Flags flew at half-mast for former Queens councillor

Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
·4 min read

Flags at the Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) offices flew at half-mast from October 16 to 22 in remembrance of former councillor Evelyn Lockwood, who died October 15 in the place she helped build, Queens Manor.

Lockwood, who was 94 at the time of her passing, was widely known throughout Queens, having worked 15 years (1976-1991) as a councillor and deputy warden (1985-1988) for what was then the Municipality of the County of Queens. She was the only female councillor when she started and was the first-ever female deputy warden for Queens.

Christopher Clarke, a former mayor of RQM, recalled growing up near Lockwood and her family in Mill Village.

“We became friends at that time. She was a good person,” said Clarke, adding that since he was the board chair at Queens Manor he saw Lockwood often. “She did good work. She was first chair of the board for Queens Manor. In those days, the town and the county didn’t get along very well. She managed to pull them together, and they built the manor as a joint venture.”

Lockwood was also the chair of the committee that coordinated renovations of Hillsview Acres Residential Care Facility in Greenfield, a project that Clarke built upon while he was mayor.

As well, Lockwood was there cutting the ribbon for Queens County’s first fitness trail, which was located between the administration building and the industrial park; she was president of the home for special care corporation; and threw out the first pitch to open Port Medway and Mill Village fields in May 1990.

She and her husband, Hugh, owned the Mill Village General Store for several years. According to her obituary, she worked tirelessly seven days a week behind the counter at the store, as well as delivering groceries, cashing cheques and keeping track of credit charges.

Above else, she was a caring mother, according to her daughter, Dollie Cole.

“She was a wonderful, protective, loving, nurturing mother. That was number one,” said Cole. “She was always thinking of me, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

Granddaughter Kim Crouse agreed. She affectionally referred to Lockwood as Nanny-Mom, and recalled how if she had a bad dream the grandmother “would make me hot chocolate and toast and let me sleep in her bed.”

Cole said if Lockwood knew someone was coming to visit, or if someone dropped in, the first thing she did was to put a pot of tea on and offer a piece of brown bread or whatever she had in the house.”

Cole described another example of her mother’s kindness, in which she regularly assisted a neighbour who was unable to cope by himself with groceries, and eventually arranged for him to move into the residence in Middlefield, Hillsview. “And he lived there for 18 years,” added Cole.

According to Lockwood’s obituary, nine years after Hugh died in 1985, Lockwood began seeing Curtis Mahaney. They went on to live in Shelburne County for 24 years and often spent their winters in Florida and Georgia.

They were a musical pair — Mahaney played the banjo and Lockwood the fiddle for numerous charities, along with local musicians Jamie Cotter and Dave Burbine. They made a CD to give away to friends, which included a song composed by Lockwood.

Although soft-hearted, that didn’t prevent Lockwood from being feisty at times, according to her daughter.

“She never gave up. If there was something she wanted to do, she did it, and if she thought she was right about something, she made that well known. This carried her through a lot of things,” said Cole. “Even in council, she stuck to her guns. When she wanted the renovations done at Hillsview Acres, she fought and fought for that until it was done.”

Four years ago, she moved into Hillsview Acres, and a year later Queens Manor.

Cole said she had poor circulation after suffering through strokes, and as a result there were several stints in her heart. She had gangrene in her foot, leukemia and dementia. Her heart started to fail in recent months and in June things took a turn for the worst.

Cole visited her mother daily while she was in Queens Manor until the pandemic and lockdowns started in March. Eventually, she was able to participate in window visits, and in September she was allowed to go in and visit for a couple of hours a day, suited up with protective equipment.

While the lockdowns have been difficult on the family members as well as the residents, she commended the staff for taking good care of her mother and regarded them as family.

She was with her mother for the last time on October 14.

“I saw her the night before she passed away, and the last words she said to me were, ‘Don’t worry about me.’,” she recalled. “She was thinking of me and her grandkids all the time.”

Lockwood leaves behind her daughter, Dollie, two granddaughters, four great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

A private graveside service was to be held in Mill Village Cemetery at a later date with Rev. Peter Anthony officiating. Donations may be made to charity of choice.

Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin