Archive for the ‘In Memoriam’ Category

(Photo of Clyde River Pioneer Cemetery)

Since we launched the Cemetery Stories course at the beginning of November, it has grown in popularity. We originally were focused on Clyde River and area, but we received high interest from other communities and provinces and even from the US and England. We decided to open it up, and we now have 70 participants from across PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, California, Alabama, Georgia, Vermont, Massachusetts and England.

We received coverage in The Guardian, on CBC Mainstreet and the CBC PEI website. The CBC coverage doubled our registration within a day. Here is a link to the CBC article. We also received attention from Canadian historians and professors and they shared information on our course on their social media pages.

Cemetery Stories is a self-directed course and it’s free. We provide the curriculum outline that includes suggested readings and activities. We change topic every two months. The course runs until August 2021. Participants choose the cemetery/ies and individuals to research. Each participant is encouraged to prepare brief biographies (approx. 200-500 words) of six people within the cemetery/ies they choose.

We promote collaboration among participants, as we highlight the family names that each is researching. Through these collaborations, you can share research tips/findings and feedback on biography development. Biographies could be of ancestors, friends or an individual whose headstone struck your interest. Questions are provided to assist in biography development.

We have a few registrants from Clyde River, and we welcome more to join in. There is always an option to create a local community study group that can work together. The biographies would become an important contribution to the history of our local cemeteries. They would introduce future generations to the people that helped to build the community they live in. Here is the study outline:

Study Plan:

  1. Understanding cemetery history and gravestone design (November- December 2020)
  2. Gathering family names, photos and obituaries (January-February 2021)
  3. Gathering family stories (March-April 2021)
  4. Understanding how old-time residents managed their health (May-June 2021)
  5. Individual free time to explore and organize your research findings (July 2021)
  6. Clyde River & Area Cemetery Tours (August 2021)

You can view the full curriculum document here. To register for the course, you can link here. If you have any specific questions, please contact Vivian Beer at clyderiverpei@eastlink.ca.

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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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Today is the 100th anniversary of Hector Murray’s death. He was killed at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. He was 18 years old. Helen Smith-MacPhail from Meadow Bank, a Clyde River Lectures Series presenter, visited his grave in 2012. His picture is included in the Veteran’s wall display at the Riverview Community Centre. The gallery above includes photos of his grave; his name recorded in the registration book at Nine Elms Cemetery outside of Arras, France, where he is buried; and a letter home to his family.

Further details:

Canada’s Virtual War Memorial – Pte. Hector Murray

Community dinner for the boys going off to war

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The following is the story of HMCS Prince Henry and its WWII Adventure off Callao, Peru. It is also my father’s story. Dad served in the Royal Canadian Navy on Prince Henry for this operation and the photos he captured offer us a first-hand account of the events that took place off Callao. We incorporated some of these photos within the story and the full gallery is featured at the end. I am publishing this article to honour my father on the 100th anniversary of his birth, March 21st, 2017.

Prince Henry retrofitted in Sorel, Quebec – followed an icebreaker to make its way up St. Lawrence River to Halifax, December 1940

Prince Henry was a member of a fleet of warships known as “The Princes”. The other ships were Prince David and Prince Robert. The Princes were originally designed as small luxury liners to compete with CPR’s Princess ships on the West Coast, but when the Depression hit, they were not earning their keep. The Royal Canadian Navy acquired and retrofitted them to become arms merchant cruisers. Prince Henry was overhauled in Sorel, Quebec, and commissioned on December 4th, 1940.

John Beer and fellow seaman in Bermuda – February 1941

Prince Henry left Halifax on January 12th, 1941 for Bermuda. A stormy three-day passage introduced the crew to the ship’s quick rolling action and forced them to find their sea legs in a hurry. They arrived in Hamilton, Bermuda, for five intensive weeks of workups, exercises designed to prepare the crew for any possible emergency. Training included gunnery practices, a challenge due to Prince Henry‘s rolling tendency, making it increasingly difficult to hit targets in rough seas.

After receiving orders to support forces on the Eastern Pacific, Prince Henry left Bermuda on February 19th, arrived in Kingston, Jamaica, four days later. They replenished supplies, completed more training exercises and proceeded through the Panama Canal on February 26th.

The Allies were keen to protect the coveted Panama Canal territory from the Axis powers of Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, hence their interest in moving Latin America away from its Axis ties. Peru, in a long dispute with Columbia over territory between Peru and Ecuador, saw the war as an opportunity to use their military forces to occupy the disputed region. The United States, which was gearing up for entry into the war, wanted an end to further conflicts in Latin America by forming alliances with new President Manuel Prado Ugarteche and the Peruvian Navy. Peru was the first country to be persuaded to break away from the Axis powers and create a firm alliance with Allies, specifically the US.

British Cruiser Diomede stationed off Callao, Peru, needed assistance to disrupt German merchant ships from leaving the port at Callao. Four German merchant ships, stranded there for over a year, were closely watched by Peruvian and Allied vessels. German seamen were desperate to return home. Japan was Germany’s Ally in the Pacific, so their most likely destination.

Peruvian General visiting Prince Henry while in port at Callao

Visiting Peruvian General onboard Prince Henry while in port at Callao, March 24, 1941

Prince Henry arrived in Callao on March 1st. On March 16th, Diomede was called away, so Prince Henry took over. For awhile they anchored close by the German ships in the Callao port while arranging courtesy calls with Peruvian officials. This opportunity gave them a chance to take a closer look. The German ships were fully fueled and recently wired to fire and destroy themselves in the event of being captured. The Germans didn’t want their large cargoes to fall into Peruvian hands.

German ships (München, Leipzig, Monserrate and Hermonthis) waiting for their escape off Callao, Peru, March 24, 1941.

After leaving port and waiting and watching a few miles offshore, Captain R.I. Agnew of Prince Henry decided to move out to sea to make the German captains believe they had given up. Ten days later, at 1915, on March 31st, Prince Henry‘s Captain received a message that the Hermonthis and München had requested permission to leave Callao port. Prince Henry was 70 miles south of Callao. It would take Prince Henry three hours at full speed to get back. They knew the German ships were slower, so the Canadian crew determined their exact course and speed to intercept them.

HMCS Prince Henry intercepts two German ships:

After eight hours, Prince Henry discovered München north of Callao within 15 miles. The crew of the München sighted Prince Henry and altered their course northward and then to the west. Prince Henry went in pursuit. At 0700 on April 1st, a critical strategic maneuver orchestrated by Prince Henry’s Captain Agnew moved them within 6 miles of the German ship. They flashed the international signal, “Stop instantly or I will open fire.” München ignored the warning. Prince Henry fired a warning shot. The Germans scuttled the München. Within moments, the ship was in a cloud of smoke and the crew could be seen lowering the life boats. By the time Prince Henry reached the ship, it was in flames and not salvageable.

German ship sighted, but it was already scuttled

German ship sighted, but it was already scuttled

With the German crew safe in their small boats and heading towards Peru, Prince Henry proceeded full speed southward in search of the other ship, Hermonthis. Four hours later, they saw German ship on the horizon to the southeast. The ship was already on fire and the crew was lowering boats to escape. Prince Henry drew alongside and lowered her cutter to round up one of the German boats.

It looked as though the ship could be saved. They ordered the Germans back on the ship to fight the blaze. Prince Henry secured herself to the side of the German ship. The Canadian crew attempted to extinguish the fire. The heat was intense.

After four hours, they succumbed to the realization that they were losing the battle. The sea was rough. The ships were smashing and grinding against each other and the hoses were breaking. Hermonthis could not be saved. The Prince Henry along with the first group of German prisoners went in search of the Germans in the other two life boats.

After the remaining German crew were brought onboard Prince Henry, they shot gunfire at the Hermonthis to sink her. They returned to the site of München to destroy her, but it had already been destroyed by a Peruvian cruiser that had also recovered the German crew.

German prisoner

German prisoner

In retaliation for the Germans scuttling their ships, the Peruvian government seized two Deutsche Lufthansa planes and property, an airline 100% German owned and operating in Peru. Consequently, Pan-American Grace Airlines (Panagra), which was closely collaborating with the US, increased flight services within Peru, driving out German air operations.

Intercepting two German ships in the Callao operation was considered Prince Henry‘s outstanding achievement. Their success was attributed not to luck but to solid strategy and the ability and skill to carry it out.

Return to British Columbia

Prince Henry patrolled for three more weeks off Peru before heading to Esquimalt, B.C. on April 29th to transfer her prisoners and replenish supplies. She was to join up with Prince David on duty but that ship was due for a retrofit. In September, 1941, Prince Henry was assigned duty of depot ship for Newfoundland Escort Force.

Back in PEI

John was back in PEI to spend Christmas with his family and girlfriend Hazel MacLean before beginning his assignment to Newfoundland. The year 1941 was an eventful one within the Pacific theatre of war for a farm boy from Bannockburn Road.

John Beer’s photo collection: Click on photos to enlarge and proceed through gallery. John’s service record and editor’s notes follow below gallery.

John Eugene Beer, R.C.N.V.R. – V1340, Able Seaman, service record:

  • John enlisted with the Royal Canadian Navy in August 1940 at the Queen Charlotte Armouries in Charlottetown.
  • Three days after enlisting he was sent to HMCS Stadacona Naval Base in Halifax for basic training.
  • Drafted to Montreal to pick up the HMCS Prince Henry destined for the Pacific Ocean by way of the Panama Canal. Her mission was to capture German ships off the coast of Callao, Peru.
  • Drafted to HMCS Naden, Esquimalt, British Columbia and then to HMCS Stadacona, Halifax. He was drafted to Greenock, Scotland, crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth I which transported over 15,000 troops per trip. He was stationed in Newcastle, England, where he participated in gunnery classes.
  • Drafted to the Tribal Class destroyer HMCS Athabaskan on loan to the Royal Navy. For several months, he served on the Athabaskan, working out of Scapa Flow in the North Sea. This vessel was on striking force naval duties around Iceland, Norway and the Bay of Biscay.
  • Left the Athabaskan in Plymouth, England, returning to HMCS Niobe, a naval base in Greenock, Scotland. On a later trip to sea, the HMCS Athabaskan was torpedoed and sunk in the Bay of Biscay where 128 sailors perished, and 85 were taken prisoner of war.
  • While in Scotland, John was drafted to the destroyer HMCS Qu’Appelle on convoy duties to Newfoundland. He was drafted off this ship at St. John’s, Newfoundland, for gate vessel duties and shore patrol. He was then drafted for further gate vessel duty to Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
  • John received his discharge in October 1945 while in Esquimalt, British Columbia. He returned to Clyde River, Prince Edward Island, to his family and childhood sweetheart, Hazel MacLean. There were married on November 14th, 1945. He had purchased her diamond ring in St. John’s.

Editor’s notes:

There were four German ships in total at the port in Callao, Peru. Prince Henry intercepted München (location of capture here) and Hermonthis (location of capture here). A Peruvian warship prevented Leipzig and Monserrate from leaving port and they also scuttled their own ships.

Prince Henry stats: Pendant – F70; Armed Merchant Cruiser, Displacement – 5736 tonnes; length – 385 ft.; width – 57 ft; draught – 21 ft.; speed – 22 kts; compliment – 31 officers and 386 crew; arms – 4-4″ gns. (2×11), 2-2 pars, 8-20mm.

Materials referenced:

Photos: John Beer’s photos should not be copied without permission – please contact Vivian Beer – vivian@eastlink.ca

Reprinted: This story was also featured on the website For Posterity Sake, a Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project – story here and photos here.

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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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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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William S. Waller Sr.

By Emily and Vans Bryant – On April 18th, 2013, Clyde River lost one of its most unforgettable residents, William S, Waller Sr. Although Bill was a resident of Riverview Manor in Montague and had not lived in Clyde River for several years, he was always considered a resident of Clyde River.

Bill is survived by his daughter Margaret (Bob) MacGregor, Montague, son Bill (Betty) Clyde River, and grandchildren Robbie (Jackie), Esther and Graeme. Bill was a widower for many years and he said the happiest years of his life were when his wife Mabel was well and there was always family and friends visiting the Waller home on the Baltic Road.

Bill was one of the most unforgettable men we will ever meet. He had expressions that were priceless and, if you are lucky, you will remember some of his comical sayings. He loved to tell stories especially about horses and had the capacity to turn an everyday event into a saga that one couldn’t forget. This writer, Emily Bryant, made a list of many of Bill’s famous one – liners. He asked me if I was going to write a book and use them.

Many of Bill’s neighbours and friends have similar memories to ours. For Vans and Emily Bryant, Bill is remembered as an independent and generous neighbour who shared stories, vegetables and eggs on a regular basis. He was especially kind to Addison Livingston and, in fact, Bill Waller was the reason that Addison was able to live at the end of the Baltic Road as long as he did. The Canfields, Bill’s nearest neighbours, were especially good to him and he was a grandfather figure to the Canfield children during their formative years. Bill frequently visited Percy and Janice Scott and the Dixon family. Bill was also close to a few special old friends and his church connections. Bill Sr.’s children have always been there for their father but he was pretty independent until he left Clyde River.  Since that time Bill increasingly needed help. For a  time he lived with Margie until he required more care than possible at her home.

Bill Waller was a strong hard-working man. He had lost two fingers during World War II but this injury didn’t hold Bill back one bit. He loved horses and for many years he found joy in raising a colt from his favourite Clyde mare. Bill could train any horse to be smart and hard-working although he claimed some horses “weren’t worth the effort”. He cut hay with horses long after everyone else was using tractors. He did own a tractor but found it to be a “curse”. In his words, “it was always breaking down or costing money” just when he needed it the most. Bill Waller Jr. shared this love of horses and he has the last of the community’s draft horses and actually still has one of his father’s Clydesdales.

Many knew Bill Waller Sr. from the many years he delivered mail using a horse and wagon or sleigh and later a car. Residents in Clyde River and surrounding districts remember hearing the sleigh bells on Bill’s horses announcing the arrival of the morning mail. In bad weather, Bill said his horses could get the mail delivered when the drivers using a car couldn’t or wouldn’t even try. At Bill’s retirement party, several people spoke of the extra kindnesses that Bill Waller carried out during his years of delivering the mail. For some, it meant he left a turnip or a dozen eggs in the mailbox. For some it meant he used his strong arms to push a car out of a snow bank. For all it meant a chat about local news and a good story.

The Wallers taught Vans Bryant all about horses, and for several years Bill Sr. and Vans were a good team cutting wood. Bill Sr. cut his own firewood to heat his house until he left Clyde River at the age of 80 yrs. A talked-about memory for Vans and Bill Jr. was the time that a load of lumber rolled off the wagon as they took the load home from the woods. The logs shifted and tumbled over and as the wagon wheel rolled over Bill Jr. injuring him, Vans also twisted his ankle. As Bill Jr. got the team of horses under control, Bill Sr. ran across the field to get the car to help the two younger men.

In the days ahead, many stories will be told about Bill Waller,Sr. We hope these memories will be helpful to his family. For Bill Waller’s contribution to his country as a Veteran, for his contribution to Clyde River and the other communities where he lived, and for his colourful personality, we are glad we had the privilege of knowing him.

Visiting hours for William S. Waller will be Monday, April 22 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at the MacLean’s Funeral Home, also where the funeral service will be held in the Chapel on Tuesday, April 23 at 1:30 p.m.

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Hazel Beer

Hazel Beer spent her early life in Meadowbank and moved to Clyde River to be married, raise her family and enjoy her retirement. Hazel died at the Prince Edward Home on May 26, 2012. Hazel was a devoted mother and a role model, confidante, mentor and inspiration to her children – Blois (Audrey), Doreen (Jim Pound) and Vivian and her grandchildren, Kenny (Krista Leard) and Jennifer Pound, Andrea and Amanda Beer. Recently, Hazel was thrilled to meet her first great granddaughter Emma Lynn.

Hazel was the daughter of Harry and Janie MacLean, and a sister to Jean (MacEwen), Lorne (Sadie) and Louis (predeceased). She was predeceased by her husband John in 2004. She is survived by sisters-in-law Hilda Beer, Norma MacLean and Reta Beer.

Hazel married her childhood schoolmate John Beer when John returned home from World War II. They raised their children on the Beer “millwright’s” property, Ardmore Farm on the Bannockburn Road. Later Hazel and John moved to their retirement home on the Trans Canada Highway. In 2011, Hazel moved to Geneva Villa and enjoyed her stay there until her illness earlier this year. After hospitalization at QEH, Hazel went to the Pallitative Care Unit at Prince Edward Home. Her children were always close by.

Hazel was a life long member of the Burnside Presbyterian Church, Atlantic Missionary Society and Clyde River Women’s Institute (CRWI). In fact, Hazel was a charter member of CRWI, and the first meeting was held at her home. In 2000, Hazel was a special guest at CRWI’s 60th anniversary held at the Riverview Community Centre. Hazel taught community school for many years, teaching knitting, crocheting and quilting. She knit for missions, the hospital nursery and Canadian Red Cross.

When the History and Stories of Clyde River (2009) was being written, Hazel Beer was very helpful. Not only did she have a great memory for the past, but she had faithfully kept scrapbooks over the years, and these were extensively used throughout the development of the book.

The entire community of Clyde River will miss Hazel and will remember her friendliness and graciousness. Sincere sympathy is extended to Hazel Beer’s family.

I (Emily Bryant) am adding a personal note. When Vans and I moved to Clyde River 25 yrs. ago, Hazel and John Beer were the first people to invite us to their home. Later Hazel and I planned the celebration for the 40th anniversary of the CRWI – I, as rookie, and Hazel, providing history and wisdom. In the past few years, I would drop in from time to time to visit her in Clyde River. She always looked so nice and was so welcoming. Vans and I were honoured to sing at Hazel’s 90th birthday party and last year at a Geneva Villa event.

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