Jean Caya Music Award

caya music sheet

Jean Caya

Hellen Jean McKenzie was born in Warwick, Ontario on June 25, 1911, the only child of William D. McKenzie and Jean Laws who were farmers. Her mother died when she was nine years old and Jean and her father moved to Donna Texas where they farmed. Jean started playing the piano when she was quite young and became the church pianist in Donna.

In Texas, Jean met Archie Caya. They were married in St. Louis in 1932 and moved to Kitchener where they purchased a farm on Lexington Road that today is Pinehaven Nursing Home. Jean managed the farm and was known for her award winning purebred Holsteins. Archie established A.B. Caya Ltd. Jean had both a large piano and an electric organ in her home. On many occasions she lent the organ for music performances in the city. They travelled extensively and especially enjoyed dancing to the big bands at pavilions around the Great Lakes. Archie died in 1957.

Jean met Harvey MacPherson in 1939. Harvey purchased Caya Fabrics from Jean in 1958. After Harvey’s wife died in 1975, Jean and Harvey were companions until he died in 2003. Jean was cared for by the MacPherson family. Doug, Harvey’s son, managed her finances and is the executor of her estate.

Jean and Doug spent considerable time ensuring that her estate would be distributed among small organizations that made major differences to people’s lives. This music award will assist young people that share Jean’s love for music.

Jean died on April 12, 2005. Her ashes were interred with her parents in the Watford cemetery.

About the Award

This award supports and promotes musical gifts among students studying at Conrad Grebel University College and pursuing Music studies at the University of Waterloo.

The award is given to:

  • Students pursuing a Music Major or Joint Honours
  • Demonstrate musical and academic ability (instrumental, vocal, research)
  • Contribute to the music program of the College
  • Students enrolled in a music course at Conrad Grebel University College

Amount: Two awards of approx. $1,200 over two years.