Theresa Kennedy is an Occupational Therapist in Providence Healthcare’s Stroke Clinic. One night, she was scrolling through Instagram when she came upon a post on Providence’s
@PeopleofProvidenceTO profile. Displayed was a picture from 1964 of Ed Sullivan from The Ed Sullivan Show touring Providence Villa (known today as Providence Healthcare). Theresa paused to take a second look. The gentleman in the centre of the photo caught her eye and no wonder… it was her grandfather, Vern Moore!
She learned from her uncle, Neil Moore, that Vern was Chair of the Board for Providence Villa for 15 years. Explains Neil, “Your grandpa was out of the house one to two nights a week at meetings but more frequently responding to calls from the Sisters of St. Joseph on various issues.”
He was originally invited to be a Board member by other Board members who knew him and he was elected to be the Board Chair in the mid to late 1950s.
“Dad was well known in the Catholic community as he was also a Member of the Board of the Council of Catholic Charities, of which Providence Villa was a fund recipient,” says Neil. “He did a great deal of things for them as Board Chair including inviting Ed Sullivan to entertain the residents. Dad made the arrangements for him to come from New York for that event.”
Most notably, Vern helped plan the move from the original House of Providence on Power Street (1857 – 1962) to the brand new Providence Villa and Hospital.
He reached out to different levels of government, including Mayor Nathan Phillips’ office, to coordinate, “free assistance and support for the move, including the Toronto Police service, Toronto Ambulance service and Toronto Fire Department.”
“Every single resident had a huge photo I.D. lanyard made ahead of time so that everyone knew who they were and what room they were going to when they arrived at the Villa.”
Here it is 55 years later and Theresa is carrying on the legacy her grandfather put in place at Providence, following in his footsteps of helping people and healing lives.
“I was surprised and happy to see his face again and be reminded that we have walked down the same hallways,” says Theresa. “I never knew the detail behind what my grandpa did here at Providence, so it was really fun and meaningful to find out.”