Showing posts with label in memoriam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label in memoriam. Show all posts

Sunday, April 7, 2019

In Memoriam: George Courage (1943-2019)

A dark-bearded George Courage with the board of the NHT, 1981! (Source: The Trident)

George Robert Courage
November 24, 1943 - April 05, 2019

I was saddened today to hear of the passing of George Courage, one of the great supporters and animators of the heritage conservation movement in St. John’s. I met George shortly after I started working at the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1996. It wasn’t hard at that point to cross paths with George in heritage circles; he seemed to be everywhere I went.  At that point, he had already been involved with the heritage community for decades.

In the 1980s, George had been one of the Newfoundland Historic Trust volunteers who had organized their downtown historic walking tours, and had helped organize the first Old Home Renovation Fair. He was a dedicated heritage volunteer, and I was fortunate to serve as a board member under him during his (second) time as president of the Trust. He served twice as president, at least once as treasurer, and fulfilled other committee positions. He was on the Association of Heritage Industries Steering Committee, was secretary of the Newfoundland Historical Society, treasurer of HFNL, and a volunteer with Doors Open.

I probably got to know George best a few years after I met him. In 1999, he headed up a project on behalf of the Trust for Soiree 1999 to commemorate the fiftieth year of Confederation. George had an idea to curate an exhibit of house models, and he roped me into his scheme. He scoured both Town and Bay to find models and miniatures of traditional Newfoundland houses and buildings: everything from doll houses and church models to pieces of folk art he convinced people to let him borrow off their lawns. He, along with Nancy Cook and Ruth Canning, wrote up a catalog with a history of each of these quirky pieces of art, and the whole thing went up on display at the old Art Gallery in the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre.  In 2001, George was awarded the Manning Award by the Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador for the exhibit, recognizing him for Excellence in the Public Presentation of Historic Places.  It was a lot of fun, and a great introduction to the sort of engaging programming that a young public folklorist like me might be able to do in the future.

For the past two decades, I was sure to run into George at heritage events, markets, downtown rambles, and city meetings. He was eternally active, engaged, and curious, and always had a moment to chat. He was a gentleman.

I’ll miss him, and his infectious grin. Thank you, George, for being one of my heritage mentors.

- Dale Jarvis

Sunday, December 4, 2016

In Memoriam: John F. Young - #CollectiveMemories Stephenville

Earlier this year, I had the good fortune to be the folklorist-in-residence for the Friendly Invasion 2016, a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the closing of Harmon Air Force Base in Stephenville.

Over a few days, I conducted a pile of oral history interviews, most of which you can listen to here. I met a lot of people over those few short days, but one of the gentlemen who stood out was John F. Young, who was born in 1927. He was one of those many Americans who had come up to Newfoundland and lived and worked at Harmon AFB. 

John was one of our participants in the incredibly successful "Sharing the Memories – stories of Harmon AFB" event we held at the Can-Am Lodge. John told stories about coming to Harmon in those early years, and his humour was one of the highlights of the evening.  I've blogged about that event before, where you can listen to the full recording of the event.

I was able to sit down with John and do a longer one-on-one oral history interview with him. Over the course of an hour, we talked about his early life, coming to Stephenville, meeting his wife in Newfoundland, his work with the weather service, the Cuban missile crisis, and his love for hunting and fishing in Newfoundland. 

That entire interview has been placed online on Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative, and if you have an hour, give it a listen or download the mp3 here.

Over the past few months, his daughter Tracy has been giving me updates on John's condition. He hadn't been well at the time of our interview, but his doctor had given him clearance to make one final trip to Newfoundland. Tracy wrote that she had been inspired by our oral history work to do some of her own, and had been getting John to tell her some of his stories. 

I got a text from Tracy Saturday night to tell me that John had passed away. I only met him a couple times over that week in Stephenville this summer, but he stands out in my memory of that celebration. I was honoured to have spent some time with him and to have been given the chance to record some of his stories.

A memorial and Military Honors ceremony will be held on December 10, 2016, at 2:00pm in Valdosta, Georgia.  You can read John's obituary here, or if you enjoyed listening to his tales, you can make a donation to the National Audubon Society or the Disabled American Veterans Association in his memory.

Thanks for the stories and the laughs, John.

- Dale Jarvis

Monday, February 15, 2016

In Memoriam: Heritage Advocate Beve Butler, Grand Falls-Windsor

I was saddened today to learn of the passing of Beve Butler, Past President of the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society, and a friend of us here at the Intangible Cultural Heritage office. Beve was a great champion of local heritage and oral history, and the key motivator behind the Heritage Foundation of NL's work to digitize the oral history collections of Mr. Hiram Silk.

Catherine Simpson of the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society wrote today on Facebook:
Beve was a force of nature, and not only in heritage circles---a person with a huge heart and boundless enthusiasm who inspired all of us with her dedication and passion. She was a tireless champion of heritage to the end. 
I will miss Beve and her enthusiasm for local heritage. I am thankful, however, that I had a chance to sit down with Beve at her home last year, and record some of her stories of her early life. We chatted about everything from her childhood years in Grand Falls and Lethbridge, to her Christmas memories, children's games, and her life in education. You can listen to that interview on Memorial University's Digital Archive Initiative.

A reception will be held at the Royal Canadian Legion on Queen Street in Grand Falls-Windsor on Wednesday, 17th February, 2016, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, for anyone who would like to come together to share memories of Beve and to express their sympathies to the family.