Community Spotlight_Beatrice Meister

New Ross has been blessed over the years with many exceptional teachers who have made great contributions to our small community.   One of these teachers that still has a place in the heart of many is Mrs. Beatrice Meister, well known as Mrs. Rex.  She was a shining example of community pride; she taught and tutored, she supported all the extracurricular activities at the school, participated in community events, was very involved with her Church and community groups and was also a wife and mother of two boys, Karl and Robert.

Beatrice was not originally from New Ross, her and her twin sister Beulah (Freeman) were born on July 21, 1916 in Pleasant River.  Beatrice was not alone in wanting to become a teacher as all her sisters became teachers as well.  Her early days of teaching found her in a position in Martin’s River and eventually she moved to New Ross to live with her sister who was also teaching here and she started teaching in the Lake Ramsay school house.  Her first class here was in 1947, also the year she met Rex Meister to whom she married and spent 56 years with.


Teaching became a family practice with at one point 3 Meisters all teaching in the same school so Beatrice became Mrs. Rex and thereon out people would refer to her by that name.  I know growing up I often heard my mother speak of Mrs. Rex and I never did know her first name until just recently.  Mrs. Rex was a well respected teacher and friend.


Those who remember her fondly can still remember some of her sayings she had such as when the boys in her class were disruptive, she’d say “Don’t be fresh or I’ll salt you down” or “Empty vessels make the most noise”.  Yet another: “Knowledge runs off you like water running off a duck’s back.”  All in all Mrs. Rex loved her students and had a good sense of humor with them.  She loved seeing a child’s face light up when they finally understood something, and math was Mrs. Rex’s passion to teach.  She believed “if you can inspire a child to learn, you can teach them.” She did not believe in labeling children. She believed all children could learn and she spent many hours outside of her school day tutoring students, even continuing to do so long after she retired. Students would often start showing up around suppertime and she once said, “I’d rather teach math than eat.”


Mrs. Rex taught most of her 32 years as a teacher at New Ross Consolidated school and served as a long time member of over 35 years for the Home & School Association.  She also volunteered as a school librarian.  From what I’ve been told there was no one more supportive of the school events or a bigger advocate for our school.  She attended and cheered at all the sporting events, supervised all the dances and helped with fundraisers.  She was even known to host members of the opposing sports teams at her house on weekends during tournaments.  Mrs. Rex was not a principal or vice principal, but she was the school matriarch.  To some Mrs. Rex was an icon. Her clothes were often covered in chalk and her hands stained with ink from the gestetner (the duplicating machine).


After a day spent teaching she would return home to cook supper for her family and the men working on the farm, clean, tutor students, and make meals for the next day.  She also helped care for her neighbor for more than 20 years by cleaning and cooking for him.  Mrs. Rex never sat still!  Weekends were for Church, her other passion in life.  During her long years of membership in the New Ross Baptist Church, she served on nearly every committee, was a faithful Sunday school teacher and superintendent for over 30 years, as well as youth group leader, choir member, ladies’ auxiliary member, and a church clerk.  She also served on the Women’s Missionary Society, the Christian Women’s Club and the church council for Lunenburg-Queens.

Mrs. Rex always said she would know when it was time to retire from full time teaching and she did just that shortly before her 65th birthday.  But that certainly didn’t slow her down!  She was committed to her passions, the most enthusiastic cheerleader for school events, she believed in all students and wanted them to be their best whatever that was. She was loyal, kind, comical, dedicated, had energy beyond belief and was a force to be reckoned with! These are just some of the ways past students remember her still to this day!  Even after “retirement” she still continued to tutor students well into her later years.

One would wonder where Mrs. Rex found the time to volunteer as much as she did with the school and the Church but she also found enjoyment in her flower gardens and was a member of the local garden club.  She began a defensive driving course and would register people for that.  She was a cashier at the cafeteria during the annual craft fair held at the school, was an ambassador for the Order of the Eastern Star and worked on the executive of the retired teacher’s association.  It was common for her to provide transportation for others to meetings and community events.  And many will remember Mrs. Rex “stopping by” while canvassing the community for several worthy causes.  Everyone knew Mrs. Rex.



During her ninety years, she filled many roles and was the recipient of several awards and commendations in recognition of her service.  Volunteering just came natural to her and she always wanted best for the community she called home.  Mrs. Rex passed away peacefully on February 19, 2007 at the age of 90.  A pillar of this community and a treasured piece of our history.


~ I would like to thank those that recommended Mrs. Rex for the Community Spotlight and for all the input I received to put this piece together.  I want to especially thank Alice Meister for the wonderful visit and time spent going through memories and photos with me.  I look forward to our next visit!                                     ~Laura