Ida Mae Manley
1902 – 1980
A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others. ~Author Unknown
This is the story of a descendant of the Manleys and the Fortunes, who settled in Bruce County in the mid 1800’s from England. My Grandmother was born on Sept. 1, 1902 and enjoyed a typical rural childhood in a Southern Ontario farming community. After high school she attended the *Stratford Normal School, (1908). This was one of four schools, including the North Bay Normal School (1909), built to increase the quantity of qualified teachers in Ontario and improve the quality of rural education.
Grandma taught from 1923 until marrying John Harvie in 1927. She gave birth to my mother, Doreen Cook, in 1928. In 1931 Katherine was born but lived only 10 days. In 1932 Robert Harvie was born, followed by Raymond in 1934.
For seven years, following the stock market crash of 1929, Grandma’s family endured great hardship. Like many, they lost their property and many possessions in the great depression. My Grandfather was injured in an industrial accident and passed away in 1935, leaving Grandma to raise three young children. Together with her widowed Mother, Dorinda Manley, (nee) Fortune, they created a secure, loving home for their family. Enduring hardship was nothing new for the Fortune family. Dorinda had relatives who died on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. (A great uncle, Mark Fortune, and his son Charles).
My Grandma returned to work as a teacher in the fall of 1940 and taught in various locations until she retired in 1967. Both Sons went on to have successful careers in the Royal Canadian Navy. Doreen`s lifelong dream was to work in healthcare, and after she and Allan Cook raised their five children, she became a healthcare aid and worked in Geriatrics for 10 years until her retirement. My Grandma was her best friend and they were always together enjoying good times with family. Grandma suffered from congestive heart failure for years before and after, she retired. Despite its chronic disabling effects and impairment in lifestyle, she continued to make the most of every day. It was always her passion to be in the service of others, including volunteering for church and community groups, and caring for an aging parent well into her retirement years. She cared for herself through caring for others.
Later in life, Grandma learned how to drive and bought a V.W. Beetle. Sundays were our day to take the Bug and go for drives, always ending up at our favorite restaurant for dinner. There was always time for a game of rummy or Parcheesi. Her kindness, and genuine interest in others; her sense of humor; selflessness; and love of life, were very endearing and exceptional qualities. Her strong character; positive attitude and complete faith in the spirit of humankind are her legacy.
Nipissing University – Current Projects
By – Marion Cook, Nipissing University Alumni – 2005.