A sad loss for C.B.S. heritage preservation

Joan Butler
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Conception Bay South has lost a man who worked tirelessly to preserve our town’s heritage.

Howard Brown of Topsail died last week at the age of 68. His death will leave a huge void on the town’s heritage committee, where he was a long-time member who contributed to the development of our successful heritage designation and grants programs.  

It was through the heritage committee that I started working with Howard in the late 1990s. I met him some years ago through mutual friends.

However, our paths only officially crossed when I began working with the Town of C.B.S. and was assigned to work with the heritage committee.  

Howard was a tremendous support and resource for the entire committee and me during the nine years I worked with the town. Born in Tack’s Beach, Placentia Bay, and living in Topsail since 1966, Howard knew so much about our province and our town.

He worked with the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Archives, so his professional and volunteer lives were closely connected.   

Retirement in 1999 allowed Howard to devote more time to his volunteer work. His volunteer life also included working with St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church and especially the parish’s original church, which is a registered heritage structure.

Howard worked tirelessly to preserve the old church, which is a municipally and provincially designated heritage site.

He was always seeking grants for heritage structures so that he could paint the church, repair the roof or repair some of the old windows.

Thanks to Howard, the old church is the site of a storyboard about the Topsail Heritage Homes and Garden Walk.

He helped to develop the 1.3-kilometre walk around the town’s heritage area. Located off Spruce Hill Road, the quiet country neighborhood is a quaint area that was home to many of the region’s first settlers and today boasts historic homes well over a century old.   

Although the walk is designed to be self-guided, Howard regularly volunteered his time to provide guided tours. A guided walk with local historian Howard Brown was one of the activities during the town’s annual Kelligrews Soiree.

Of course, Howard was always willing to do other tours upon request. His love of his province and his knowledge of our history and culture were evident during these leisurely strolls through the town’s heritage area.

Howard was the natural choice to represent the town and heritage advisory committee in March 2007 when the Topsail Heritage Homes and Gardens Walk was recognized at the 15th annual Manning Awards for Excellence in Public Presentation of Historic Places.  

One thing that I will always remember about Howard is his love and respect for his family. His family always came first. While he was working with the heritage committee members on many heritage projects, we knew that the work could not interfere with his family life and commitments. Whether it was having lunch with his mother or doing something for his wife or children, we knew that was his priority.

I respected him for putting his family first, as some of us sometimes neglect our family and friends because we get caught up in our volunteer commitments.  

We have lost a wonderful man who was passionate about our province and his family. He will be missed. Howard leaves behind his wife, two daughters and their husbands, two grandchildren, and many other relatives and friends.

Coastal Sounds choir

Looking for a new activity for the new year?

If so, consider joining Coastal Sounds, a C.B.S community choir that has resumed practices on Wednesday evenings.

The choir meets 7:30 p.m. at Admiral’s Coast Retirement Centre, Anthony’s Road, Upper Gullies. New members welcomed each week.

For more information, visit www.coastalsounds.ca or www.facebook.com/Coastalsoundschoir.

Joan Butler is a lifelong resident of Kelligrews,

Conception Bay South. She can be reached by email at joanbutler@ymail.com.

Organizations: Topsail Heritage Homes, Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Archives, Evangelist Anglican Church

Geographic location: Tack, Placentia Bay, Spruce Hill Road Kelligrews

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