Re­mem­ber­ing Beth McRae

First fe­male mayor of Al­ber­ton

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OBITUARIES - BY MIL­LI­CENT MCKAY JOUR­NAL PIONEER

Beth McRae paved the way for women in mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics as the first, and so far only, fe­male mayor to serve in the town of Al­ber­ton.

With McRae’s pass­ing on July 8, it has co-work­ers and com­mu­nity res­i­dents re­mem­ber­ing her legacy and her sto­ry­telling.

Su­san Wal­lace-Flynn, the Chief Ad­min­is­tra­tive

Of­fi­cer for the town, re­mem- bers a car ride with McRae that landed them near the other end of the Is­land.

“We were at a Fed­er­a­tion of Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties meet­ing in Char­lot­te­town. Beth and I had driven up to­gether. I was driv­ing on the way home and we were talk­ing and hav­ing a laugh. It was a great drive we re­ally en­joyed it.”

But then McRae, said “Uhoh.”

“We had taken a wrong turn and nearly got on the Wood Is­lands fer­ries. We cer­tainly weren’t on our way to Al­ber­ton,” said Wal­lace-Flynn with a laugh.

“We had a real laugh on the way home. It seemed like the fun­ni­est thing at the time. When we got back, every­one got a kick out of it.”

McRae was very proud that she was the first fe­male mayor for the town.

“She was a hard worker. She was very dili­gent in what she did. But she was also a great sto­ry­teller.

“I re­mem­ber on Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony she was asked to speak. And she was re­ally elo­quent. She told the story of a young war bride and how they were in love and he had to go off to war. She said the woman learned she was preg­nant and had twins I be­lieve. It was in­cred­i­ble. And then at the end, ever so softly she said ‘I was that war bride’. I was blown away by her.”

McRae served on the Al­ber­ton Town Coun­cil from 1981 to 1989. Then in 1989, she took the po­si­tion as mayor when Hec­tor MacLeod stepped down. Then in 1991 she be­came a coun­cil­lor again serv­ing an­other three years.

Al­lan McRae, Beth’s son, says she was a per­sis­tent worker.

“She was in­stru­men­tal in estab­lish­ing the Jac­ques Cartier Arena, as well as the Al­ber­ton District Re­gional High School and ex­pan­sion of Western Hospi­tal. But she wasn’t a pushy lady.”

He says his mother was re­spected wher­ever she went.

“She was quiet about the work she did in the com­mu­nity. She was very dig­ni­fied. She wouldn’t take no for an an­swer and she’d keep mov­ing with an idea un­til some­one said yes.”

McRae

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