Honoured by Margie Howard, Dr. Vivian Jamieson, and Katherine Munro
Jessie Bell (Smith) Jamieson,RN
Registered Nurse, Lieutenant of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps during WWII serving in Newfoundland, Britain, Italy and Holland, devoted wife and mother, tireless volunteer, caring friend and neighbour.
Jessie lived a full life of goodness and grace. For all of us who knew her, she was a shining example of a life lived well, her thoughts and actions most often in the service of others. She always saw the big picture, knew what was important and was there when you needed her. Jessie lived life without regret. She did not hesitate when her conscience spoke or when she saw a need.
Jessie had one cardinal rule, one that she invaluably passed on to her daughters and grandchildren. “It is important to just show up”, she said, “and let the rest take care of itself”. Whether it was a joyful celebration of a family milestone or the difficult task of sharing in a friend’s grief, Jessie was the first in line to help. At her best in a crisis, she did not shy away from the tough tasks in life. She put her own concerns aside when she knew she could make a difference.
Growing up the fifth child in a family of seven in a close-knit mining town in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Jessie learned her caring ways early. Her constant, quiet manner was well suited to her chosen profession as a Registered Nurse. After graduating from the College of Nursing in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she put her homesickness aside, enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps and headed overseas. It was wartime after all and the need was great. Over the next four years, while putting her own young life at risk, Jessie cared for countless wounded soldiers, allied and enemy troops alike.
After the war, Jessie met and married the love of her life, Dr. James Jamieson and in the next few years completed their family, giving birth to three daughters. Family was everything to Jessie. A more caring and devoted wife, mother, sister and daughter could not be found.
Jessie never lost sight of how blessed her life was and was quick to help anyone less fortunate than herself. In spite of a busy family life, she felt it was paramount to give back to her community. She was a dedicated volunteer for the Canadian March of Dimes, IODE, North Bay Hospital Auxiliary and the Canadian Cancer Society. Local charities could always count on her support.
But Jessie will best be remembered for her open and generous spirit. She was a great sport and loved to laugh. An avid golfer, she enjoyed playing in women’s leagues at Pinewood Golf Course and the North Bay Golf and Country Club. Sharing this passion with Jim, they played golf courses internationally into their later years. Her other interests included curling at the North Bay Granite Club as well as being an accomplished duplicate bridge player. There was, however, nothing Jessie loved more than to entertain her family and friends. She was a wonderful cook and will be fondly remembered for her lavish parties at the Jamieson cottage on Trout Lake.
There is a great deal to learn from Jessie’s life. Perhaps it can be summed up in her cardinal rule. It is important to just show up… in triumph and in tragedy… to help, support and console, but most of all, to enjoy everyone and every moment.