CBCM honours Booth in ‘practical’ way

CONSTANCE BAY – The Constance Bay Community Market (CBCM) will remember Judy Booth with a ‘purposeful’ memorial on display at each and every market going forward.

Judy is a West Carleton resident and former CBCM board director who died early this year in the tragic Westboro OC Transpo bus crash on Jan. 11, 2019.

On Saturday, Aug. 10, market manager Cindy Pratt, builder Chris Kritsch and widower Chesley Booth unveiled a beautiful cedar bench dedicated in Judy’s memory that will offer a respite for shoppers on market days.

It was a quiet dedication with no speeches. Just a photo and a brief chat with West Carleton Online following the dedication.

Judy’s death was a highly publicized collision occurring when an OC Transpo double-decker bus struck a shelter awning at Westboro station. Judy was one of three public servants killed in the collision. Another 23 were injured – some very seriously.

Judy was well known for her friendliness and was an active member in her community. Not only was Judy a “creative” vendor at the young and growing CBCM, Judy was a director with the board as well. Judy also was a past president of the North Lanark Highland Games, member of the Ottawa Highlanders, and past member of the Sons of Scotland, Ottawa Police Services and RCMP pipe bands.

Bag piping was where Judy and her husband Ches connected. They knew each other for nine years and were married for four-and-a-half.

The two were vendors at the CBCM for two years, bringing fresh produce and creativity to the market.

“Judy brought a talent and creativity to our market and community,” Pratt told West Carleton Online. “Judy was gifted at the art of turning Dunfiddich Farm’s great variety of produce in to kits for DIY salsa, salad and baking and for preserving their produce in to prize winning delicious jams, jellies and pickles. She had a knack. They were what I would call the ideal market vendor.”

Indeed, Judy’s preserves were known to win ribbons at the Carp Fair.

Judy also knit and crafted an assortment of accessories, blankets and items for the home. Judy and Ches even sold manure.

“We tossed around a number of ideas and settled on the idea of a bench because we thought it was the most purposeful and practical way to show our appreciation,” Pratt said. “Judy was practical that way.”

It was a challenge for Ches to be at the market for a memorial for his wife. It’s been a long process and healing is slow going with the constant stressful reminders of that horrible day.

Because of the nature of the death, Ches has had to deal with the police, the media, the city, lawyers and more, all wanting to discuss details of the incident.

“Every day is a different challenge,” Ches told West Carleton Online.

He says he’s still farming, “a little bit.”

But he is preoccupied with the outcome of the police investigation and is still waiting for a response from the City of Ottawa and OC Transpo.

“The investigation is complete,” Ches said. “The police have been stellar. I know it’s the spin. City of Ottawa spin. I shouldn’t talk anymore. I’ve got a bad taste in my mouth. It’s tough. I hope justice gets served and the proper people get charged.”

Ches isn’t too fond of the media either. Immediately following the collision, the calls and uninvited visits started and never stopped, despite help from the Ottawa Police Service.

“The media wouldn’t leave me alone,” he said. “Every day. I had to put a sign up. The police gave it to me. It said we already gave our public statement and please respect our privacy.”

While Ches has avoided the market since the accident, he wanted to be present for Judy.

“I think it’s very nice,” Ches said of the memorial. “I haven’t been here since last year. We had a real good customer following by the end. This is perfect.”

Kritsch, who built the memorial bench, is also a CBCM vendor and Chris’s Country Crafts was located right beside the Booth’s market stall. He said it took him about three weeks to build the bench. Although a handy, hobby woodworker, visiting his shop after putting his kids to bed in the evening, Kritsch had never built a bench before.

He was given some instructions and added a bit of his own knowledge as well.

“I made a lot of changes from the original plan,” he said. “I made it stronger. You could probably park a car on it. I’ve seen a lot of garden benches end up wobbly. We picked cedar, because it has to be light and fit in the market trailer.”

Kritsch’s wife Jennifer is a market vendor as well selling embroidery and jewelry. Kritsch said it was an honour to be asked to build the memorial.

“I loved talking with her,” Kritsch said of Judy. “She was always very friendly. My wife was very good friends with her.”