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Archive for the ‘In Memoriam’ Category

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.

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Hilda Beer

Hilda Beer attending Landscape of Memories book launch at Riverview Community Centre

In writing memorials for our community website, one knows it is only a matter of time before you must write one for a dear family member. Emily Bryant had kindly prepared the lovely tribute to my mother back in 2012. The other challenge for me now is to write a piece on someone who would not want me to be too showy in my praise.

When I reflect back on a woman I have known my entire life, who I grew up next to and who was my second mother, it is difficult to narrow down the many wonderful memories and qualities that I cherish. She represents a generation that is all but gone from our lives. The Murray Diaries written by Hilda’s grandmother offer insight into what built this generation of strong and steady folks, not easily knocked down by events or influenced by trends. They knew where they came from and their values, they knew their relations from near and far and they abided by their faith at all times. They were born at the end of The Great War and lived through The Depression and World War II. They were there for each other during times of celebration and times of sorrow. They saw unprecedented growth in technology and medical advances but never lost sight of the difference between a need and a want. They considered life to be a precious gift.

Aunt Hilda’s mother Katherine lived until she was 100 years old, having descended from strong MacDonald genes, the same as my mother and their long-living cousins. Hilda’s father, Wallace Murray, died when she was nine years old. I had the honour of transcribing 5 of the 15 years of Murray diaries (1911-1926) that recounted her father’s daily life which she joyfully read. I still recall the time she came over to scan and enlarge a small family photo when she had a chance to see the face of her father and she kept it framed in her bedroom from then on.

Aunt Hilda was my mother’s first cousin, their mothers, Katie and Janie, were sisters. The two families were very close. They lived directly across from each other, one on the Clyde River side and the other on the Meadowbank side of the river, and as kids, they would run down to the bottom of the fields to talk across the water. As young women, they married brothers Arnold and John Beer, so we children, Blois, Doreen and I, were double relations and neighbours to their children Donna and Fred. Cousins and sisters-in-law Hilda and Hazel enjoyed working and raising their families on a farm, were members of Burnside Presbyterian Church, participated in the Missionary Society and were life members of the Clyde River Women’s Institute.

The W.I. ladies remember Hilda as a dedicated, graceful and humble worker – beautiful inside and out. She was true to the Mary Stewart Collect. She preferred to be in the background, but her quiet strength was a great source of wisdom. She was a wonderful baker and took pride in the presentation of food and arranging things to look nice. Audrey MacPhee recalls Hilda then in her 90s arriving at the Centre with her basket over her arm which held goodies for the Strawberry Social, even though it wasn’t expected, and her saying “Oh, it’s not much”. Also, in her 90s, she came both days to the Apple Pie Festival and “crimped to perfection” dozens and dozens of pies, all the while enjoying the camaraderie of other community volunteers and instructing young helpers.

Hilda believed in living a healthy lifestyle. She ate organic vegetables from her own garden before it was popular to do so and walked every day that she could. She and Uncle Arnold only retired from farming in their early 70s but continued a regimen of daily walks to the back fields of their property. They graciously hosted many visiting Beer, Darrach, and Murray relatives; church guests; and family gatherings at their home. After Uncle Arnold’s passing in 2001, she spent winters in Charlottetown but enjoyed summer retreats back at her country homestead. We enjoyed visiting her there and she always had delicious cookies. She was blessed with great health up until a year ago when she developed Fibrosis which compromised her breathing. Her mind and memory were intact. She was a valuable resource on Clyde River history projects and attended many of the historical lectures and events along with her daughter Donna.

Hilda was proud of her family – Donna (Glydon) and Fred (Jeannie), her grandchildren Joelle (José), Jason and Jeff (Mariska), and she was especially blessed to live long enough to see her great-grandchildren Jonas, Jorgia, Henry and Matilda. Each one of her family has a knitted afghan that she lovingly made for them over long Island winters.

Aunt Hilda was part of a generation of solid folks that offer great examples of how to live life well.

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screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-3-10-00-pmIt is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of Douglas Stewart Gillespie of Clyde River. Doug was an active community member, having served as councillor for 8 years and then Chair of the Clyde River Community Council for the past 11 years. He was very proud of Clyde River and all the great things that had been achieved over the years. And he was also proud that we had a website to broadcast all the good news to our larger online community, including his Gillespie cousins.

Clyde River was his home place and he spent his early days at Clyde River School. He grew up on the Bannockburn Road, nearby his current home that he and Thelma built after they returned from New Brunswick and where they raised their three children Ryan, Amanda and Mark.

Doug was a Clyde River booster. He helped found and promote (and peel apples) at the annual Apple Pie Festival. He made a point of having Council recognize and celebrate achievements of community residents by presenting plaques, sending cards and adding news to the website. He led the campaign to have Emily Bryant awarded an Order of Prince Edward Island. He encouraged Council to support the production of the History and Stories of Clyde River book.

As Council Chair, he oversaw the formation of the Friends of Clyde River which is actively preserving and promoting Clyde River and Island history. On behalf of Council and the community, he made many contacts with government regarding issues such as road safety and turning lanes, signage, infrastructure proposals, emergency preparedness – all in the interest of keeping Clyde River the safe and attractive community it has always been.

Doug regularly attended Burnside Presbyterian Church where he was a member and had served as one of its trustees.

Doug was very proud of his family and his Gillespie heritage. He would always be ready to tell the story of the mineral that was discovered by his ancestor Frank Gillespie in 1922 in Alaska – story here. When Vivian Beer came across a poem that Frank had written about his PEI home, he sent it to his niece Patricia Murray who translated it to a song and performed it at a Concert in the Park held at Murchison Place Park. He was keen to celebrate his dear daughter Amanda’s accomplishment of receiving her Bachelor of Education, story here, and helped us connect with his wife Thelma when she took her adventure in the North, story here, and share his visit from Gillespie Cousins, story here.

On behalf of the community, we wish to offer our condolences to his family. We will continue to champion our community in his memory.

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For those of us who attended Clyde River School in the late 60s-70s, we cannot let this week go by without honouring our music teacher Phyllis Newman who passed away at the age of 94. Her in memoriam highlights what an extraordinary woman she was.

Phyllis spent most of her life involved with music. She started playing piano at an early age and served as organist and choir director for over six decades at various churches including Cornwall, New Dominion, Kingston and Park Royal United Churches. In the days of one and two room rural schools, she worked as a traveling music teacher. She is remembered for organizing and participating in school and church concerts. She volunteered her talents for many charitable and fund raising efforts and played at numerous nursing and seniors’ homes. In the days before dial telephones, Phyllis operated the New Haven rural telephone exchange for The Island Telephone Co. for many years out of her home in New Haven. Phyllis and Stanley operated a tourist home and motel in New Haven for twenty years.

To the students at Clyde River School, she was Mrs. Newman, and when she arrived for music class, we did as we were told. We lined up in rows according to height and began with our scales “do re me fa so la ti do”.

With Mrs. Newman, music was not an optional, elective course; it was mandatory. We were there to learn how to sing, and sing we did, although it is possible that those who were vocally challenged learned young how to move their mouths to the music without making a sound. We prepared for upcoming school concerts held in the community hall just a short walk down the road. As the event date approached, we performed our final rehearsals in the hall…such an air of excitement among us as we summoned any God-given talent we had.

Mrs. Newman taught us how to prepare for a performance. Yes, she’d have to be strict to keep us on task and help us overcome any anxieties, but when I think back, she taught us some valuable life skills. We learned that there are times when we have to step outside our comfort zone, learn something new and stand in front of peers and community to perform. So, in order to do well (not embarrass ourselves too badly), we had to commit to the task, practice, play on the team, hold up our end, give it all we had, so on the day of the performance, we knew we had done our best. And our audience applauded us. Our parents breathed freely once again. These life skills are exactly the ones that drive people to succeed in life.

So if we have gone above and beyond at any point in our lives and we had Mrs. Newman as our music teacher in our early school years, she is one of the good people we can thank.

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Ralph MacDonald

Former long-term Clyde River resident Ralph MacDonald has passed away. Ralph grew up and lived for many years on what is now called Herlihy Drive and had worked at the Experimental Farm. Recently, he has been living at Whisperwood Villa with his wife Ora (Ballem) MacDonald in Charlottetown. His only sibling is Florence Diamond who lives in Winsloe. He is predeceased by his parents Daniel and Esther (Chowan) MacDonald. Ralph has many relatives in Clyde River including first cousins Hazel Beer, Lorne MacLean, Hilda Beer and the late Lloyd Murray.

http://www.islanddeaths.com/2011/03/ralph-archibald-macdonald/

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Clyde River lost a good friend on Feb. 1, 2011 when Lloyd A. Murray, the community’s oldest life-long resident died. Many feel the loss of a fine friend and neighbour. Lloyd was respected by everyone, and we remember him with thanks and admiration.

Lloyd was known for his kindness, interest in his family and community, and faithfulness to his church. With wonder, neighbours marvelled at Lloyd’s practice of driving to Cornwall every morning to check out the day and buy a coffee – pretty impressive at 95. With humbleness, calmness and strength of character, Lloyd adjusted to changes in his life and found something positive in whatever life brought his way.

Lloyd Murray was born in 1915, so one can only imagine the changes he saw throughout his lifetime. When he was only 13, his father Wallace died, leaving his mother Katie and three children Lloyd, Everett and Hilda. Lloyd took over the farm at this young age and worked hard for many years, taking care of this land and raising dairy and beef cattle. Lloyd Murray also drove the mail and, for years, he and his wife Alma were caretakers of the school next door. He housed many a horse while the owners attended a function at the hall, school or church. The Murray farm overlooks the Clyde River, and for 95 yrs., Lloyd lived in the historic plank house and watched the tides and the sun rise and set over the River. He had a keen memory and his insights added credibility to the writing of the Clyde River history (2009).

Lloyd married his dear wife Alma (nee MacPhee) in 1936 and they had two children. Joan and Byron. Alma died in 2008 and Lloyd deeply missed her. “Bamp”, a much-loved grandfather to Pam, Kerrilee, Patricia, and Jocelyne, was thrilled by the arrival of 6 great-grandchildren. He was grateful for the kindness shown by his family and spoke highly of his children, grandchildren and their spouses. Lloyd’s sister Hilda Beer still lives in this community and they were very close. His only brother Everett died in 2002. His sister-in-law Irene lives in Charlottetown.

At Mr. Lloyd Murray’s largely-attended funeral, Rev. Steven Stead’s words highlighted the goodness of this respected man. The ladies of Burnside Presbyterian Church were pleased to provide a reception following the service, and this time gave Lloyd’s family, friends and neighbours a chance to honour Lloyd in the church he loved.

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