Jessie Hyde grew up on a farm nestled in the Meech Creek Valley, which she loved for its quiet, secluded atmosphere. She was an exceptionally devout woman who felt the “Call of the Lord” to a life of service. Following training at Bible colleges in Winnipeg and Regina, she served in Home Missions in Western Canada. When her mother fell ill in 1949, she returned to the Gatineau Valley, where she spearheaded the momentous task of establishing a foster home for children and, following its success, a home for seniors.
In a time before social services, Jessie saw a need and set to work addressing it. She formed a dedicated team to help her fulfill her vision of a safe haven for children in her beloved Meech Creek Valley. Jessie’s team included Lloyd Waterston, whom she married in 1954, a year after the home opened. Over the years, as Jessie ran Brookdale Farm Home, she was also at work securing funds for a new building that would allow her to increase the number of children from 12 to 45. The new home was completed in 1960, the same year she opened Morningside Homes, a residence for seniors, situated across the road from Brookdale. Both homes closed in the mid-seventies after all the farms in the Meech Creek Valley were expropriated by the Quebec government. Many of the children who were raised at Brookdale still live in the Gatineau Valley.
Video: Jessie is presenting her proposal to expand Brookdale Farm home for foster children to a group of government officials. To view video of Jessie’s life click HERE [PHOTO: GVHS 02451-052]