It is with great happiness that MARTA gets to celebrate a wonderful milestone birthday with one of its members! Carmel Gallant turns 100 years young on July 12th, 2023!
Carmel was the only child of Elizabeth (McDermott) and James Murdoch, born at Hotel Dieu Hospital, in Chatham, NB, on July 12, 1923. At the age of 6 months her dad passed away so she and her mom moved to Targetville, near Rexton, NB, to be closer to family. Carmel attended school in Targetville for grades 1 to 5, and then returned to Loggieville for grades 6 to 9 and went on to St. Michael’s Academy, in Chatham, for grades 10 and 11 and her graduation in June, 1940. She then went to Fredericton to attend Normal School. During that time, she resided at Rosary Hall with 3 other girls from the Miramichi. In 1942, Carmel graduated with her Teacher’s License.
As a young girl living in Targetville, Carmel enjoyed swimming and skating with her many cousins on the farm. After returning to Loggieville, she continued to enjoy swimming and skating on the Miramichi River.
On August 8, 1945 she married Harold Gallant. Together they had a family of 3 children: 2 sons, Harry and Greg, and 1 daughter, Mary Jenkins. Carmel has 5 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great granddaughter! Carmel is very proud of her family and talks about them all the time!
Carmel continues to reside in picturesque Loggieville, in the house where she was raised and has lived since her birth, and which overlooks the beautiful Miramichi River.
In September, 1942, at the age of 19 Carmel started her teaching career at the Nash Creek Country School at River Louison School. It was a one room school house divided into two classrooms. She travelled to Nash Creek on a train from Loggieville called the Gitney. While at the train station she met a girl from Point aux Carr, who was going to the same school to teach grades 1 to 5, and Carmel would teach grades 6 to 9. The pay was approximately $40.00 a month, from which she had to pay her room and board. She also sent $20.00 a month to help at home!
Many social events were held at the local school houses back then. Carmel walked to work 2 miles each morning, but many people from the community would stop and give her a drive. The local families would invite her to their homes.
Carmel taught at Nash Creek for 1 year, when she was hired by the trustees at the Loggieville School where she taught until June, 1946. At that time, she stopped teaching to help run a family convenience store and taxi stand, and she also helped to look after her mom. Carmel returned to teaching in January 1963, for a six-month term that lasted until 1986! After she returned to fulltime teaching, eventually she began to attend night classes, and she travelled to Bathurst during the summer months to work towards her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education. There’s no denying that Carmel was a busy lady! Incredibly, it was mentioned that Carmel taught school, drove bus and taxi, and operated the family store all at the same time!
Carmel taught a total of 27 years. Her favorite grades were 7 and 8, and her favorite subject was Math. Her most memorable class was the year she had a class of all boys, 32 to be exact, and no girls, therefore no distractions!
Carmel has been retired 37 years; 10 years longer than she taught! Carmel believes that teaching was a good, dependable job and the pay was good, but to be a teacher you must have “lots and lots” of patience and show kindness to everyone.
During her many wonderful years of retirement, Carmel has done some travelling, participated in senior groups, enjoyed driving “her favorite passion” and lots of great friendships. Carmel has always been a very social person who loved to do many things including bingo and bowling with her senior friends!
In fact, one great friend told me she met Carmel in 1975 when she became her mentor and eventually like a second mother to her. They taught together for 10 years at Chatham Junior High and Dr. Losier Middle School. They became really close friends and often went out for lunch every opportunity they got when they didn’t have lunch hour duty. She says Carmel loves sugar pie, and that salt and sugar are her favorites! She can’t say enough about how kind and wonderful Carmel is! She’s always very positive, a hard worker and loved by everyone who knows her, including her former students. She also said that Carmel loves music and plays the piano by ear, and that she definitely loves to dance as well!
Maybe all of her love, kindness, hard work and dedication which she gave selflessly to countless other people, in addition to her family, over many years, are her secrets to living a long wonderful life!
On behalf of all of the Miramichi Area Retired Teachers Association, we thank Carmel for everything she has done and wish her all the best on this very special birthday! You have much to celebrate Carmel and much of which to be proud! Congratulations! From all of the members of MARTA, Happy100th!
Submitted for publication by:
Lois Gilliss, Wellness Chair, on behalf of the MARTA Wellness Committee