Inducted: November 21, 2023
Kathleen (Kay) Quinton has been a vital participant in the rural area of Palmyra. She has been active in farming, leading 4H and teaching adults as well as promoting a healthier environment. She stands as a model for young farmwomen across rural Canada.
Kathleen (Kay) Downie was born on December 29th, 1940 in St. Thomas to Fred and Mary L. Downie.
She married John William Quinton on June 29th, 1963 and they have two sons, Christopher and Gordon.
Kay graduated from West Elgin High School and went on to London Teacher's College graduating in 1961. She taught in rural schools in Dunwich and Howard Townships for 5 years.
During her years on the farm, she and John completed veterinary and pesticide courses and Environmental Farm Plans as she was a full working partner.
Kay belonged to Highgate United Church where she taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, and led the music program for Vacation Bible Schools.
She belonged to the United Church Women and held many offices. She was also President of the United Church Highgate Couples Club and the Highgate Friendship Club.
Kay was a member of the Women's Institute since 1972 where again, she held most offices including 3 years as President. As well, she produced branch programs and booklets yearly since 1974. She also taught short OMAFRA courses geared to rural women, such as nutrition, running their households, and participating in meetings and parliamentary procedures. These were vital sources of information in the era of the relative isolation of farmwomen before the age of the internet.
Kay oversaw the District Scholarship selection for many years and promoted the opportunity to the youth at the annual 4H Banquets. She also helped judge entries and presented the cheques to the winners. Kay was a co-leader for several 4H Clubs.
At the Community Hall, she convened funeral lunches, and dinners for the Orford Council as well as receptions and other social functions.
Kay is a Charter Member of the Kentish Scribes who used her calligraphy skills to write award certificates.
She used her leadership skills in the Morpeth Heritage Club and the East Kent Shuffleboard Club. Kay enjoyed being active and involved in each club that she joined and confidently held executive positions.
While Kay was a full active partner on the farm with her husband, she was willing, able and very competent to complete any job that needed to be done. She was known to go above and beyond what was required to add the 'little touches' that get the job done 110%.
Kay has been an extraordinary farmwife. With her husband John, she helped with the animals, hoed crops, picked stones, unloaded grain wagons, helped with hay and straw baling, drove wagons to the Co-op, and even painted machinery. All this in addition to raising two very successful sons, looking after house and meals, tending the garden, then canning and freezing produce for the winter.
In her spare time, she took elderly neighbours to their appointments, and she cleaned the community hall before a rental. She also helped with rabies clinics, worked at election booths, helped with daycare for special needs children, helped run BINGOs to raise money for the community hall, and led singing at the Senior home. And in all her work, she did it selflessly and without complaint.
Kay was also interested in a better environment so she helped plant numerous trees, promoted wind energy, and helped to educate users of the Orford dump to sort garbage for recycling.
Jean Gillard says that Kay is a well-organized, cheerful worker at home and in the community. Whatever challenges Kay faces, she soldiers on and does her best without complaint. The Palmyra Women's Institute is proud to nominate Kay for this special honour. She should be promoted as a good model for young farmwomen across rural Canada.