Richard “Red” and Lynda Jeansonne
Remembering their Days at Camp Abbey
Richard “Red” and his wife Lynda Jeansonne are very proud to be inaugural members of the Saint Benedict Society. Lynda notes that “The Induction Ceremony Mass was very special, and we wear our Saint Benedict Society pins wherever we go.”
Red and Lynda have been involved with the Abbey for many years. Lynda was a nurse, so years ago Fr. Thomas asked her to help as a camp nurse with the Camp Abbey. Lynda told him she would have to bring her five young boys along. Fr. Thomas surprised Lynda by agreeing—and saying the boys could even stay in the infirmary.
Although the five Jeansonne boys chose not to stay in the infirmary because they did not like being away from home, they enjoyed many activities at Camp during the day and came home at night. Red would also come out after work and join them for dinner. Helping with Camp Abbey became a family effort as Red would watch the boys at night while Lynda continued her work as a camp nurse.
One of the boys’ favorite activities at Camp was mowing the lawn with a young monk named Justin. Abbot Justin, then Brother Justin, would often bring along the two youngest Jeansonne boys to mow.
Brother Justin was such a fun guy that soon the boys wanted to mow the lawn every day.
Later as the camp grew, Fr. Thomas told Lynda that he could start paying her as a camp nurse. Lynda asked him why she should be paid, since “they fed my husband and my boys, and we got to enjoy camp for a week!” In all, Lynda and her boys helped at Camp Abbey for a week or two each summer for more than ten years.
Red and Lynda recalled, “We always knew we were going to leave something to the monks.” Along with their consistent financial support over the years, they see a charitable gift annuity as a one way to do that. Through a charitable gift annuity, they will enter into an agreement to make a significant gift now and then receive fixed payments for life. When Red and Lynda have passed on, the remaining funds in the account will be transferred to the monks.
Red has a couple aunts buried at the Abbey. Red and Lynda always wanted to be buried at the Abbey too, but for many years no new plots were available. Lynda kept asking to buy plots for them, and told the monks she might “die at the Abbey so they would have to bury me there.”
Eventually, the Jeansonnes learned that cemetery plots would be made available again to friends of the Abbey, so Red and Lynda “bought four just in case.” They picked out their coffins from the Abbey too. Lynda says she chose “the same kind as the monks so maybe when I die I’ll be confused with the monks and get to heaven faster!