LOCAL HISTORIANS, REG AND MILDRED BEERE
Farley Wuth, Curator,
Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village
Copyright, Pincher Creek & District Historical Society
Reginald H. Beere (1917 – 2004), best known to his friends and colleagues as Reg, truly was a local historian at heart. The long time business education teacher at Pincher Creek’s Matthew Halton High School spent most of his volunteer hours and retirement years helping in a variety of capacities with the Pincher Creek and District Historical Society. For close to two decades through the early 1990s, he adeptly served as the Society’s Secretary-Treasurer, carefully recording the minutes from the many meetings (now an intriguing archival record of local history), handling the correspondence and painstakingly managing the many accounts overseeing early innovative heritage projects at the area’s museum – the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village.
Yet Reg’s interest in local history – truly a reflection of his upbringing in the nearby Springridge District where his parents A. H. and Mary Beere were farmers – went much further than just serving on the executive. A hands-on volunteer, he was constantly collecting artifacts and developing new exhibits at our creekside museum, taking particular pride in the small yet growing set of historical cabins outback. The soft-spoken Reg was not shy in working with the public and enthusiastically led many a tour through the facility. One of his favourite events, also popular for many years with local seniors, was the annual Kootenai Brown Tea held annually the third Sunday in July.
Reg’s wife, the former Mildred Smith who was a daughter of a United Church minister from east central Alberta, played recreational hockey as a youth. She too had an abiding fascination with Canadian history and put in as many volunteer hours helping preserve our community’s history as did her husband of over half a century. One of Mildred’s particular interests was local historical publications and she was the one who suggested the naming of Prairie Grass to Mountain Pass, truly reflective of the unique landscape of the Pincher Creek area. Also instrumental in the re-issuing of the Pincher Creek Memoirs book more than forty years ago, she built upon the community’s tradition of gathering priceless historical photos for publication.
Reg and Mildred Beere resided in a rambling one-and-a-half storey house at the east end of Pincher Creek that dated back to the late 1800s and which once served as the Rectory for St. John’s Church of England, now the oldest surviving Anglican Parish in all of Alberta.
The dedication of this community minded couple in preserving local history resulted in the naming of the old museum building, constructed in two stages in 1972 and 1980, in their honour when the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village was expanded in 2001 to include Pioneer Place.