Jessie McCrady: An inspiring, incredible woman

Screen Shot 2013-06-22 at 9.59.10 AMMany people on Prince Edward Island feel sad today to hear of Jessie McCrady’s death at the Pallitative Care Unit on June 20th. It is less than a year that Jessie was diagnosed with cancer. We offer our sincere sympathy to her family: Peter, JoAnne and little Ocean. The past few months have been very difficult for her family but a time when they and all who knew her were amazed at her faith, her inner strength, and her courage. Jessie inspired people her entire life. Two weeks ago this website told the inspiring story of the cookbook sales Jessie organized to make money for the Pallitative Care Unit. That was typical of Jessie and one of the many reasons she will be missed.

Jessie was not one to feel sorry for herself because there were always others she felt needed help, needed money, or needed cheering up. She gave of herself to many people and causes. Each of us will have their favourite memories but some reflect everyone’s experience with our friend Jessie.

Jessie was a member of the Clyde River Women’s Institute for several years. She brought good cheer to our meetings and hosted meetings and “fun” times at Diss Hill farms. A favourite memory is the night that many of us donned our bathing suits and got into their Hot Tub for laughs and even a sing-song. In the large “party” room that Jessie and Peter made, we enjoyed games and food, of course. There was always food as part of social events at the McCradys. Jessie played the piano for the community Christmas party for many years and if there was a program, Jessie was always game to take part in a skit, like Seven Old Ladies, or Gramma got run over by a Reindeer. She helped with the Apple Pie Festivals and, if she thought the climate needed more fun, she would get the other volunteers joining in for a sing along. The lovely piano bench cover that looks great in the Riverview Community Centre was donated by Jessie McCrady.

The Cornwall Pastoral Charge will greatly miss Jessie. She played for both the Kingston and New Dominion church services for many years. The Choirs loved choir practices at Jessie’s house. You can imagine the laughter as they enjoyed a cup of tea and muffin or sweets. Jessie hosted the annual Christmas parties for church staff. The  Cornwall Church Choir joined Jessie’s choirs at the McCradys for a summer party and, of course, singing around their piano in their ‘party” room.

At every fundraiser Kingston and New Dominion held, like pancake breakfasts, teas and suppers, Jessie would do way more than her share of baking and cooking and would get helpers staying upbeat throughout the event. Jessie was perhaps the first to welcome the Reverends Nigel and Jean into her home and they became very good friends. One year Jessie and Rev. Jean organized a Christmas in the Stable event and the Sunday Schools (and adults too) will not forget hearing Rev. Jean telling the Christmas story in Jessie’s barn. And we can’t forget the play that  Kingston Church put on where Jessie had one of the lead roles. She was such a great sport. Jessie and her friend Serita could have everyone laughing while learning and working.

A tribute to Jessie would not be complete without mentioning her love of horses. She took such good care of her horses and, indeed, everybody else’s horses if she felt they needed a place to stay. Jessie has many horse-loving friends who will miss her guidance and encouragement. There are some of us who benefited from Jessie’s horses even if we didn’t share her love of them. Jessie would frequently take her faithful blue truck to town to get a ½ ton of carrots for her horses but before she went home, she would make several stops to drop off a bucket of carrots.

This website did a nice story on Diss Hill Farms last year and then Vivian Beer featured lovely pictures of the McCrady property in her book “Landscape of Memories”, featuring Clyde River. Jessie was very proud of these pictures and jokingly told me, “Vivian is a very good photographer; it’s amazing that no weeds showed up in those photos.” In this book, there’s a picture of Jessie and Peter’s granddaughter Ocean and their family dog. Jessie loved dogs and cats almost as much as horses but she was delighted with Ocean and proudly took her to events from the time she was a tiny baby.

I, Emily Bryant, received many gifts from Jessie – gifts from the heart, like beans when their garden had an overabundance; the best red pepper jelly ever, fresh muffins on a Christmas morning, touching emails or jokes, a phone call with a story worth telling or support when there was too much stress around and the gift of laughter. Mostly, I will miss the laughter Jessie always brought. Even during her illness, she could chuckle at small everyday happenings. Many of you received and valued similar gifts. For all of us who loved Jessie’s kindness, her unique ways and her incredible capacity to help others, we applaud and appreciate her life well and fully lived.

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  1. Victoria MacPhail on June 21, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Wow, what a lovely remembrance. Thank you for sharing this with us all, Emily. A tribute Jessie would try to play down, as she was not one for being in the spotlight, but so true nonetheless.

  2. Valerie Paton on June 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this part of her life with those of us who knew her from other walks in life. Jessie gave Tigger an extra life he would not have had without her generosity. This is just one of the many gifts of Jessie, and through this, I received the gift of a lifetime friendship with an extraordinary woman, I am only sorry it was such a short “lifetime” I got to spend with her. Her spirit will live on in me, in honor of what she did for me and tigger. May I have permission to post your lovely remembrance on our facebook cookbook site?
    thank you

  3. clyderiver on June 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Yes, Valerie, absolutely, please share.

  4. Sharon Sawyer on June 22, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I was so sorry to hear of Jessie’s passing. I remember our conversations about living in Clyde River and Jessie’s horse rescue efforts. She was always so friendly and welcoming. We’ll miss her very much.

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