Our Family Stories in Stained Glass – Left Chancel

Mark Whitmell:
Maude Whitmell (nee Farley)

Mark and Maude Whitmell were a pioneer farming family in the Dunchurch area where Maude taught school. After their marriage they farmed in McKellar and Mark was active in local affairs, serving as reeve for seven years.  They moved to Parry Sound in the mid-fifties where Mark worked in the Municipal Office until retirement.

Their two daughters Teresa Adams and Ina Fisher presented the window in 1985. The Bible and the words of the 23rd Psalm were selected because of the importance of the scriptures in their parent’s daily life. The shepherd’s crooks are a reminder of God’s concern and guidance, but in caring for their own sheep, Mark and Maude were shepherds as well. The lily, a symbol of purity and faith, is a further indication of God’s loving care. “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow … “ Matt. 6: 28-30


Garland Verne Alexander (1881-1945):

Garland was born in Delphos, Ohio. As a train engineer he and his wife, Anna Mary Falke, with their three children; Cecil Eileen, Lela and Roger, lived in Virginia, Texas, Ohio and finally Parry Sound where Verne became a member of the Methodist Church.

His window, donated in 1953, portrays the burning bush (Exodus 3: 1-6) representing the awesome holiness of God’s presence. This is a symbol of the Presbyterian Church, the majority of whose members, along with the Congregationalist denomination, united with the Methodists to form the United Church in 1925.


J.David Johnston (1864-1938):

David Johnson grew up near Collingwood and learned the blacksmith trade, which he practiced for seven years in his brother’s carriage company in Duluth. In 1894 he established a blacksmith shop in Parry Sound on Mary Street and a year later married Frances Anne Carscadden of Collingwood. The shop operated until 1932 when it was expropriated for the Post Office building on James Street. Frances was active in the woman’s organizations of the church and at her death in 1943 a substantial bequest helped in the repayment of the lingering debt on the Sunday School building completed in 1926.

Their window, donated in 1953 by a son, Edward, and his wife, Mary, depicts the head of a man who represents St. Matthew. The gospel symbols derive from four creatures described in Revelations 4:7 and occupy the top section of this panel.


Colin McInnis
Rose McInnis:

Colin and Rose McInnis made Parry Sound their home for forty years, coming from the Sudbury area in 1922. Colin worked for the Department of Lands and Forests and came into the United Church in 1925 from a Presbyterian background. With two boys and three girls of their own, Colin and Rose devoted themselves to the training of youth – she as a leader in CGIT and Sunday School and he as its Superintendent as well as having an involvement in Tuxis and Trail Rang programs. In 1962 Colin was one of the three on the planning committee for Parry Sound’s scenic lookout tower. Colin survived Rose, who died in 1962, by five years.

Their window, donated by their family in 1985, uses three interlocking ovals superimposed on a triangle, symbolizing one God revealed in the three persons of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.


J. Earl and Cora Hawkins:

J. Earl and Cora Hawkins (nee Dame, a former teacher from Toronto), came to Parry Sound in 1910 from Lake St. George, near Orillia, Ontario. Earl Hawkins, along with his brothers, set up a grocery-feed store and later owned Hawkins Feed Mill. They had no family but in 1932 welcomed two nephews, Douglas and Esmond,  into their home after the death of their parents. Earl Hawkins was active in the business community and served terms on the PUC as well as town council. He and his wife were involved in the life of St. James, where Mr. Hawkins served as Sunday School Superintendent. Cora Hawkins was the first president of the Women’s Evening Association, and their home was frequently a place of lodging and hospitality for visiting missionaries. They both sang in the choir and participated in the cultural events in the community.

Their window, dedicated after their deaths in the 60’s, quotes Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”. Christ in the Sermon on the Mount used the lilies as reminders of God’s care for his people.


Frances Ronan Powell:

Frances Ronan Powell, of Irish descent, was born in Toronto in 1855 and married Elizabeth Cheeseworth in 1885. Following a teaching stint in Russell and Goderich, Ontario, Mr. Powell studied law and moved to Parry Sound, eventually becoming District Court Judge. Francis Colenso Powell, his son, the husband of Cecil Eileen, daughter of Garland Verne Alexander, also became a judge of the Provincial Court. Second, third and fourth generation descendants of F. R. Powell have attended St. James.

The symbol of the lion (taken from Rev. 4:7) represents St. Mark. This window was one of the original thirteen from the earlier church.


Alexander Ferguson (1872-1950):

Alexander Ferguson came with his parents to Parry Sound as a youth and when most of his family moved west, he remained working at Dwyer’s General Store for forty years. In 1914 he married Sarah Ethel Armstrong and of their six children only three survived past childhood. Alex became an elder in the Presbyterian Church and carried that office to the United Church in 1925. He served this church as custodian for seventeen years.

His wife and family donated his window in 1953. The triangle represents Trinity and the dove superimposed is symbolic of the Holy Spirit.


Wallace Henry Weeks (1917-1983)
Ruby Irene Weeks (nee Robinson 1917-1973):

Wallace Henry Weeks came from Beacon, N.Y. His wife Ruby was born in Stroud, Ont.  W. H. Weeks established a company in 1956 on the Parry Sound Road, to repair, install and maintain gasoline pumps for the oil companies in the area. The business was assumed in 1981 by a one-in-law, Ivan Nicksy, and the original W. H. Weeks and Sons has become a construction business owned by Doug and Ken Weeks. W. H. Weeks was secretary of the Board of Steward at St. James. He was also a Mason, member of the Shrine and of the Canadian Legion.

Ruby taught in the Sunday School, was a unit leader of the United Church Women and supported the General Hospital Auxiliary. They had eight children, six boys and two girls.

Their window, given in 1984 by their family, depicts the trumpet, piano keyboard, treble clef and musical notes which act as reminders of the historic role of music in the worship of God. The Weeks’ two daughters have both sung in the church’s choir.


Samuel Armstrong
Catharine Armstrong:

Samuel Armstrong and his wife Catherine were pioneers in the village of McKellar about 1870, where he owned the first store with his brother John. The business included the post office, gristmill, shingle mill, and blacksmith shop. He was elected as the first reeve in 1873. In McKellar, Catherine established the first ladies’ aid, locally known as a “tea meet”. The Armstrongs later moved to Parry Sound where he was the sheriff for a number of years at which time he was instrumental in the building of the first Court House. Mr. Armstrong was a member of parliament for four years serving with Sir Oliver Mowat and strongly supported Mr. William Beatty in his firm convictions regarding prohibition in Parry Sound District. Samuel and his family were active members of the early Methodist Church in Parry Sound where he was a trustee and sat with his family on the only cushioned pew in the old Methodist church.

Their window, inspired by Rev. 4:7 shows the figures of an ox representing St. Luke.
Dr. M. T. Armstrong, a son, donated it in 1953.


Mrs. Alexander Ferguson (nee Armstrong 1872-1953):

Ethel Ferguson came to Parry Sound as a bride in 1914 with her husband Alexander. Prior to her marriage she had taught school in the Peterborough area. She and Alex raised their family in a large house on the Parry Sound Road near George Street. Ethel was involved in youth work and was also a member of the Women’s Missionary Society, which later became the United Church Women, of which she was a charter member. She held many offices including that of President and is recalled as an excellent speaker at Presbyterial meetings.

Her memorial window, one of the original thirteen, shows a banner on which are the words, “He is risen”, emphasizing the power of the resurrection. Adjacent to her husband’s, it was donated by her family: Christine, James and Margaret.


George Knight (1884-1964)
Susan Etta Knight (nee Whitehead 1879-1963):

George and Etta were married in 1907 and settled in Golden Valley. In 1923 they moved to Parry Sound where their two children, Kenneth and Edna, attended High School. George worked for the Department of Lands and Forests from that time until he retired in 1954. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge and assisted in editing the Rotary Club’s newsletter. Having transferred her membership from the Golden Valley Methodist congregation, Etta became very involved in street collections and doughnut sales carried out by women of the church to help pay off the burdensome mortgage on the Sunday School addition built in 1927. Due to her encouragement, George received adult baptism by Rev. Norman Thomas.

Their family donated their window in 1985. Says Edna, “I think of them when I see the little candle shining in the memorial window.” The candle, the scroll, and the pen are symbols of the word of God. “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path.” Ps. 119:105


Edwin Pirie:

Edwin Pirie came to Parry Sound from Dundas after graduating from Queen’s University and with Hiram Stone established the law firm of Pirie and Stone in 1895. He married Anna Beatty in 1914 and following her premature death two years later, he continued to live on Melvin Street and continued with his law practice. He transferred to the United Church in 1925.  His excellent tenor voice was a welcome addition to the choir, as well as to the many musical productions, which entertained the Parry Sound residents. He was a member of the committee, which brought the historic Chatauqua show to Parry Sound for several seasons. He subscribed to the formation of the first golf course and in winter he curled and skated on the Bay.

His window depicts the apostles. The eagle referred to in Rev. 4:7 represents St. John, the apostle.


Anna Georgina Bowes Beatty (1877-1916):

Anna was the second daughter of Isabella and William Beatty, the founder of the town of Parry Sound and St. James. Anna was educated at the Ontario Ladies’ College in Whitby and also in Paris, France. After her father passed away she worked as a bookkeeper for the William Beatty estate. She married Edwin Pirie in 1914 in Toronto at the Metropolitan Methodist Church.

The caption, “Hosanna”, and the angels’ wings surmounting the gates, convey the message that Christ has opened the gates of heaven for all believers.


Errol W. Young (1903-1983)
Gloria Young (nee Perry):

Errol came to Parry Sound in 1927 to establish an insurance company for the agency founded by his father in Rosseau. Errol and his wife Gloria (Perry) had two children; Errol Jr. and Kitty Ann. Gloria worked with her husband in the insurance business. Gloria passed away suddenly in 1962. Errol was a Rotarian, a long time member of the School Board, served for a term on the Town Council and was President of the Board of Trade and District Governor of Rotary in 1964. He was an active member of the Board of Stewards of St. James.

The window quotes the beatitude, Matt. 5:7  – “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”. The lily from the Sermon on the Mount is used to confirm God’s constant care.


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