Barry’s Bay- It can be easy to forget how much Barry’s Bay has grown over the past few generations, and newcomers to the area may not know the back story to many of the institutions that are now integral to the community. The infrastructure and amenities that have been built up over the years are often important reasons why people decide to settle here. The active local business community and St. Francis Memorial Hospital are among those important factors that continue to be important to Barry’s Bay and the surrounding region, and Maxie Mintha was a well-known contributor to both.
Maxie died this past June 22, having reached the ripe age of 97. Phone interviews with his family, and with local historian Theresa Prince, helped fill in information about some of the ways that he worked to build up the area; there are no doubt many more details that others will remember. As the last surviving member both of the original hospital board and the original hospital building committee that was organized to build St. Francis Memorial, Mintha’s passing is the end of an era; it is important to keep the stories alive so that future generations may appreciate the work that went into building up the area. The history section of the hospital’s webpage notes, “The initial Board of Directors was composed of: Chairman Mr. Henry J. Chapeski, Mr. Chris Corrigan, Mr. Edward Shalla, Mr. Maxie Mintha and Mr. Paul Yakabuski.”
Maxie’s daughter Noreen noted that her dad began fundraising for the hospital in 1947. She added, “…Dad would be the first to say that so many people helped in this important fundraising campaign.” The efforts of the many people in the community eventually led to the hospital being opened in 1960.
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