From the time of his arrival in Chapleau at Easter 1974 to become Rector of St. John's Anglican Church, William Ivey was involved in community life while also looking after his parish.
Somehow it seemed so appropriate that I received the news of William's sudden death on Monday from Tom Corston, a Chapleau boy who is now an archdeacon in the Anglican church and rector of Church of the Epiphany, Sudbury, Ontario. Tom posted the news that William had died suddenly on his Facebook page.
On June 30, 1974, at St. John's, shortly after Rev. Ivey's arrival, Tom was ordained deacon in a service conducted by Archbishop James A. Watton of the Diocese of Moosonee.
When Chapleau celebrated its 75th anniversary of incorporation as a municipality in 1976, during the time that I served as Reeve (mayor), William was greatly involved in the activities. He not only organized a Homecoming Service for St. John's but participated in the giant ecumenical service held in the circus tent by the Chapleau (Kebsquasheshing) River.
The tent service was truly a moment of Christian unity as all denominations came together along with their choirs and members to participate.
When St. John's celebrated its 90th anniversary a year earlier, Rev. Ivey wrote of the occasion: "...(it was) faith in the future of this great country that first brought men and women up here (to Chapleau). And I know that faith in God helped those pioneers over the rough spots and kept them going. Faith is still an important part of life in this community..."
In 1978, when Chapleau celebrated the opening of the new Chapleau Recreation Centre, Cedar Grove Lodge for Senior Citizens and the Chapleau Civic Centre in a flurry of ribbon cutting in three days in June, Rev. Ivey assisted at the openings. He was selected by the council to be part of the official welcoming committee to meet Her Honour Pauline McGibbon, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, who came to Chapleau to open the civic centre.
In 1982 when Chapleau High School celebrated its 60th anniversary, he organized another homecoming service attended by 225 people at St, John's. Along with Tom Corston and Canon Redfern Louttit, who had attended St. John's, Rev. Ivey participated in an ecumenical service at the Chapleau Recreation Centre.
He also served as Padre to Branch Number 5 of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Also in 1982, Rev. Ivey organized the re-enactment of the first Christian service held in Chapleau on the river bank by Rev. John Sanders. Canon Louttit portrayed John Sanders and the service was conducted in Cree, Ojibway and English. A year later Archdeacon E. Roy Haddon played the role of Archdeacon Gowan Gillmor in another historical re-enactment organized by Rev. Ivey.
On August 28, 1983, Bishop Frank Nock announced that Rev. Ivey was being transferred to Parry Sound.
At the Harvest Thanksgiving service the parish and community gathered at St. John's to say farewell to William, his wife Bonnie and their four children. There were 298 people at the service, the largest congregation recorded to that time in the history of the parish.
William and his family returned to Chapleau after a short absence and he continued to contribute to the community, but that is a story for another day. I wanted to provide a glimpse into his work in Chapleau between 1974 and 1983 where he truly practised the words from Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, "...if one member is honoured all rejoice together.." (I Corinthians 12:16)amongst all of us who knew him.
Rest in peace William.
Note: Taken in part from my 1984 history of St. John's Church, "Sons of Thunder ... Apostles of Love"
UPDATE RE FUNERAL SERVICE FOR WILLIAM
Funeral service for William will be held at the Chapleau Pentescotal Church on Friday March 26 at eleven am. Further information can be obtained from the Gilmartin Funeral Home in Wawa at 1 705 856 7340
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