In Memoriam: Wanda Jean MacPhail
We are pleased to share this lovely memoriam submitted by Emily Bryant.
People who remain in the same area for their entire life have an opportunity to make a lasting impact on their home communities and they are a vital link for their families and neighbours. Wanda Jean MacPhail is a perfect example of one who has made an important contribution to her life long communities. Clyde River and New Haven lost a favourite long-time resident when Wanda Jean MacPhail (Livingstone) died on January 20, 2018. Of course, Wanda’s loving family, including her husband Eric, will miss Wanda most of all but all of us who had the privilege of knowing her have fond memories of this hard-working, kind woman who was friendly and welcoming to all.
Sympathy is extended to Wanda’s faithful loving family who include her husband Eric P. MacPhail, her daughters Ann and Ruth, son-in-law Allan Nelson and daughter-in-law Jo-Ann. As well, Wanda was a proud grandmother to Mark (Megan), Victoria, and Peter MacPhail, Callie and Drew Nelson, and Grace MacPhail-Wagner.
As the only child of Watson and Lillian (Hyde) Livingstone, Wanda grew up listening to a lot of adult conversation. Her mother had kept a scrapbook of community events and Wanda, who has always valued community, carefully protected this information for many years. When the history of Clyde River was developed a decade ago, this scrapbook was a valued source of historical information. Wanda’s stories and insights were a big help as well.
It is hard to even say Wanda or Eric without saying them together ‘Wanda and Eric’, as they were a life long team. They always knew each other as, even though Eric’s family lived in New Haven, Eric chose to attend school in Clyde River – probably influenced by Wanda Livingston, a beautiful young girl. Eric and Wanda were married in 1949 and were devoted spouses for almost 70 yrs.
Wanda grew up living and working on the Livingstone farm and when she married Eric, she lived and worked on the MacPhail farm. She worked harder than most people realized and harder than most of us would or could. Not only was Wanda a dedicated mother and homemaker, but Eric would be the first to say that Wanda did more than her share of work with pursuits that he initiated such as growing cucumbers, turnips, strawberries, or summer savoury or building and operating several cottages in Argyle Shore –Desired Haven.
Clyde River and New Haven Women’s Institutes have benefited greatly from Wanda’s faithful service as did the Baptist Church in Clyde River. Wanda made and served hundreds of squares and sandwiches to help these causes. She also helped friends and neighbours experiencing illness or loss. Her kindness, quiet manner and good nature inspired everyone.
Working with the small committee that wrote the community history, I had the privilege of spending a lot of time with Wanda and Eric. I enjoyed these hours and we all were richer by the contribution they made to the book: The History and Stories of Clyde River. They offered wonderful oral history and interesting and humorous stories. Eric could eloquently describe many aspects of life in this community, but it was Wanda who laughed and was animated when she talked about Clyde River School and the fun she and her friends had at the River or when playing games. (I saw the same twinkle in her eyes when she spoke of her grandchildren.)
Wanda was happy that their daughter Ruth chose to live in the Livingstone house. This historic house on the Clyde River Road was built in 1840 and, beginning in 1998, it was lovingly restored by Eric and Wanda. By 2003, these renovations were completed by Ruth and Allan Nelson and they have lived there ever since.
When Wanda and Eric moved into Burnside Community Care, Wanda could look out at the River she loved and her childhood home. Sadly, illness took away some of Wanda’s joy and the last months have not been easy for her. It is important for us to remember Wanda as the kind, strong, smiling wife, mother and community worker that she was for most of her long life. I think she would want this to be her legacy.
Rest in Peace, Wanda Jean MacPhail.