Written in stone


On a cool, crisp, sunny day in River John, on the bank of the community river, an excavator dug up a heartfelt ‘sign’ if ever there was one.

Unbelievably, it was an answer to a young woman’s prayer, a plea to her father to ‘give her a sign’ just a few days before.

Jayme MacLellan was standing on the wharf in River John one evening asking for nothing but a sign from her dad. It had been a few months since her father had passed and she was still heavy with sorrow and deep in thought and, like most, she asked for one simple sign from her dad to let her and their family know he was with them.

You see, a project was in the works — a park, a place where folks could enjoy a little recreational fun swimming, boating or just a bit of quiet time near the river.

Good buddies Bruce and Cheryl Frizzell, Roger MacLellan and David Cochrane started to put their dreams together, and their dream was to create a park along the river. It soon emerged after three years and after plenty of fund raising in the community, like raffles, a Chase the Ace and more.

Roger loved to play harmless pranks on his friends and family, just to get a laugh out of them. He always had a joke to perk someone’s spirits up. He is described by his friends as kind-hearted and generous with his time, and never gave it one thought to go out of his way for anyone. His community was well taken care of during the snowy days and nights, as Roger was out making sure everything and everyone was plowed and cleared for safe travels on the roads the next day. He loved his family and considered his friends family, too. He was a true ‘people person’.

During his lifetime, Roger mastered the art of excavation and started his own business, MacLellan Excavation. Later in life he became a snow plow driver for Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal in 2002.

Sadly, Roger lost his fight with cancer in August.

His family and friends agreed the dream for the waterfront restoration must live on. The park was to go forward and Roger’s dream had to be completed.

On Sept. 26, excavation was to start. Bob Scotland of Stewart’s Excavation began digging, removing soil when, to his surprise and disbelief, he saw a large stone with something written on it. When he checked, he was filled with so much joy, he called the Frizzells, MacLellans, and Cochranes and told them of his find.

Written in stone was Roger’s name, as plain as day. So was this the sign to let everyone know he was right there with them, every step of the way?

Although they are not sure if it was actually Roger who wrote his name on that particular stone, everyone knew he used to swim in the river as a teenager, in the very spot where the stone was unearthed, the very spot where the park was to be built, and the very spot where his daughter Jayme asked for a sign. The family was in shock; telephones rang as the news spread in disbelief with goose bumps and tears mixed with happiness and joy. Roger’s family and friends feel it’s a true sign, a blessing, and a prayer, unexpectedly answered.

The large stone will be encased and laid in the park at a later date. The park hasn’t been named, but one sure thing is, it will be named in memory of Roger MacLellan.