Tessie Greig (nee Duke, second marriage Feemster)
“Her early education was obtained in the little red school house on Judge’s Creek (S.S. #4). Here was instilled the determination to keep on trying until you had reached your goal in life.” Daughter Willa Greig Schmitthausler
Tessie Greig was truly a trailblazer in the County of Bruce when she was the first woman elected to the position of Warden in 1965. Tessie competed against six other Reeves for this position. She had served in the capacity of the Reeve of Lion’s Head from 1960 to 1967. Prior to becoming Reeve, Tessie had served on the Lion’s Head Village Council for a number of years. During Tessie’s tenure as Warden of the County of Bruce, she was presented with the first yardage of the Bruce County Tartan and also the new County Crest.
Tessie was born near Barrow Bay in Eastnor Township and she was a daughter of Thomas and Barbara Duke. In 1917, she married Byron Greig whom she had met while working at the General Store and Post Office at Barrow Bay. Tessie and Bryon were a formidable couple as they farmed in Lion’s Head for many years and later entered into the tourist business by operating Greig’s Cottages. Tessie maintained an energetic pace of life by purchasing and remodeling old buildings. When the first O.P.P. Detachment was established in Lions Head, it was Tessie who built the home for the first Constable. Tessie and Byron built their own home and cottages from stones that they had picked and drawn.
Not only did Tessie demonstrate her sense of community in the physical building of residences and in serving in government roles, she contributed by her association in a number of organizations. Tessie became a member of the Women’s Institute in the 1940s and she was a Past-President of the local Women’s Institute and of the District Women’s Institute. Tessie had a vested interest in the horticultural aspects of Lion’s Head by becoming a member and the President of the Eastnor Horticultural Society. Tessie served on the first executive of the Lion’s Head Bruce Trail Club as the trail was being created. She was also a member of the Bruce County Historical Society and the Ladies Auxiliary to the Legion Branch 202. Tessie was an adherent to the Anglican Church.
During her lifetime, Tessie had the role of spouse to Bryon and mother to daughter, Willa and sons Wallace and John. She was predeceased by Bryon in 1970 and she married Dr. Roy Feemster in 1973. At the time of her death on June 12, 1974, Tessie had been serving as a charter member of the Georgian College Board of Directors. Georgian College’s major focus is the promotion of education through the applied Arts and Technology.
Through a life well lived, Tessie Greig Feemster was determined and she kept on trying until she reached her goals in life and will be truly remembered as a community “Explorer” in the County of Bruce.