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Hay River loses pioneer

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Monday, March 21, 2011

HAY RIVER - One of Hay River's most beloved and respected residents has died.

Irma Miron - a town pioneer, former teacher and history enthusiast - died on March 16 at the age of 89.

Miron, who was born in Glendon, Alta., first came to Hay River in 1949 when the community was just a shadow of what it is today.

She began teaching in Alberta in 1942 and continued that career in Hay River, starting in 1950 at what was then known as the Indian Day School (later the Federal Day School). She also taught at St. Paul's Catholic School, where she served as vice-principal, and at Princess Alexandra School.

Except for several years away from teaching when her three girls were young, Miron taught until retiring in 1986.

"She was passionate about education and her career meant the world to her. She poured her heart into those students," said her daughter Barb Miron of Fort Smith.

Barb Miron said her mother taught three generations of Hay River students. "She was teaching the grandchildren of her original students by the time she retired."

When asked if her mother was proud of her teaching career in Hay River, Barb Miron replied, "My mom was a very humble person. She was proud of her students and their achievements."

Throughout the years, Irma Miron mostly taught children in Grade 1.

Her contributions to education in the North were recognized last year when she was inducted into the NWT Education Hall of Fame.

"We were so thankful that she lived to get that award," said Barb Miron.

Irma Miron originally moved to Hay River after her late husband, Hector, came north to fish on Great Slave Lake.

The couple's contributions to the community were recognized by the Town of Hay River, which named a major street Miron Drive in their honour.

In 1989, Irma Miron published 'West Channel Memories', her recollections of the early days and the people of that fishing area in Hay River.

"She often described it as the happiest time in her life. Back in the West Channel when everybody knew everybody and the friendships were really close," said Barb Miron.

Irma Miron loved Hay River and never considered leaving the community when she retired, said her daughter. "It was the only place on Earth."

She loved the friendly people, the natural surroundings, the birds and Great Slave Lake, along with her memories of the town.

Miron was also very involved in the West Channel Fishermen's Heritage Society and the Hay River Museum Society.

During her retirement, she also volunteered at, among other places, Princess Alexandra School, Woodland Manor and the Hay River Thrift Shop. Plus, she travelled around Canada and into the United States.

Miron was a long-time member of St. Andrew's Anglican Church.

"She was part of everything," said Rev. Vivian Smith, who knew Miron for seven years. "She was a vibrant lady."

Funeral services were scheduled for March 21.

In honour of Miron's passion for nature and animals, her family is asking people to make donations in lieu of flowers to the Hay River Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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