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Profile: Minnie Organ

Minnie Organ has retired after 41 years with the Town of Ramea. – © Ann Margaret Cutler

By Ryan King

RAMEA — Friday, March 4 marked the last day of work for Minnie Organ, after 41 years of service with the Town of Ramea. Organ retired as the Town Clerk Manager for the small, tight knit outport town where she was born and raised.

“It’s very quiet. You had your own little group of friends, and like most small communities, just hung out and off playing games or whatever,” shared Organ, who was the second child of seven. “I grew up with six brothers, so sometimes I help to take care of my brothers.”

After graduating high school, Organ relocated temporarily to Port aux Basques for a nine month shorthand typing course at the vocational school, travelling back home on the weekends.

“I made a lot of friends, and it was different from being in Ramea. It was good. We had travel in by boat, not by road, to get there,” recalled Organ. “There was no road connection back then.”

After graduating she returned home to work with Edward L. Carter Co. Ltd. for three and a half years, but that wasn’t actually her first job.

“My first job was working on the fish plant actually. I started doing that – was only 14 – after schools, and on Saturdays, weekends, and throughout the summers.”

In 1980, Organ began her four decades long career at the town office.

“I actually started part-time as secretary back then, and I worked my way up to where I was when I retired.”

Organ had a number of responsibilities during her tenure.

“I was responsible for attending meetings, taking the minutes, and typing the minutes, paying invoices, accounts receivable, and accounts payable, and responding to correspondence and anything you could think of that would be done in the office.”

Organ very much enjoyed her work with the town.

“I liked it all. Once I was on my own, of course, I had more responsibilities. I mean, when I worked with someone else, that person was in charge, so obviously they took on the biggest responsibilities,” said Organ. “I stayed there that long I must have liked something about it right?”

What she remembers most fondly is just meeting people.

“Getting to know all the people, like all the residents in the community. Like you meet everyone that comes to the town,” shared Organ. “We’re a small town and all the tourists that came in would probably drop into the town hall, and you get to work with all the students in the summer jobs. You get to meet so many people and you get to know so many people. That’s the thing with me that I like best about it overall.”

Organ could not identify one particular project the town enacted as being most memorable.

“Everything that we did in the community was important, like from getting projects for the walking trail, and like even this year we did a project, our museum our heritage museum/heritage center. That was all redone and stuff. All the stuff that we got funds for, it was important.”

Organ worked with four different mayors and councillors, and saw her share of emergencies.

“In 1993 our school burned down, and that was a bad one. And in 1989, I think it was, we had a freezing ice storm, which we lost our power for a few days, and that was a big mess. I think quite a few towns in Newfoundland probably experienced that. And our most recent was the storm surge that caused salt to enter into our water reservoir, so that was not good.”

With her career no longer taking priority, there are a few things Organ is looking forward to now that she has retired.

“Just having more time for myself and spend more time with family and friends. Visiting family and friends. And we got a cabin in on Burgeo road, so hopefully we will spend more time there.”

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