1997 Recipients of the Medal of Merit
Sister Mary Deighan
Sister Mary Deighan is a well-known citizen of Prince Edward Island and is especially recognized as a tireless worker with and for disadvantaged families in Prince County. She was born in Summerside, one of seventeen children. She has been a valued member of the Congregation of St. Martha for over 45 years. She has generously contributed to the enhancement of her community by her involvement in its internal growth. She has also brought honour to her Sisters by being their ambassador to the wider community and by sharing with them the struggles for survival of many Island families.
She has combined her many fine personal qualities with her natural leadership skills to share with many Islanders her distinctive style of support and care.
The Island community knows Sister Mary as a faith-filled, energetic woman who joins with others to promote the social and economic well-being of her brothers and sisters. She has been a member of the Zonta Club of Summerside. She has been a long-time canvasser and volunteer with United Way of P.E.I., having occupied the position of Co-Chair of the Summerside Area for 1995 and Chair in 1994 and 1996. She was a volunteer with SAW Industries from 1985-1991, a Board Member of the West Prince Caring Cupboard, an organizer for CFB Appreciation Day and a supporter of Bowl for Millions. She has been a canvasser for many different charities. She acted as honorary President of a campaign for Caritas Agricultural Co-op in Terrier-Rouge, Haiti. A unique place in her heart has always been reserved for her work as coordinator of Christmas programs, especially Christmas Daddies.
This is not the first time for Sister Mary to be honoured by her many admirers and collaborators. In 1971 she was granted the George Key Sr. Memorial Trophy as Citizen of the Year. She received the 1988 YMCA Peace Award and Rotary International awarded her a Paul Harris Fellowship in 1992.
Sister Mary’s undying optimism and boundless energy have provided inspiration for generations of Islanders. She has earned the respect and admiration of all who have had the good fortune of being associated with her. Modest and unassuming, Sister Mary exemplifies the qualities for which the Order of Prince Edward Island was established to honour.
Charles was born of Canadian parentage & ancestry in Oak Park, Illinois in 1921. He was granted Canadian citizenship in 1972. He is a Veteran of World War II, having served in the North Atlantic, European & South Pacific theatres of conflict. He & his wife, Marilynn, took up residence in Summerside in 1946, where Charles began a 13-year career with his grandfather’s firm, the M.F. Schurman Co., during which time he was the MC for the radio program, “Schurman’s School Parade”.
A major focus of Charles’ life has been service to people, especially youth and to the YMCA, which is identified in his many awards through Y’s Men International, serving as International President (1968-69) and receiving the “Ballantyne Award”, Y’sdom’s highest honor, in 1997. In 1994 the Linkletters were recipients of the YMCA “Peace Award”. In his community, Charles has served in many capacities: over 25 years on the Prince County Hospital Board; now President of the PCH Foundation. He was recognized with “Harry T. Holman Award” and as the “Outstanding Volunteer Fund Raiser” by the Atlantic Region Philanthropic Assoc. He is on the Board of East Prince Health. His community named him “Citizen of the Year” in 1985. In 1993 he was the recipient of the “National President’s Award” for his sustained work and contribution to the Canadian & PEI Mental Health Associations, particularly for being instrumental in the building & management of “Notre Dame Place”.
As owner/operator of successful accommodation and travel businesses for over thirty-three years, Charles has been a driving force behind the Island’s tourism industry & environmental concerns. His entrepreneurial contribution has been acknowledged with the “Canada 125 Medal” and as a “Paul Harris Fellow”. The Linkletters were presented the “Lt. Gov.’s Award for Excellence” for long & outstanding contributions to Island tourism and in 1984 they each received in Ottawa the “Canadian Tourism Award & Silver Medallion” for their leadership and contribution to Canadian tourism. With all the honours which have been bestowed upon Charles, including the “Order of Canada” in 1997, he still remains an active volunteer in support of people. His life is an example of the true spirit of community and service to one’s fellow man; a true Christian gentleman, who serves as an example for others to follow
Helen Stewart MacRae
Helen Stewart MacRae is a musical treasure. As a musician her versatility is unique, and with equal vitality, she plays everything from classical oratorios, to Christmas carols round the piano or ragtime jazz. Her commitment to excellence is always evident.
Helen graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in the 1940s. She was very much involved both as organizer and accompanist in the early years of the Music Festival.
She has played for countless community festivals and musical evenings, including the well-loved Red Glove Review, worked with Alan Lund at the Charlottetown Festival and accompanied Music Man, Hooray for Hollywood, A Child’s Garden of Verses and many other shows. She arranged and created some of the music for Blue Castle and provides musical guidance to Island artists and writers. The recent HMS Pinafore would not have been such a success without Helen’s guidance.
Her work with the Venerables deserves mention. That show has been performed almost 500 times with Helen as accompanist and she has travelled with it to New York, Ontario and British Columbia.
She has been accompanist for the DVA Chorus, performing around the Island, for the past four years. She was accompanist for the PEI Musical Festival for over 20 years.
It is her work with the Confederation Centre choirs for which she is best known and for the last 25 years she has assisted with the musical education of our children and acted as a splendid ambassador of the province on travels to the rest of Canada, Great Britian and Bermuda.
Her spiritual values were expressed in acting as musical director of the Witness, a religious musical which travelled the Island. She has served as church organist in several city churches over the past 55 years.
Helen’s willingness to accept engagements for weddings, funerals and soirées is legendary and often she does so at personal sacrifice and inconvenience.
Her greatest accomplishment is that, in the musical scene where individuals often seek personal approbation, Helen has always given unstintingly of her time and talent without seeking reward or recognition.
She is universally loved and respected by all who have benefited from her talent and are privileged to know her.