Headingley Heritage: Jean Ammeter
by Amber McGuckin
The historical records in Jean Ammeter’s home aren’t netted with dust. The active files line the walls of her office and cover her dining room table like a quilted paper tablecloth.
Ammeter is known for her passion for Headingley’s history, which was stoked when she started looking for information on her roots about 30 years ago. Her interest into history grew from there.
“I’ve always been interested in the history of the community,” she said. “When my husband could get around more, we used to transcribe (cemetery tombstones) and compile them.”
Ammeter lives with her husband, Raymond, in the home she grew up in on Portage Avenue. She still remembers what the area was like as a child.
“There was animals and everything at the house those early days. So I worked and helped with different things on the farm, driving trucks and shoveling grain, I did all those sorts of things,” she said.
Ammeter says there are the same amount of homes near her place, just outside the Perimeter Highway.
“It’s always been changing. Different businesses come in, different homes. It can be maybe one new house here or there or two developments,” she said.
When Headingley separated from Winnipeg in 1993, Ammeter helped plan what the municipality’s future would look like.
“We had a round table about what Headingley needed and where it was going. We came up with a bunch of different ideas and one was the need for a historical society,” she said.
Ammeter is still involved in the Headingley Historical Society as well as the municipality’s genealogy group.
With knowledge from those groups, Ammeter has helped compile multiple historical books: Descendants of Neil Keith and Flora McDougall; Leaves in the Ammeter Tree; Our Welsh Heritage; From the Hills of Wales: Memoirs of Albert. S. Jones and the largest, Headingley Pioneers, Past & Present, which she wrote with the historical society and Winnipeg historian Murray Peterson in 2004.
Most recently, Ammeter and local historian Dave Taylor have been working on compiling the history of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Headingley
“We’ve been going through sort of everything in the church and then compiling all the stories about it,” she said.
Some interesting details have emerged.
“There’s a big stained glass on the north side of the church. It had a name on there: Mary Ann Tate,” she said. “We were often curious as to why her name was on this window.”
Digging into it, they found out it was her memorial.
Even though there is not a set date when the book on the history of the church will be completed, Ammeter is busy uncovering Headingley’s history.
Page revised: 5 March 2015