BARRY’S BAY – She was not famous, nor did she win any prestigious awards. However, the late Veronica Kelly sure made a lasting impact on the Madawaska Valley.
Not only did she mother 11 children, but she was a founding member of the Opeongo Seniors and raised countless dollars for charities around the Valley.
Veronica, nee Laginski, was born in Wilno on January 6, 1924 to parents Stephen and Mary. She was the eldest daughter out of seven children.
The Laginskis relocated to Whitney, where Veronica’s father was a blacksmith for McRae Lumber and her mother worked as a teacher.
It seemed Veronica was destined to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Veronica and her sister Rita, being only a year apart, were given the opportunity to study at the convent in Pembroke for Grades 11 and 12.
As Veronica was finishing her senior year of school, she decided she wanted to become a nurse. Before she could realize that dream, however, the parish priest had asked Veronica to teach in Sabine. Her mother instructed her to go.
Eventually, Veronica’s teaching career led her up north in Cobalt and back to the Valley, where she acted at a supply teacher for many local schools.
“She loved supply teaching,” her daughter Carmel Rumleskie said.
And the children loved her, too.
“I think she was easy on them,” Carmel laughed. “But she was always interested in them. She was interested in people. She wanted to know who you were, who your parents were, where did you live – that kind of stuff. She was a people person.”
Get your April 1, 2015 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.