Hilda Wilson, 92, from Ellenton, Florida passed away after a brief illness on March 4, 2021 to be with her Lord and Savior and all those who passed before her. Born on Big Tancook Island, Nova Scotia, Canada on August 25, 1928, she was the youngest daughter of David, Jr. and Armenia (Cross) Baker. She was predeceased by her six siblings, Howard & wife Dora, Clifford & wife Hazel, Ralph, Vernie & husband Ernest, Theresa & husband Stanley, and Pearl (Dolly) & husband Webster; by her husband of 47 years, Lloyd, her daughter Linda Wilson Igoe, and infant daughter Reanne Verline. She is survived by her daughter Greta Wilson Cook and husband Kenneth of Dunbarton, NH; son-in-law John K. Igoe of Billingham, Mass; and by a special nephew, Lester Baker, who she always considered as the son she never had, and wife Susan and family from Ontario, Canada. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews, and by dear friends and neighbors. Hilda was raised and married on Big Tancook Island, moved to Newmarket, NH in 1952 and resided there for 46 years before moving to Ellenton, Florida in 1998. While in Newmarket, she was an active member of the Newmarket Community Church as a deaconate for 19 years and co-chaired many church suppers and Christmas fairs. In Ellenton, she attended New Hope Baptist Church and was a member of the “Sunshine Club” visiting shut-ins. Hilda was the egg packer at the Wilson Poultry Farm in Newmarket for several years, and also worked at the former Kingston & Warren plant in Newfields after raising her two daughters. One of her greatest joys was to return to her beloved Tancook Island and homestead each summer. As the Baker matriarch, she hosted an annual family reunion each August for many years. Hilda was quite the seamstress, making both her daughters’ wedding gowns. She loved to cook and make homemade pies. Her home, often referred to as her “Do Drop Inn”, was always open to visitors in Newmarket and Ellenton. She will be dearly missed, but always remembered for her perseverance no matter what life gave her, for her sharp mind and story-telling, for her compassion to help others, for the love that always remained in her heart for her Tancook family, and for her gift to all who knew her – her Hilda hugs. She was eternally grateful to her family and friends who visited or called often and to her caregivers in her later years. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to one of the following organizations: Big Tancook Island Emergency Response Association (B.T.I.E.R.A.) – P.O. Box 73, Big Tancook Island, Nova Scotia, Canada B0J3G0 Newmarket Community Church, 137 Main Street, Newmarket, NH, 03857. New Hope Baptist Church, 9422 Old Tampa Road, Parrish, Florida 34219. NH Food Bank, 700 E Industrial Park Dr., Manchester, NH 03109 A memorial service will be held at a later date at the Kent & Pelzar Funeral Home in Newmarket, NH.
This letter, written by Donna Langille, appeared in RuralLife.ca on January 29, 2021
Growing (up) on Big Tancook Island
Upon reading the article about Chris Sanford and the Tancook Island cabbage, “Propagating cabbage, preserving heritage,” in the December issue (page 20), I took a journey back in time. After supper on cool, early-spring evenings, Dad – Percy Langille, born and raised on Big Tancook Island – would go behind the house where he selected a couple hundred tiny cabbage transplants. The family followed him down the land to the prepared cabbage bed. Dad went ahead and hand-hoed holes in the still-cold soil, mentally placing each one an equal distance apart, allowing ample room for growth. We youngsters delicately dropped one plant at each hole, while Mom – Evelyn – centred each one in its hole and packed the soil around it. This nightly event continued until thousands of tiny soldiers stood with their leafy arms pointed towards the sky.
Tended to all late spring and summer, fall brought harvest time where beautiful, matured cabbages were cut into highly sought-after Tancook sauerkraut. Of course, some were saved intact for winter use. One particular cabbage, I remember, weighed 22 pounds. Mom and Dad cut in tons of cabbage, packed the kraut in different-sized plastic pails, and sold it to loyal customers on the mainland. To them, it was not only lots of hard work but a sense of accomplishment and a way of sharing their knowledge and heritage of the island.
Before most of the cabbages were harvested, Dad scanned the field and, with the skill passed down from forefathers, selected a few, potentially perfect seed producers. Stored in the cold room all winter, planted in the rich island soil in spring, new life in the form of pods erupted filled with precious, tiny black seeds. Samples of such were highly requested after Mom and Dad were featured on an episode of Land and Sea. Packages of the black jewels were mailed all over the mainland to folks who wanted a part of the best cabbages ever grown.
Even though our land was decorated with huge, leafy green beauties, my parents also planted everything from asparagus to zucchini – savoured during the summer, stored in some manner for winter use, and generously shared with family and friends.
My father is no longer with us, but just the other day, Mom, now 93, and I were talking about all their hard work years ago. She so quietly said, “I wish I was doing it all over again.”
Donna Langille, Amherst, N.S.
Beverley Sterling Pearl
Age 80, of Big Tancook Island, passed away peacefully on Thursday, December 24, 2020 in Ryan Hall – Senior Living, Bridgewater, with his family by his side.
Born in East River, he was a son of the late Warren and Olive (Mason) Pearl. Bev worked 30 plus years as a diesel mechanic for Cummins Diesel, and upon retiring moved back to Big Tancook Island. He enjoyed tinkering in the garage, spending time with his Jazzy girl and everything marine.
Bev was a kind and gentle soul who will be missed by all that knew him. Predeceased by his parents; brother, Carroll, and wife, Barbara (Aucoin). Survived by children, Patrick, Dartmouth; Peter, Dartmouth; Lisa (Joseph) Fougere, Dartmouth and grand children, Jasmine, Cheryl, Mellisa, Joseph Fougere.
Arrangements for cremation have been entrusted to Davis Funeral Home, Chester. The family will have a private interment with a Celebration of Life in the spring when all the family can attend.
If so desired, donations in Bev’s memory can be made to Big Tancook Island Emergency Response Association (BTIERA).
Gretta Irene Wilneff (Baker)
Age 95 of Dartmouth, passed away peacefully December 5, 2020 in The Admiral Long Term Care Centre in Dartmouth.
Gretta was born and raised on Big Tancook Island. She was the daughter of Stanley and Theresa Baker. Gretta lived for her family and spent many years traveling to Scotland, Mexico and the United States to create special memories with them.
She was proceeded in death by her husband, Obed Wilneff; her sons, Billy Reid and Blair Gerald Wilneff; her second husband, Stanley Langille; and her brother, Gerald Baker. She is survived by her beloved son, Roger Wilneff and his wife, Donna Quinlan Wilneff. Also survived by her dearest granddaughters, Laura Wilneff Covington her husband, Troy Covington and their daughter, Emerson Covington; and Jacquelyn Wilneff Damico her husband, Matthew Damico and their children, Vincent and Ellis Damico.
Gretta adored and is survived by her niece, Christine Baker Stevens her husband, Gary Stevens and great niece, Lynette Stevens. She is also survived by her niece, Corrine and Grant Mason; her loving nephew, Darrin Baker and his wife Angie, as well as her great niece and nephew, Erica and Blair Baker.
A graveside service will be held on Big Tancook Island after the arrival of the 10:20 a.m. ferry from Chester on Thursday, December 10th. Due to COVID-19 there will be no reception after the service. The ferry returns to Chester at 1:30 p.m. Use of masks and observance of socially distancing protocol is requested for those wishing to attend the service.
After careful consideration and watching the Covid 19 numbers rising in Nova Scotia, I think it necessary to cancel this year’s Christmas service as a health precaution. David Ashcroft
There are a few special places along the south shore that have become secret hideaways, and Tancook Island is one of them. A ferry ride away makes this island, across the waters from the village of Chester, a true ocean lovers destination. While most who visit here enjoy packing a picnic, renting a bike, visiting the beach and quiet seclusion, its become increasingly difficult to find property on the island, this year. Heres your chance to purchase this as a summer escape, or year round home. With 7 Bedrooms there are endless opportunities for this property. Transform into an Air BnB, bed and breakfast or enjoy the extra space for extended family. Some upgrades have been recently completed, a new metal roof and deck to name a few, but there is still work to complete should you be considering a project. If you didnt know, the ferry only carries passengers, without cars, on to Tancook Island from the mainland. Good news, this location is only a short stroll from the Ferry. Now is the time to explore island life.
Peggy, on behalf of the residents of Big Tancook Island, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for your generous service to your community.