The Executive

Read the bios of the Executive — a great group who would love you to become a member.

Mary Simpson, President – Mary Simpson’s journey has been one of unwavering commitment to rural community development. She works with Boards of Directors to enhance board policies, procedures, and governance practices. Mary holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from York University, specializing in Participatory Planning. She brings tools for deep collaboration and Dynamic Governance to the historical society and loves finding a role for volunteers that brings their joy, passion, and skills to the task of preserving our stories.

Ken Beecroft, Past President – While growing up, I enjoyed reading books which were set in past times. Whether they were about ancient civilizations, medieval Europe or Mississippi rafting adventures, the characters captured my imagination. Later in life, I enjoyed stories about the World Wars, the Depression, and pioneer life.  I treasure the family lore told by my family members who are now gone. I regret not asking them more questions and taking the time to listen.

Thanks to a patriarchal uncle many years ago who fostered my interest in our family tree, I quietly and naively began a life-long search to learn not just tombstone data, but the details of my ancestors’ lives. That quest continues.

The tools and resources available to genealogy researchers today are way beyond that which was available thirty years ago. Organizations such as Glencoe & District Historical Society preserve and promote history in a society that doesn’t appear to respect the past, has little regard for the future and appears to live for the now.

Rhonda Long, Director, Outreach & Networking – Rhonda Long is a passionate advocate for Southwestern Ontario tourism, dedicating 18 years to promoting the region through “Daytripping in Southwestern Ontario.” With a knack for forging connections across the tourism sector, from Direct Marketing Organizations to quaint museums, Rhonda’s mission is to unveil the wonders of one’s own backyard. As a Sales Representative, she excels in crafting advertising solutions, meeting deadlines, and nurturing client relationships. Her motto? “Customers are the heartbeat of our business.”

Ayako MacDonald – I’m a recent arrival from Japan, finding my new home in Canada at the dawn of 2022. I’ve been captivated by the local culture and history since my arrival.

One cultural insight that truly surprised me was the limited emphasis on local history in Canadian schools. This discovery ignited my passion for preserving the stories and traditions that shape our community. In my role, I bring a fresh perspective to our historical society by:

  • Modernizing Workflows: I’m dedicated to streamlining our operations and ensuring the preservation of essential historical information.
  • Connect Past and Present: I’m committed to making our engaging events accessible both in person and online, fostering a stronger sense of community and heritage appreciation.
  • Planning for the Future: I’m involved in strategizing for engaging youth and volunteer onboarding, ensuring the legacy of our historical society endures for generations to come.

I am driven by a shared vision to safeguard the stories of our past. Let’s work together to bridge the gap between history and the future, and ensure that the rich tapestry of Glencoe’s history remains vibrant and accessible to all.

Norm McGill, Vice-President.

Denise Corneil, Secretary – With a background in nursing spanning 30 years, Denise was integral to the launch of North America’s first “Story Telling” barn quilt trail. Rooted in the Village of Wardsville’s history, Denise animated the village of 300 to design a unique trail project which intertwined fabric, film, paint, and pen, showcasing the life of founders Mr. and Mrs. George Ward through thirty 8’x8′ barn quilts crafted with 1000 volunteer hours in 2010.

At the helm of the since 2009, Denise has demonstrated unwavering dedication. She has sustained the project with the support of Creative Communities (a handful of community animators), patiently expanding historical storytelling via barn quilts and the arts across Canada. She is also deeply involved in the village Wardsville.

Diana Jedig, Treasurer – Diana has 18 years of board governance within the Canadian CED Network. Career highlights include managing the $14.1 million Sand Plains Community Development Fund for Agriculture, Agri-Food Canada, and the $15 million Community Transition Program for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs. Her contributions shine through 12 years of financial administration with RDA (FedDev Ontario) funding and crucial project support for 20 project locations at Chippewas of the Thames First Nation. With 35 years in non-for-profit management, Diana Jedig excels in fundraising and project coordination. She is a member of Creative Communities and a stalwart supporter of Canada Barn Quilt Trails. She is one of the protectors of the Native Women’s Trail of Tears Barn Quilt Project and is a member of the Glencoe & District Historical Society. She lives in Chippewa of the Thames community.

Harold Carruthers, General Manager – What first piqued my interest in history was sitting on my Grandmother Carruthers’ knee to study old family picture albums and letters from Scotland. She would patiently explain to me who each person was and what their connection to our family was.  I was likely only about seven at that time, and as a young boy there likely would have been more fun things to be doing but I have nothing but pleasant memories of those times.

A few of my projects were: Restoration of the Grand Trunk Wabash Station (1978-2001); area postcard/photo collection (1968-present); transcribing area cemetery records (1970-1983); early settlers (1978-2000); preserving original transcripts; heritage sign project; and collecting Peter McArthur books. I have assisted in supplying information for nine books. A very special project was returning the registry records back to Glencoe after an absence from 1991 to 1997, with the assistance of MPP Irene Matheyssen.

Past Executive Members

JoAnn Galbraith: I was born in Middlemiss in my grand-parents’ house. Living in this house with my grandparents were my parents, an uncle whose wife was expecting, a bachelor uncle, and my first cousin, who my grandparents had raised. While owning a business in Dutton, I met my husband Jack. In 1960 we were married and purchased the house built in 1890 for my great-grandmother. Jack and I raised our five children – John, Jamey, Jayna, June and Jennifer – in that home which I still live in today.

My interest in family history and the area began the day I was born. My ancestors loved telling stories of living in the area and the family lineages. In 1977, I inherited genealogy records that had being researched by an uncle who was born in 1894.

When Reverend George Hamilton approached me with the idea of forming a Historical Society in 1978, I joined up and accepted the position of 2nd Vice President. I am also a charter member of the Ekfrid Museum in Appin.

Marilyn McCallum – I love the puzzle of history. It is at no time limited; it is never complete. As we progress, new tools and new sources reveal themselves. Accepted facts about the past are revealed and finally emerge when the pieces are put together.

My interest in history was piqued by my father who always told stories about the people, the happenings, and the buildings – present and long gone in Melbourne and area. Years later, I was asked to compile and type a book on the history of Melbourne and I eagerly accepted! I also work with the Ekfrid Museum in Appin.

Ken Willis – There were not many subjects in elementary school that I enjoyed but History was one I did. When I entered High School, English and Ancient history came easily to me.  I could remember ages, events and the people involved… I got good grades!  As I look back now, I wish there had been more about local history because my ancestors played an important role.

Eventually I began researching Wardsville, my home town, and have carried the title of “Official Wardsville Historian” since 1986.  I have been the curator of the Wardsville Historical Museum since 2002.  In 1993 and 2000, I wrote two books on the history of Wardsville. I have published the historical writings and poems of my grandfather, W.A. Edwards.  In 1991, I helped write the book “Golden Days of High School”, contributing a chapter on the former Wardsville High School.  I was a founding member of “Your Wardsville” Community Association in 2009 which worked with playwright Marion Johnson and her producer sister Nancy Johnson to stage their play about the Duncombe Rebellion of 1837.  

In 2010, I joined with scores of Wardsvillians to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of Wards Station by George and Margaret Ward, a bicentennial heritage event that was a huge success. 

Currently, I continue to research past Wardsville and area residents, write papers and present the results of my work to societies and other interested parties.  I enjoy my Historical Society membership duties, doing research for those seeking their family roots in the area.  

Lorne Munro – I became interested in historical events in the 1970s. My interest grew after attending the 25th Anniversary banquet of the Glencoe & District Historical Society at the Glencoe Legion in 2003. We presently have eight family genealogy books in our home that I manage and update. has been a great help and I correspond with family members to gather information.

During my tenure as President in 2018, the Society’s collection moved from our rooms on Main Street to the old library at 178 McKellar Street, Glencoe. I have served as secretary, first vice president, president (a couple of times). I’m slowing down now, just working on Wednesday afternoons in The Archives and enjoying any other projects that come along.

Peacefully at Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital , Strathroy on Monday, March 18, 2024 William “Lorne” Munro passed away in his 91st year. Predeceased by his wife Phyllis (2023). Dear father to Janice and Tom McCallum, Susan Sinclair and Steve Schneider and Cheryl and Roy Neves. Cherished Grandpa to Matt and Becky, Kimberly and Paul, Adam and Kirissa, Andrew and Reilly, John and Stacey, Scott and Mandy, Jacob, Emily and Brandon. Great-Grandpa to Isabelle, Josephine and Elliott. Lorne will be missed by many nieces and nephews. Predeceased by his parents Neil and Florence Munro, his sister Anna and his brother Keith.