Sports enthusiast and local historian Ann McCooeye passes away

Ann McCooeye will be remembered for her dry wit, stamina, sportsmanship, local historical knowledge and kindness. Ann Janet McCooeye (nee Stevenson) arrived in Stittsville on the arm of Elroy (Roy) McCooeye in 1953. Ann was a big-city Toronto girl and coming to a small town such as ours was an adjustment for her, but one she took by the reins. Simply, she loved Stittsville.

(Ann when she was first married. Seen here at Mississippi Lake where the family often went for picnics.)

Ann and Roy were married in 1953 at the old Presbyterian Church on Carp Road. Once married, they lived in the front room of Gwen and Ab Lytle’s (Gwen was Roy’s sister) house on Stittsville Main. Roy and Ann, within the next year started their family – Amy was born, then Tracy and a few years later Timothy (Tim). They moved from the Lytle house, with daughter Amy and just prior to Tracy’s arrival, to an apartment over the old Bradley’s General Store and stayed until 1965. From the apartment over Bradley’s and the year before Tim’s birth, they moved to reside on Bradley Street for 57 years, being one of the original families who moved to the street in the mid-60’s. After Roy’s passing in September, 2019, Ann remained in the family home until her admittance to hospital where she passed away on February 18, 2022 in her 89th year.

(Ann, Tracy and Amy sitting in front of the RCMP building during the Tulip Festival in the fifties.)

From the moment she arrived, Ann was involved in and embraced many of the events and organizations that Stittsville offered. Bowling was Ann’s passion and one at which she excelled. Loving bowling, and learning that a ladies team was already here, she quickly joined and was welcomed by the other girls as a team member of the Stittsville Ladies who bowled out of the old Goulbourn Bowling Lanes. Over the years, Ann won many bowling awards and trophies. Along with Ann, the local team members were – Shirley Gracey, Eileen Healey, Joan Hobin, Gwennie Lytle, Lorraine McKay, Marguerite Scott, and Marion Watchorn. Names so familiar to most of us who have lived here forever.

(Ann in 2004 at the Max Keeping Foundation bowling tournament for CHEO.)

In 2004, Ann and Roy, along with relatives, entered the Max Keeping bowling tournament to raise funds for CHEO. At age 71, Ann hadn’t lost her winning streak and love of bowling – she had a high cross of 782 and a single game of 344! Amazing at any age.

Ann helped to shape Stittsville in the early years and was an important part of local politics where she was outspoken and not shy at fighting for the integrity of our community, especially when it came to the new proposed developments – she became a strong advocate and what we call today NIMBY.

Ann has been a Brownie Leader, was involved in many Stittsville Lions Club activities, a long-time Goulbourn Township Historical Society member, a curler, actively enjoyed lawn bowling with Roy at the Goulbourn Lawn Bowling Club, and along with Roy, a square dancer.

She and Roy loved to dance and took every opportunity to do so. They travelled to Edmonton, Alberta and Halifax, Nova Scotia to square dancing conventions with the Merry Squares where they met and made new friends. Ann and Roy both loved square dancing as much as they loved attending the dances held at the now Goulbourn Museum, the Orange Hall (Stittsville Legion) and, of course, at the Stittsville Community Centre upstairs hall (Johnny Leroux Arena). A community centre for which they supported and worked so hard to ensure we had an indoor arena in Stittsville.

(Ann and Roy were square dancing in Halifax, Nova Scotia where they attended a square dancing convention with the Merry Squares.)

When we were young teens, summer holidays could be long for school kids who didn’t make their own fun. Ann realized this and began a summer volleyball league for teens. It was a huge success with everyone wanting to get in on the action.

(A group of friends from Stittsville attended the Centennial Ball on January 1, 1967. Ann is proudly wearing the yellow centennial gown that she made from her 1953 wedding dress.)

She was an avid Ottawa Senators and Toronto Blue Jays fan but liked nothing more than to attend games or performances in which her children and grandchildren participated. We could always count on Ann to be on the side benches cheering on the Stittsville girls softball team back in the 70’s!

When the Goulbourn Township Historical Society (GTHS) held a ‘History of Firefighting’ presentation in 2015, Ann could be counted on to provide that history through the scrapbooks she kept. Roy had been a volunteer firefighter since 1955. He also served our community as a Captain and then Deputy Chief from 1975-1989. Ann had kept every newspaper clipping of all of the Goulbourn fires – large or small. As it turned out her scrapbooks were the event – with both guest speakers Captain Brian Bedard and Sector Chief Todd Horricks thoroughly enjoying and literally amazed at the history those scrapbooks held.

(From the memory scrapbook of Ann McCooeye – a grass fire at the Beagle Club Road taken in 1973 (off of Fernbank and in present day, part of the Fernbank Quarry near the Stittsville Shooting Range). Top picture is Deputy Chief Roy McCooeye on the left and Alf Gallant on the right. The bottom picture is of Don Smith, left and Roy McCooeye right. Just check out the lack of equipment!)

In March, 2014, a large audience came out to hear a GTHS presentation given by long-time residents Marion Gullock and Lesley McKay entitled, ‘Armchair Walk Down Stittsville Main Street’. The afternoon was filled with photos and memories to go with each picture. One of those attendees, was Ann, who shared her stories of life in our little town – from Big Bill who walked from Carp Road daily and hung out on the window ledge at Bradley’s donning his Ottawa Journal beat-up newspaper bag and his many cats who were waiting at home, the old rink behind the fire hall and Grampa Scott, the volunteer firefighters of the past, and the Goulbourn Township Council, to name just a few of her memories. Her comments, in turn, spurred an abundance of stories that made the afternoon one of the liveliest GTHS presentations.

Ann was such a delight, very much respected and always thought of her community first. Personally, I will sorely miss her friendship, spunk and dry wit – shared during our regular telephone calls over the years.

Ann was not one to be photographed, but we were so pleased to have received some earlier family photos and we want to thank the McCooeye family for sharing these.

Ann is predeceased by her loving husband of 66 years, Elroy McCooeye. She is the dearly loved mother of Amy McEwing (Dave), Tracy Hindle (Ralph) of Calgary, and Tim McCooeye (Brenda Edey) of Carleton Place. She is loving Grandma of Mandy Hindle (Toronto), Crystal McEwing (Ron Barrett), Emily Davis (Jon), Nicholas McEwing (Amanda), Aiden and Conall McCooeye, and beloved Great-Grandma of Ace Tremblay and Mira Barrett.


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3 thoughts on “Sports enthusiast and local historian Ann McCooeye passes away”

  1. Mrs. McCooeye and her husband were founding members of the Goulbourn Lawn Bowling Club and active participants for many years. They were heavily involved in the club going from a hay field in the back of the Richmond Fair Grounds to the full bowling green in Stanley’s Corners today.

    Mrs. McCooeye was a frequent winner of prizes and cups during her playing career. She was as enthusiastic about lawn bowling as all of her other activities – to the great benefit of the club.

    We are delighted that her daughter has continued the family commitment to GLBC.

    1. Mr. & Mrs. McCooeye thoroughly enjoyed lawn bowling. We were friends and she once told me that people would call the house looking for Roy and she would tell them to check the Stittsville firehall or the Goulbourn Lawn Bowling Club. I do recall when the club was in Richmond.

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