St. Barnabas has a rich history, but without its’ Parishioners, the church wouldn’t be able to shine. Once a month, we sit down with a Parish member and learn a little more about them. We are proud to present, “Parishioner Spotlight”.
The Short Story of the Long and Busy Life of Ms. Peggy Quick
Peggy has been at St. Barnabas for a long, long time. She can’t quite remember when she started coming, but it was it was around the time she and her mother , Mrs. Edith Quick, moved from Sapperton to the Carleton Court apartments. She remembers various St. Barnabas Rectors from the Reverends Pit and Barnes, through the busy days of Elizabeth Beale and Mavis Brownlee. Church has always been the central pillar of Peggy’s life, and she has served as Peoples’ Warden, and as head of the Altar Guild. She could be found over the years working in the church office, in the kitchen and on every kind of committee. In 2012 she received the Order of New Westminster for her years of dedicated service.
The Quick family moved to New Westminster after a number of heart-breaking tragedies. Her father, a World War One vet, died when she was quite young, around six years old, and it became too much for her mother to maintain the family’s massive chicken farm in Maple Ridge. Especially sad was the death of her brother, Jackie, one year older than Peggy, who died from leukemia at the age of nine. An older sister, Dorothy, died as well, from an incurable cough. Mrs. Edith Quick almost died from grief, but managed to pull together her family. They moved a few times before settling in Sapperton, where they instantly felt right at home.
Peggy was a quick young lady, and figured out a way to get her mother’s spirits back up: she spoke with Mrs. Plasket, the spouse of the Reverend Canon Plasket, Rector of St. Mary the Virgen, in Sapperton, and Mrs. Plasket made a point of inviting Mrs. Quick to the senior Women’s Auxiliary. Peggy joined the junior WA, and thus began her busy life in service to the Anglican church. These were happy days. Peggy remembers good friends, sliding down the hill on sleds in the winter where McBride Street now runs to the Patullo Bridge. Peggy, always a dog lover, says that she and her younger brother, George, would often bring home strays, until their mother finally got them their own dog, Gyp. Apparently George and his pals, and Gyppie, would go off on hot summer days and go swimming in Burnette Creek, sans proper attire!
Peggy was 19 when World War Two began. She tried to sign up for service, but was turned down because of poor eyesight. Some of the boys from her “gang” did go off to war, and one of her nephews, and some did not come home. Peggy says she never married, though she did have a love affair or two, but the right man never came along. She was busy with her family and friends, and at business college. (continues below)
Peggy and Emilie, with the newest member of St. Barnabas, 1-month-old Aria.
After graduation she worked for a time at a local newspaper, and then began a long career in health care administration. She worked at admitting for Royal Columbian Hospital, and loved it, especially because she had direct contact with incoming patients and their families. “I was always a people, person,” she says. She says she wasn’t “tough enough” to be a nurse. She was too much of an old softie!
The Quick family remained very close. Peggy had a many nephews and a few nieces, some of them great, all of them good. One of her nephews became an Anglican priest. But now Peggy is sadly the only one left living from that generation.
Peggy’s love for dogs has never diminished. For a time she, and the Reverend Elizabeth, shared a beautiful pooch, Jesse. And she has even been caught in the act of sneaking Fritz, the current parish puppy, into her strictly NO DOGS building.
Peggy says that her Christian faith, and her Anglican life are vital. She would like young people to know that it is important to get involved, that it is important to contribute as much as you can to the community, and to really feel a part of things. We are a small community at St. Barnabas, a family. We look after one another and we reach out to our neighbours, those who are close to us, and those who are far away.
The olden days are gone. And that’s not a bad thing, Peggy says. Society, and church, used to be so stiff, so formal, and even a little bit elitist. Peggy remembers when her mother, Edith, was outside on a ladder at their house in Sapperton, washing the windows, when who should she spot coming down the road, but Mrs. Plasket. It was quite a to-do. She hurried down from the ladder, washed her hands, and put on the kettle. What would the Rector’s wife think? Times have changed, and people are more open, inclusive and kinder.
Peggy now in her 95th year, is an example to the rest of us. Rain or shine, hail or sleet, unless something’s really upside down, Peggy can be found on Sunday and Wednesday mornings, making her way down 5th Avenue, to her little parish church on the Brow of the Hill. The St. Barnabas community is ever grateful for her faith.