This week’s photograph may seem out-of-season. It shows a float from the 1978 Homecoming parade, held 36 years ago on Canada Day weekend. However, it was chosen for a reason. The float was prepared for the parade by the Bank of Montreal. Sitting regally in an elevated position at the back is the local branch’s long-serving staff member, Jean Copeland. By the time she retired, Jean had worked for the bank for 41 years.
On this beautiful float, each person is wearing a banner representing one of Canada’s 10 provinces and, as they pass the Opera House on Water Street, clearly everyone is having a grand time. Many faces are familiar but this column is concentrating on Jean who died recently, Nov. 19, age 86. On the float, she represents Newfoundland.
The photograph shows the pleasure and enthusiasm that Jean put into every activity that came her way. Her affection for her family’s church, Woodham United, was deep but when that church was forced to close in 2013, she accepted that she would, from then on, attend church in nearby Kirkton. But first she made many useful contributions to the displays and written histories of Woodham Church in its final celebration of its rich heritage.
She was a dedicated life-member of the Women’s Institute and as recently as last August, although she was just out of hospital, she enjoyed a day-long Institute event at the Kirkton-Woodham Community Centre. Her many friends were delighted to see her there — a bit thin and pale but dressed to perfection.
She loved to quilt, partly because it was something she was skilled at doing, but also for the fellowship, whether at one of the two guilds she belonged to or around the quilting frame at the Friendship Centre. She enjoyed the company of others and made quilting sessions lively, telling good stories, often at her own expense. One of her quilts was chosen for display at the 2013 International Plowing Match and she was delighted.
She was a long-time director of the St. Marys Historical Society and an important presence around the table. At the October meeting, she clearly was looking forward to the various projects ahead. Although she had not been able to take her turn at providing lunch for some time, all the members fondly remember her cream cheese sandwiches.
The St. Marys Museum will be holding its Christmas open house this Sunday afternoon, Dec. 7, and everyone will have a great time. Those of us who attend regularly will think of Jean who loved this event, contributing items for the Penny Auction, taking part in Snapdragon and enjoying the music of the Stonetown Minstrels.