This initiative was begun as an attempt to share the profiles of individuals with roots in the Tor Bay Acadian communities and who have provided outstanding service and accomplishments here, or in the world at large. It is our desire to have all public domains represented as entries are made.
We encourage suggestions of worthy stories and potential candidates and ask anyone to send these suggestions to us for consideration and future inductions. The main prerequisite, is that the individual either has roots to this Acadian region (not necessarily born here), served the area at some point, or has made major contributions to our/their communities, country or world.
Blair était le garçon à Percy à Simon à Manne à Pitou. Il était aussi le garçon à Lizzy à Juste à Moncheque. Il est né le 4 août 1950, et il était le sixième, et dernier enfant de la famille. His nickname as a child was peanut, due to his size; however, he took a growth spurt as a teenager and became the tallest, and arguably the strongest, of the family. He grew up to be a very good athlete in any sport that he chose, he excelled in, and became a good musician – he loved music and entertaining others and bringing smiles to people’s faces with the music he played. He was a member of the River Band – but he wasn’t a fan of his bandmate Jude’s playing. He would often, jokingly, turn off Jude’s electric guitar sound and Jude would then be left playing “an acoustic-electric guitar.” What set him aside from most others was his unselfish willingness to share his talents.
Blair was most happy when people were enjoying something that he helped to organize, such as dances that he DJ ‘ed (Sound Wheel), variety concerts, sports events, etc.
He was also a horse lover and owned many horses over the course of our childhood years. He highly enjoyed taking people on sleigh rides and horseback riding, and often brought his horses out for the annual Labour Day parade.
Blair’s life was one of giving; he was a living example of the Christian teaching “give until it hurts.” Blair did this all his life – he gave even when he believed he had nothing to give. He gave his time to entertaining others, but also to mowing people’s lawns, cutting people’s wood and giving donations to people and groups that he believed in. He often did these things at the expense of leaving his own properties and belongings at risk.
St. Augustin often asked, “what are the 3 most Christ-like qualities?” and he said “humility, humility, humility,” and Blair possessed an abundance of that. He never boasted about his skills or deeds; his aim was to help the least of his brothers, at all times, and he wished for no credit or payment of any sort for his help. If anyone had physical challenges or just needed a helping hand – it made no difference if they were strangers, old friends or new friends – he was always there to help.
Buried in Blair’s good qualities was his impatience – he had a very short fuse, when production was slowed down at the wood block or at any community project. He always sought results and wanted them yesterday.
A repairman he was not; for example, when he had a leak in the roof due to a missing board or broken shingle, that shingle stayed broken and the board stayed missing. He would use 5 gallon buckets to catch the leakage.
Never a man to show emotions, he attempted to hide the deepest of pains and the worst of disappointments. He internalized everything and never publicly complained or expressed his emotions – this, to him, was a sign of weakness, and would never reveal that. But above all, Blair was a proud Acadien. He was proud of his history of survival. He was a model community member who would rally to any needy cause and give his all to improve a bad situation. Money meant nothing to Blair; he was willing to help a stranger as much as a neighbor, any time of the day or night.
Jude, his best friend, has a story: “There was once a motorcyclist who was traveling through LR, and had an unfortunate ordeal happen. He blew a tire while riding. But in that unfortunate happening was a silver lining for that stranger – for it happened at Blair’s driveway. Blair saw the man working on his bike outside his kitchen window and immediately went to investigate. The man was driving up the eastern shore from Halifax; no service stations were open as it was Saturday, and he could not find a tire anywhere near LR. He finally found one in New Glasgow. Blair hopped in his car and took the man to NG to pick up the tire. They came back and had someone install the tire, and the man spent the night at Blair’s house before heading back out the next day with a fully repaired bike.” How much more Christian, and Acadien, does it get? That was Blair; if it had happened 5 days a week, he would’ve done the same thing. If you didn’t have gas and not gas stations near, he always had gas for his machines as well as his vehicles, and would gladly donate a jug or two if someone needed.
Losing a person of that integrity affected not only the community, but the entire region, as many people knew him. At the time of his death, he had suffered through a stroke, and had visitors with him almost every day – he enjoyed this immensely. There was a lady in his ward from the Pao’tknek nation, and he asked her to help him pronounce the name correctly, as well as expressing to her the appreciation that the Acadiens had for the Mi’kmak people and what they did for us before, during and after le Grand Derangement.
I will close with 2 quotes that I believe best describe Blair, my father, as a person. The first is “leave the world better than you found it,” and he was living proof of that. The second is a phrase he always quoted to me: “If you help someone, forget it. If someone helps you, never forget it.”
Yvonne Claire (Delorey) O’Neill was born in Larry’s River on January 24th, 1943 to Frank and Mamie (Gerroir) Delorey. She was one of 13 children with seven older and five younger siblings. Yvonne was the last of Mamie’s children to be born at home.
Growing up in Larry’s River was a simple existence without all the electronic distractions of today’s children. Toys were supplied mostly by mother nature and much time was spent outside playing with other children in the community. Indoor games were often playing school or church. As a teenager baseball was a favorite pastime as was skating on the river in winter. When she was 12 years old Yvonne travelled away from Larry’s River for the first time taking a trip to Halifax to visit cousins.
Alongside her siblings Yvonne helped with chores both in and outside the family home. Washing dishes, helping with younger siblings, cutting the hay and picking berries. Although she minimizes her contribution to the family at a young age, she developed an uncompromising work ethic that she maintains to this day. From a young age faith was very important. Yvonne recalls attending mass daily during lent and praying the rosary as a family every night. Both French and English were spoken at home though most was French. Mom recounts that prayers and the rosary were said in French though they did not always understand the words.
Yvonne attended school in Larry’s River from grades primary to 10, then travelled to Mabou, Cape Breton for grade 11. The following year the high school in Guysborough opened and Yvonne was able to attend grade 12 closer to home.
Following high school Yvonne moved to Halifax with her older sister Margaret. She got a job at the Royal Bank where she met her future husband, Dennis. They married in 1966 and by the end of the following year, with the arrival of her first child, Mom left her job at the Royal Bank and embarked on a long and very successful career as a domestic engineer. In 1970, with two young children in tow, Yvonne found herself living in an old leaky house in Golboro. She remained rooted in her parish community and the family travelled to Larry’s River every Sunday to attend mass and visit with family. In the summer of 1974, now with three children, the new house was ready and the family moved to Larry’s River permanently. Yvonne would go on to have two more children raising all five in the community of her birth.
Yvonne’s main focus has always been family, faith and community. She became an Associate of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame in 1981 – the first year it started an Associate relationship. Yvonne was a member of the first group of Associates to meet with the sisters in Montreal when decisions were being discussed on moving forward. Her commitment to St. Peter’s Parish over the years has been unwavering and Yvonne continues to work towards keeping the parish alive and thriving. Promoting and supporting others in the Catholic tradition, Yvonne actively works to ensure the spiritual life of the community continues.
Her commitment and support of her children and her siblings over the years has been fierce and unwavering. In talking about her own parents Yvonne said, “We always felt loved and well looked after. We were taught to be kind, inclusive, non-violent and compassionate. We had unconditional love.” My siblings and I are so blessed that we are able to say the very same about our mother. I think her siblings would agree.
Yvonne is a humble woman with a huge heart who is not good at “tooting her own horn”. Please join me in showing her the recognition she deserves for her years of service to her family and her Acadian community.
John Gilbert Delorey was born on July 12, 1932 in Larry’s River, one of 13 children born to Frank and Mamie (Gerroir) Delorey.
John, being one of the oldest boys, didn’t go beyond high school. He was needed at home to help with providing fire wood, gardening, berry picking, etc.
John spent a few years working at the Co-Op store in LR then a few years as cook on a fishing boat out of Port Bickerton before leaving to work for the Canadian Hydrographic Service. This work took him to many places in Canada and he shared many fond memories of his adventures in the northern communities. After 30 years working out of Ontario, John missed his family in Nova Scotia and in 1976 he moved back to Larry’s River with his wife Margaret and their son Jean-Pierre. John delighted in spending time with his siblings, sharing memories and many a crib game.
After a brief time working carpentry, he decided to start a convenience store in the former Co-Op store site. The building was deteriorating and after 5 years he had to find a new site. With the help of his brother Raymond, he was able to set up a new location which we remember as Village Grocery.
For 40 years John was able to provide groceries, odd and ends, meals when needed, snacks, directions to travellers and he was always ready to engage tourists, especially when it called for him to use his French. He was photographed many times with passing tourists who delighted in his “quaint” store. His signs were unique but we always knew what he was advertising. He didn’t need to correct the spelling; it was the way he wanted it. No matter what time he decided to head home when his day was done, he would spend time with Jean-Pierre, feeding him a snack and telling him stories. Finding himself alone when Margaret died and JP went to Nursing care, John’s social life was the “Store” and he held on to the end.
Village Grocery provided employment to many young persons over the years, a drop in spot for people to gather to have a chat and visit, and welcoming place for children to get penny candy. He always looked forward to seeing all the visiting children. John supported the community in many ways and could always be counted on to have a Village Grocery sponsored float in the annual Labour Day Picnic parade.
John is deserving of recognition not only for the longevity of his entrepreneurial spirit but also for the contribution of his store to the fabric of our community.
Lola Sangster and Kyle Delorey
Lola and Kyle completed their last school year attending École Acadienne de Pomquet in Grade 8 and 9 respectively, embarking on their journey to claim their right to French first language education. This is no easy feat, they joined a new school not knowing anyone, they travelled approximately 3 hours per day via taxi, and they didn’t know the language being spoken. To say the first few weeks were tough would be an understatement, but through sheer hard work and determination, and the support of the entire school community in Pomquet and the Torbé Region – these two have thrived!
Let’s share a little about our joint recipients:
Lola lives in Whitehead, the middle child of Kristen Conway and Brian Sangster. Her Acadian roots lie in the Richard family of Charlos Cove on her maternal great-grandfather Sonny Conway’s side. Her mom was born and raised in Whitehead and her dad hails from neighbouring New Harbour. Lola’s maternal grandparents are Pat and Marina Conway and her paternal grandparents are Danny and Lori Sangster. Lola’s obsessions currently start with hotdogs and end with fluffy kitties – if she has both in her life at the same time, she is more than content. Lola enjoys a good challenge, mostly in trying to get and achieve her own way (she has a 99.9% success rate). Lola has a passion for the ocean, tiny sea creatures and is taking an interest in marine science. Lola is a strong-willed young lady, she develops her own opinions on situations, though not easily swayed she can be reasoned with. She is a good example of just adding “a little” bit of spice. She can be counted on to keep things interesting and fun. Lola plays hockey and volleyball. Pomquet hosted Les Jeux de l’acadie this year and Lola represented the school on the volleyball team, she has a large circle of friends, she is a beauty, inside and out.
Kyle lives in Larry’s River, the youngest son of Jennifer Richard and Damien Delorey. His Acadian roots are deeply embedded in Larry’s River and Charlos Cove. Kyle’s grandparents and great grandparents are as follows: Brian and Mary Richard, Debbie Richard, Raymond Delorey, Charlotte and Raymond Richard, Clarence and Viola Richard and Frank and Mamie (Gerrior) Delorey. Kyle has many passions, he loves hockey and baseball, both in which he excels. Kyle can’t be with us in person this evening as he is currently in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan representing Nova Scotia in the U15 Fastpitch National Tournament, selected to join the East Hants Mastodons, playing in the short stop position. Kyle loves music, and has been performing since the age of 4, he never turns down the invitation to perform publicly and has taken the stage in Larry’s River, Charlos Cove, Port Felix, Canso, Guysborough, and Antigonish – he also had the chance to visit Nashville and got to record in the famous Ryman Auditorium and visit Graceland, the home of one of his favourites, Elvis Presley. During his school year in Pomquet he played hockey, softball, soccer, floor hockey, ground hockey, basketball, as well as ultimate frisbee at this year’s Les Jeux de l’acadie. Kyle has a large circle of friends and is very mature for his age. He has been running his own lawn care business for the last number of years with the help of his grandfather and has been an active member for many years with La Société Acadienne de Torbé.
Kyle and Lola are community leaders, they have shown their families, their friends, their communities, as well as the Conseil Scolaire Acadien Provincial (CSAP) and the Province of Nova Scotia that the Torbé Region deserves to be on the map as a place where current and future generations can receive French first language education. Wow!!! This is a moment in history that has significant impact on preserving our Acadian culture and language. The communities along the shores of Guysborough County and Acadian Region of Torbé thank you!! Looking towards the future, these are exciting times!
Raymond was known to be a very practical man. He didn’t need much in life, except the love of family and friends around him. He was known as a kind, gentle soul who loved to play practical jokes on people and was quick minded with a line or two that would make people laugh. He was also known to enjoy the odd drink of rum with a cigarette. When Raymond’s children were young, he was a local fisherman. In those days, as I’m sure a few of you remember, fishing was hard work that started early in the morning, and took many trips to the wharf and back home for supplies. On one particular day when Brian was about 8 or 9 years old, his father came in with a large load of mackerel. When he arrived at wharf, he went home for something. Brian, in his juvenile wisdom thought it would be a good idea to jump in the boat and turn it on. What he didn’t know is that the boat was left in gear which caused the boat to take off with Brian flying off the back and landing in the water. His father heard the commotion from home, ran back to the wharf and quickly grabbed the gaff, hauled him out of the water by the scruff of the neck, threw him onto the wharf. He was pretty upset with Brian and told him to go home to be dealt with by his mom, Charlotte. Later on, Brian obviously didn’t learn his lesson because he went back down to the wharf but this time, he decided to jump on the boat between the vessel and the houseboat but got his foot caught and again fell into the water. He couldn’t swim so he hung onto the wharf until someone came back to the wharf. Luckily for him, it was his father who came back to the wharf about an hour later and grabbed the gaff again, tossed him on the wharf and gave him such a scolding for being so daft. Again he sent him home for his punishment. Raymond was the type of father that would be strict but hated hurting the feelings of his children. Raymond was fiercely protective of his only daughter Linda, especially since at times, her brothers would do what brothers do, such as push her off the back of a moving truck but he tried his best to ensure that her three brothers treated her right. He had a soft spot for Neil who was the baby in the family and was immensely proud of his eldest son, Eric who had the same personality and character as his father who loved serving his community. Only difference with Uncle Eric is that he enjoyed Olands beer, not a drink of rum.
For most of Raymond’s life, he was influenced in some way by the sea. He was a fisherman, a naval seaman, a hydrographer, a lighthouse keeper and a member of the Canadian Coast Guard. In 1940, Raymond enlisted into Active Duty during WWII in the Naval Forces. He proudly served on the HMCS Lachine in the North Atlantic Mine Sweeping Operation. HMCS Lachine was a Bangor class-minesweeper and was assigned to the Sydney Force in 1942. Shortly thereafter, the ship was transferred to the Western Local Escort Force and in June of 1943, Lachine became one of the force’s newly created escort groups which served until Victory Day.
After the war ended, he served with the Canadian Coast Guard until his retirement. Raymond was an avid community member who volunteered for many community events and services. Along with several of his war-time comrades, he founded the local Legion, Branch #117.
In 1942, Raymond married Charlotte who was his best friend, soulmate and his sidekick for many community events, whom he affectionally wrote love letters to addressed to his dearest C . They raised four children, Eric, Brian, Linda and Neil. Raymond was the proud grandfather to eight grandchildren, and he has thirteen great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
He was widely known in his community as someone you could count on, whether it was someone who needed help cutting wood, or extra food on their table, to helping out at the parish picnics or at Legion functions. Raymond was most often the first one there and the last one to leave. He took pride in helping his community along with his wife of 51 years, Charlotte.
For us grandchildren, we each have special memories and stories from our time with Grampie. He loved spending time with each of us, and he enjoyed teaching us how to make things and paint things in his shed. But it was a running joke in the family that Grampie only seemed to enjoy doing work that involved painting something only if he was wearing his good Sunday clothes, which our grandmother always gave him heck for. He ruined a good many pants and shirts teaching one of us how to paint, and it was always a marine paint so you know how hard it is to remove that. He was a creature of habit. He loved to play word puzzles, eat ice cream in the porch sitting in his rocking chair. He went to bed early and got up early. He loved a good bed lunch and had an incredible sweet tooth which kept our Nanny baking each day.
Raymond served his country, his community, and for that, our family thanks you for this honour.