Volume 12 Week 5

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Orléans Ward
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(Posted 10 a.m., Aug. 14)
Trailblazing Blackburn Hamlet resident passes away at 85

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Blackburn Hamlet pioneer Lois Kemp passed away on July 16 after living a long and full life that included a love of ringette that never faded. Photos supplied

Blackburn Hamlet recently lost a long-time resident who was responsible for many of the community's institutions including the Blackburn Fun Fair, the Community Association and the Banar newspaper.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many accomplishments of Lois Kemp who passed away on July 16 at the age of 85.

Lois, who was born Lois Spratt, married Eldon Kemp in 1947 at the tender age of 17. He was nine years her senior. The couple built a home near the corner of what is present day Cleroux Crescent and Innes Road and raised seven children.

Lois' first community endeavour took place in 1954 when she formed the Blackburn Community Club as a means to raise $10 to plow a space for an outdoor rink in the Blackburn Public School yard. Membership was a dollar .The Community Club eventually became the Blackburn Community Association.

Buoyed by her initial success and being an independent, energetic and community minded woman, Lois would later lead the way in organizing the inaugural Blackburn Fun Fair with life long friend Eleanor MacQuarrie.

In the years that followed, Lois would serve as a school board trustee, a Girl Guide leader, a Sunday School teacher and Gloucester's unofficial historian. But the accomplishment she was most proud of was in bringing the sport of ringette to Gloucester.

When she read in the paper that a seminar was being held about a new sport that could be played on ice by young girls, Lois got in touch with her friend Eleanor and several other ladies in the community and went to the meeting.

Not long afterwards, Gloucester's first ringette team was formed. The year was 1972 and that first team would eventually morph into the Gloucester Ringette Association. Through the years, Lois would serve in almost every capacity possible and coached the Gloucester Devils to their first national championship.

Lois also loved playing the game and did so well into her 80s. Her favourite position was goaltender.

Away from the rink, Lois also had a passion for publishing. She produced the first Blackburn Banar, and in 1981, launched the Gloucester Leader, a monthly newspaper commissioned by the municipality of Gloucester. She produced the paper until she retired in 1996. She also wrote a book about the history of Gloucester entitled "Gloucester Roots".

Lois was a sports enthusiast who loved being active from the time she was a teenager biking to Vermont from Ottawa with a couple of girlfriends, to playing nine holes of golf with her daughter Evelyn days before she suffered a massive stroke which eventually led to her passing.

Lois Spratt Kemp was a pioneer and a trailblazer in the truest sense of the word. She will be dearly missed by her family and friends alike, Her legacy is one that many would do well to emulate if they had either the time or energy.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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