Celebrating the philanthropy of Jeffery Hale

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Photo: Shirley Nadeau

Mayor Régis Labeaume holds gifts presented to him by Mayor David Neve, of Tunbridge Wells, England. With him are Deputy Mayor Michelle Morin-Doyle and Didier Culat, former President of Jeffery Hale - Saint Brigid's, now member of the board of directors of the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale.

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Jeffery Hale Hospital, a ceremony in Jeffery Hale’s memory was held at Mount Hermon Cemetery on September 8. Sheltered from the rain under large tents, some 200 people gathered near the Hale monument in the lower level of the cemetery.

Well protected from the pouring rain by their ample capes, the 78th Fraser Highlanders marched down the hill to the tents playing Scottish airs. 

The ceremony, which was organized jointly by the Jeffery Hale Foundation and Mount Hermon Cemetery, was attended by several distinguished guests, including Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume, Deputy Mayor Michelle Morin-Doyle and MP Joël Lightbound.

A similar ceremony had been held a few days earlier in Tunbridge Wells (about 30 miles southeast of London), England, to mark the restoration of Jeffery Hale’s gravesite there. 

 HALE_Monument__1_.jpg (Photo by Shirley Nadeau)

The Hale family monument in Mount Hermon was also restored, and now bears the following text: In memory of Jeffery Hale Esq., January 29, 1803 - November 13, 1864, founder of Jeffery Hale’s Hospital, co-founder of Mount Hermon Cemetery, visionary and philanthropist dedicated to the advancement of education and to the care of Quebec City’s destitute. Buried at Woodbury Park Cemetery, Royal Tunbridge Wells, England. – The Jeffery Hale Foundation, 2016

Born in Quebec City in 1803, Jeffery Hale was educated overseas and joined the Royal Navy at age 14. After 10 years of service, he returned to Quebec City and began his life's work of philanthropy. One of the most generous benefactors in Quebec City history, Hale devoted most of his personal resources to the advancement of education and the care of the destitute. He died while visiting relatives in England and was buried there.

Earlier this year Michael Boden went to Tunbridge Wells to present a cheque from the Jeffery Hale Foundation in the amount of £9,000 (about $36,000 CDN) to Woodbury Park Cemetery. Boden came home with gifts from Mayor David Neve, which he presented to Mayor Labeaume at Thursday’s ceremony. 

Jeffery Hale’s last philanthropic act was to bequeath funds to found a hospital for sick Protestants. For 150 years, the Jeffery Hale Hospital has played a key role in serving the healthcare needs of the Greater Quebec City area and as a focal point for Quebec City’s English-speaking community. 

“By celebrating our roots during the hospital’s 150th anniversary, we hope the example Jeffery Hale set in terms of philanthropy will still resonate with people today,” said Bryan O’Gallagher, president of the Jeffery Hale Foundation.

Mayor Labeaume said it was essential to honour the memory of this exceptional man, a philanthropist who had the health and welfare of his community at heart.

Founded in 1848, Mount Hermon Cemetery is one of the oldest garden cemeteries in the province. It occupies 25 acres in the historical borough of Sillery and is the final resting place of some 18,000 individuals. Classified a National Historic Site in 2007, it attracts hundreds of visitors each year seeking their ancestor’s final resting place or paying homage at the graves of such well-known local public figures as Joseph D. Morrin, James MacPherson Le Moine, René Jalbert and, more recently, Gilles Lamontagne. 

The mandate of the Jeffery Hale Foundation is to support charitable organizations that make a significant difference to Quebec City’s English-speaking community.  Since its creation in 1963, this private foundation has carried on Jeffery Hale’s philanthropic legacy by financially supporting numerous initiatives, primarily in the area of health and social services, both within our community and the local region at large.

A cocktail reception was held in a tent near the entrance to the Cemetery, and the musical group Rosheen entertained. Lynn Vallières, lead singer and the group’s manager, sang a song based on a poem she had written about Jeffery Hale some years ago. The Ballad of Jeffery Hale will be featured in a video called The Philanthropist that is currently being prepared for this year’s celebrations.