Emma Jane (Avery) Drodge

Reprinted from Cornucopia, October 2017
Central Retired Teachers’ Association
by Christine Stringer 



Emma Jane Drodge was born on December 29, 1929 at Long Beach, Trinity Bay to Alfred and Sarah Avery. She attended a one-room school at Long Beach from Elementary to Grade X1, where the students had to bring fire-wood for the stove to heat the school.

She received her teaching license in 1949 at 20 years of age and started a teaching career that lasted for 35 ½ years. In the early years travel was difficult having to travel some distance in boat, often getting wet and cold, then on train to her location of work. Her pay cheque was enough at that time to pay her board with a few dollars left for spending money. This meant she could come home only on long holidays.

Almost all of her positions were in United Church one-room schools like Come By Chance, which was her first position- a replacement position from February to June. From there to Thornlea in 1949, to Windsor, Portugal Cove for three years, Appleton, Caplin Cove, Trinity Bay for four years, North West Brook, back to Caplin Cove for another nine years and finally Little Hearts Ease High School ending her career to retirement in 1984. She received her Grade 1V Teaching Certificate in 1978 by attending summer schools at Memorial University in St. John’s. She took night courses at Clarenville to finish and get her Bachelor of Education Degree.

She met Clifford Drodge a few years before going to Caplin Cove in 1955 and they were married two years later. She lived in Caplin Cove until the time of her passing.

Emma had a full and rewarding life. She was a loving and caring person with a good sense of humor. She dedicated her life to teaching children in schools and through various groups such as C.G.I.T. girls, Brownies and Girl Guides. During her teaching career she organized and directed Christmas, and Easter plays, concerts and Sunday School programs. She financially supported children from other countries for more than thirty years.

She was active in the United Church, Caplin Cove right up to her death at 86. She was a member of the U.C.W., an organist, Women’s Choir Director, an Elder, a delegate to the East District Conference and served on the Church Board and various church committees and was the Mission and Service Enthusiast. Emma received a plaque for her many years of service as organist, a Honourable Retirement and Life Membership Award from the Newfoundland Teachers’ Association and a Life Membership Award from the United Church Women’s Division of Missions in Canada. She was a member of the Central Division of Retired Teachers’ Association and attended many of their meetings in Gander.

Her hobbies included reading a good book and especially the Downhome Magazine. She enjoyed trouting, knitting, sewing, and berry picking. She loved the time she spent cooking and baking. Her music was dear to her heart and she was often heard playing her organ. Emma had a flower garden and some beautiful trees. She enjoyed going to socials and visiting Senior Homes. A favourite thing of hers was to exchange Christmas cards with friends that she met all over Newfoundland. It was her way of “Keeping in Touch”.

Emma was in a car accident on the Trans Canada Highway on December 20, 2016 and passed away on December 21, 2016 as a result of her injuries at the Health Sciences in St. John’s with close friends and family members at her side. Funeral service was held at Wesley United Church, Caplin Cove with interment at the United Church Cemetery, Caplin Cove.

Some of the writings in Proverbs Chap 31 best describe Emma. They are: Who can find a virtuous and capable woman? She is more precious than rubies. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. When she speaks, her words are wise and she gives instructions with kindness. Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last, but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Lord, reward Emma for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

Emma or (Aunt Jane) to me left a lasting impact on her students because she had their best interest at heart. When they succeeded it meant that she had achieved her purpose. She was loved and respected by all that knew her. She will be sadly missed and forever loved and remembered by her niece Christine and husband Howard.