Stan Cassidy (1912-1993)
Stanley Bernard Cassidy was born and raised on the homestead at Cassidy Lake and settled in Fredericton, N.B. Besides being a successful businessman in the electrical contracting field, he made a significant contribution to the New Brunswick community.
Stan was a community minded individual always looking for ways to improve life for the people of the province. On a trip to Mexico in the early 1950s, he got the idea to establish a rehabilitation facility for the physically handicapped. His goal was to help people with disabilities improve their quality of life and enable them to be contributing members of society. This was no small undertaking. In addition to the cost, his background was in engineering not medicine. Never one to be deterred from a challenge, through dedication, perseverance, and the help of similar minded people in the community, his dream was realized. In 1957 the Forest Hill Rehabilitation Centre was opened in Fredericton.
Ensuring the ongoing success of the “Rehab”, as it is locally called, was a passion for Stan. For 36 years he stayed closely involved in every aspect, from hiring new medical staff and procuring major medical equipment, to guiding advanced research programs in cooperation with the biomedical engineering department at the University of New Brunswick. That effort paid off. The “Rehab” flourished and gained a reputation for innovation and quality care.
He also established a number of gas stations, called Rehab Showcases, that were operated by handicapped persons recovering from disabilities. In 1984, in recognition of his work, he was awarded the Therese Casgrain Award by the Government of Canada. In 1987 he was appointed to the Order of Canada, the country’s highest distinction for its citizens. In 1994 the center was renamed the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation in his memory.
When he died in 1993, the Rehab was seriously overcrowded and he was preparing to launch a major building campaign. With his passing, there was concern whether the centre would survive without the guiding hand of its founder. In 2006 that question was answered with the opening of a new $28 million, 59,400 sq ft, state-of-the-art facility, twice the size of the original facility. His legacy continues.
Stan was a very active member of the Masonic Orders including the Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, York Rite, and DeMolay. You can get a sense of Stan’s involvement from the following testimony. “I was delighted to read Stan’s bio, as he had a great impact on my life when I was a teenager in DeMolay (a youth fraternal organization sponsored by the Masonic order) and “Dad Cassidy” was a tremendous leader. I remember him flying me to Montreal for a national convention and I appreciated the time he always took to listen to young people’s ideas. While I was a student at UNB, he made time to ask me about my studies and future, and I will always remember him for his life lessons in kindness, patience and integrity. We once gave him a “hat’s off” appreciation award, but little did I know how much his influence would be appreciated down the road.”