Memorial to the late Joseph-Henri Gaudet installed in Tignish
by Sue Gallant
A permanent memorial and tribute to the life and work of the late, great, Joseph-Henri Gaudet, has recently been installed within the Tignish Cultural Centre.
Gaudet was an outspoken, colourful, controversial and deeply spiritual man, who worked tirelessly to preserve his region’s history for prosperity. He received many prestigious awards for his work, including the Order of PEI in 2000, and posthumously, the order of Canada in 2002. Gaudet died in 2001 at the age of 69, after suffering for many years from diabetes. He now rests in the graveyard of his beloved St .Simon’s and St. Jude’s Church, Tignish.
Although Gaudet left school in grade seven, he later became a teacher; a career which was to span three decades. Gaudet’s private passions led him further to become an accomplished organist, genealogist, antiquarian, historian and published writer. He fought in vain to preserve the original Dalton School/Museum from demolition. When the historic building came down in the late nineties, he was devastated and refused to leave his house that day. A 30 minute video presentation featuring Gaudet speaking knowledgeably and proudly from inside the former school/museum, is part of the memorial tribute now on display to the viewing public.
Jamie LeClair is Manager of the Tignish Cultural Centre: “The Tignish Historical Preservation Foundation Inc. was excited when we received funding from the Community Museum Association of Prince Edward Island to create a permanent memorial to J. Henri Gaudet,” LeClair told The Buzz. “Members of J. Henri Gaudet’s family were honoured and touched to have this done. This exhibit is to recognize the contribution, dedication and Henri’s many years of tireless work to preserve history and collect artifacts in our community. The Tignish Historical Preservation Foundation Inc. is proud of Henri’s accomplishments and honoured to have this exhibit in the Interpretive Centre in memory of him.”