Gervais, Norman Edgar & Lynda Holly
Inducted: October 25, 2006
Edgar and Lynda Gervais have made a commitment to the future of agriculture in Kent County through their impressive record of work with young people.
Norman Edgar, born on a Dover farm, was one of three sons of Orval Gervais and the former Norma Gillet. All three sons are farmers. Lynda Holly Weir, a teacher before her marriage was the daughter of Donald Weir and the former Marion Moeyaert, and was brought up in Wallaceburg.
Edgar attended one-room country schools, S.S. No. 8, Chatham Township, and S.S. No. 2, Dover, then Chatham Vocational School, where he finished his secondary education and received his Grade 12 diploma just before his 16th birthday.
Lynda attended D. A. Gordon and W. T. Laing Public Schools and Wallaceburg District Secondary School, graduating in 1959. From the age of 11 on, she worked part-time in Durfy’s Bakery. She was a member of the First Baptist Church Choir, and played in the town Kiltie Band.
Poor living arrangements cut short her first term at the London Teachers’ College, and she returned to Wallaceburg to take a special commercial course from which she graduated in 1960. After a brief stint as a secretary, she returned to Teachers’ College in London, and graduated in 1961.
It was at Teachers’ College that she met Brenda Hunter, later Brenda DeNure, who introduced her to Edgar. They were married on April 17th, 1965 in Trinity United Church, in Wallaceburg.
Lynda quickly made up for her lack of farm experience. She threw herself into the farm programs in which Edgar was involved, with enthusiasm and a desire to learn everything she could. He was a good role model to follow.
Edgar was an outstanding member of Junior Farmers, and from the first, Lynda shared that interest. The year before they were married, Edgar was named the top Junior Farmer in Kent. He has served as President of the Kent County Junior Farmers and was a Provincial Director.
He has been the Leader of many 4H Clubs in the Dresden-Turnerville area, and received his 25-year recognition in 1998. As a member of the 4H Executive, Edgar has been instrumental in planning many activities for 4H members, including exchanges, Judging Days and picnics. He helped organize the 4H Exhibit for the International Plowing Match in Kent County in 1979; and was a 4H chaperone for the Alberta Exchange in 1984.
Edgar has grown seed beans since 1986; and in December, 2005 received his Long Service Certificate from the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association for 20 years of pedigreed seed production. He is a “Select Seed Grower”. Edgar has been a member of the Kent Soil and Crop Improvement Association and of the Kent Cattlemen’s Association; Chairman and a member of the Kent Wheat Board. He is a member of the Kent Soybean Board. Edgar practices no-till farming on his farmland.
Following the completion of Teachers’ College, Lynda taught within the Kent County Board of Education at the Central Public School and the D.A. Gordon Public School, both located in Wallaceburg. Since their marriage, Lynda has been a full partner on the farm. She helped in the fields, and in anything that needed doing. While Edgar has been a Leader of 4H Field Crop Clubs, she has been a 4H Homemaking Club Leader for many years, and an excellent one. One associate said, “She was very versatile – she could do anything!” Another 4H Leader said, “If I had a problem, and needed to call someone, it would be Lynda. She was very dependable. She was one of my favourite 4H people.”
Others said that in her 4H work, she always had a special feeling for the underdog, the less fortunate members, and she would do everything she could to help them along. A Home Economist said the Leaders are the real backbone of the 4H program, and Lynda has been one of the best.
When a friend said of her, “she’s a very crafty person”, she is referring to Lynda’s mastery of every household craft. She added, “She is a perfectionist - in cooking, in sewing, in quilting, in painting, in ceramics. In every homemaking talent she excels, and shares her knowledge and abilities with others. She is a very giving person.”
A common description of her, repeated by friends and associates, “she’s a wonderful lady!” One neighbour said “She and Edgar live the Christian life.”
Another said, “Whatever she undertakes, she wants to do perfectly. She will find out everything she can, whether it is quilting or ceramics, or needlepoint. She researches, she studies, she learns everything she can about whatever she is doing.” They have worked hard in, and to promote the Dresden Exhibition.
They are active members of Lindsay Road United Church. Edgar and Lynda have filled many offices in the church, and Lynda teaches quilting in a Tuesday program, has taught cooking and sewing, and has used her talents as a teacher in many other fields. They are involved in the shuffleboard program. Any proceeds her activities generate, go to the church. Lynda is a very active member of the United Church Women.
They are “hard working, they are good people, kind people who have done everything they can to make farming better, and agriculture more prosperous. They are good partners.”
Brenda and Reg DeNure paid this tribute: “We have known – and respected – Ed and Lynda for most of the last half century. The friendship began at Junior Farmers (where Brenda met Ed) and then at Teachers’ College, London (where Brenda and Lynda first met). Brenda was, in fact, the common denominator.
Ed and Lynda married in the spring of 1965 and settled on the Gervais farm just west of Turnerville in September, 1966. They continue to live and farm on the homestead. Their children, Murray and Tracy, adopted the work ethic of their parents, and both hold managerial positions in their chosen fields.
During their forty-plus years in the community, they have contributed countless hours and their many talents to their Church, Junior Farmers, 4H, local fairs and those who may have need. They are generous, focused, dependable, honest and sincere friends with whom we are proud to be associated.”