The Creative Spirit of Northeast Wisdom

BridgeIn the beautiful expression of our creatively looking forward into our future, my dear friend Mary Ellen Jernigan has eloquently expressed that the present trajectory of Northeast Wisdom was originally set by the heart-vision of Helen Daly. (See her December post: “What’s Next for Northeast Wisdom? A Short History to an Emerging Vision.”) On the occasion of the conclusion of Patricia Speak’s term of Board President and her departure from the Board of Directors, I would like to share a few appreciative reflections of her contribution to our organization. In the process, I would also like to express additional gratitude for the work of some of our other early leaders and contributors.

Founding BoardAs Mary Ellen acknowledged, it was the dogged persistence of John Daly, Helen’s husband, who gave Northeast Wisdom the form of an incorporated legal entity. Knowing Helen’s desires, John acted as our founding father. He invited a small band to serve as Board members, and together we slowly tread our way through the legal and organizational challenges before us. John also served as a dedicated Board member for those first couple or three years.

John and Helen Daly at Inglewood Farm in Louisiana, photo courtesy of Caroline Marvin


The early work was at times daunting, and it required a keen eye to detail. As our duly elected Board President, Patricia Speak was the perfect person to diligently keep us on track. Her meticulousness was truly amazing. I do not know how we would have gotten through all of the hoops without her leadership. We all owe her a huge debt of gratitude.

Alec Wiggin

But she was not alone. Besides Patricia and John, that first Board was also guided by two other creative and capable servants. Alec Wiggin served as our first Treasurer, and he was responsible for constructing from the ground up a practical fiscal and budgetary foundation that has served the organization well. Alec had a knack of taking complex financial realities and translating them into comprehensible packages that even I could understand. Also, Alec’s wonderful sense of humor carried us over some tight spots along the way.

Jean Smith

Jean Smith was another indispensable member of that first Board. Acting as the liaison with the Narthex Foundation and the trust agent, Jean always seemed to have the innate capacity to say just the right thing at the right time. She was our bridge builder, and she used her organizational knowledge and experience to lift us over some turbulent waters.

Both Jean and Alec will be missed as much as Patricia and John. These four original Board members were instrumental in putting Northeast Wisdom on the solid footing it enjoys today.

Matthew Wright

But there are some other people that warrant commendation as well. Although (very fortunately) he has not yet retired from the Board, Matthew Wright continues to serve as Board Secretary. Matthew has the fastest typing fingers I have ever seen! His diligence has kept the history of our deliberations orderly and coherent—not an easy task.

And finally, I would like to personally thank Roger and Sandy Daly, John’s brother and sister-in-law for their generous hospitality at Hallelujah Farm, the site of many of our Wisdom events. Their work is the embodiment of much of what Northeast Wisdom calls forth.

Roger Daly
Sandy Daly

We are the product of the dedicated work of all of these fine people. Thank you, Patricia, for your inspired leadership. Thank you, John, Alec, Jean, and Matthew for your steadfast work on the Northeast Wisdom Board of Directors. And thank you Roger and Sandy for your faithful hospitality. I express the gratitude of us all.

Bill Redfield

President, Northeast Wisdom Board of Directors

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