Remembering Carol Martin

A few months ago, George Henderson submitted this reminiscence about the Society’s long-time editor of Up the Gatineau!, Carol Martin, who passed away in December 2016. George is a longtime member of the GVHS and lives in Odessa, just outside of Kingston, Ontario.

In the winter of 1989, I wrote a little article about Mackenzie King and the statues of the two stone angels he had purchased in England for his estate of Kingsmere. But where would I seek to have the article published? Somehow it occurred to me that there was a historical society in the Kingsmere area. The computer soon told me about the Gatineau Valley Historical Society. The computer article also revealed that they produced an annual publication, Up the Gatineau!

A few days later I decided to submit the little article and a photograph or two of the statues to the Editor of this publication. Within a few days I received a telephone call in my office from Carol Martin. Thus began my contact with Carol. She told me immediately that the article would be published in the next issue of this annual publication. The thing that I liked about the whole process was that it went so quietly and smoothly. A few months later the issue arrived in the mail and I was delighted to have my first article published in the Up the Gatineau! It had all happened so easily with no more than two or three pleasant talks with Carol. There was no fuss, no protracted discussions, and no difficulties.

1993 and 1994 I sent off two more articles on Mackenzie King to Carol—one on King’s first visit to Kingsmere in 1900, and the second on his experiences as farmer on what was to become his famous estate at Kingsmere. In the case of the second article Carol was so kind as to use a photograph of King in the middle of his flock of sheep on the cover. For me it was a very pleasant surprise.

My final contact with Carol came about a year ago. One Sunday afternoon I thought about Carol and the many very pleasant telephone conversations I had had with her, when I told her about my new ideas for articles, and how pleased I was with them when they appeared.

These are my personal memories of Carol. While I never had the good fortune of meeting Carol, I have read many beautiful tributes of her life and work both for the historical society and many other organizations as well. They tell me of a life with her enormous hard work and dedication. While she was involved in every aspect of the society’s work (including being President and Director) the largest aspect of this work was the twenty-one years as editor of Up the Gatineau! In addition she wrote twenty-six articles herself for the journal. She also was very much involved with the Society’s library and helped to answer countless letters from the public seeking information about their ancestors and other aspects of the history of the area. She also wrote a book about cemeteries in Chelsea.

Everywhere you look you see evidence of her hard work, dedication, and the serious contribution and her love and concern for people.

Carol, I can’t imagine anyone who contributed so much to an organization and the history of the area. Your wonderful work will leave an indelible imprint on these and many other areas of life in the Gatineau.