

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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