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Date of Passing: Oct 08, 2005

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MARGARET JOAN SAWATSKY Margaret Sawatsky died peacefully at Golden West Centennial Lodge on Saturday, October 8, 2005, at the age of 82. She was an exceptional lady who will be very much missed by her two families, including her daughters, Briony, Dilys and Janet Bowman; Bill and Marie, Ken, Dave and Dawn Sawatsky and Shirley and Dennis Hildebrandt; grandchildren Mairi, Tamzin, Luc, Dustin, Chris, Lindsay, Stephanie and Riley; and her in-laws Ishbel Graham, George and Helene Wiebe, Pete and Friedy Sawatsky, John and Hilda Isaac, Ernie and Rita Sawatsky and Ray Landin as well as by many friends. Margaret was born in Reading, England, and attended eight schools before she was 16. She joined the ATS at 19 and was drafted to Norway in the dying days of the Second World War. After the war Margaret moved to Edinburgh to work at the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board, where she met a young engineer, George Bowman. They married in 1950 and raised Briony and twins Dilys and Janet. Then, in 1966 George was offered a job in Canada. They sold their house within six weeks and arrived in Winnipeg on a frigid -30 degrees Celsius night in early December 1966. Margaret set to with a will in this friendly but alien (and freezing) environment to create a new life for her family in Canada. For three months the family camped in a rented house with little furniture and she occasionally fled to the basement for a quiet sob. But then they bought a house on Campbell Street, the furniture arrived and Margaret began to meet the many new friends who remain to this day. Early on Margaret joined the Misericordia Hospital as a volunteer in Admissions; she worked there for over 1000 hours. Her talent for the written word also catapulted her into the post of editor of the Winnipeg Rock and Mineral Club's newsletter, the Rock Vein, which she published on an old Gestetner in the basement for almost 17 years. She enforced a stern editorial policy, once memorably refusing to publish, on the grounds of good taste, an article penned by George about petrified dinosaur dung. In 1987 George, her cherished husband of 36 years, died at 63. Margaret stuck it out alone for two years, but eventually confided to her daughters, This world is not made for single people . With typical good sense and resolve, she joined a dating agency. She soon met John Sawatsky; they were engaged within three days and married, to much rejoicing, that summer. Although their marriage was brief, it was another very happy one. Through John, Margaret also acquired a wonderful, extended second family who welcomed her into their midst - a serendipitous bonus, since her daughters were now scattered round the world in Australia, the US and Britain. It was also, as she said, a very big silver lining to the cloud that was John's death in 1992. Margaret managed to travel with daughters and friends for several more years, despite battling Parkinson's disease. Her home for the last two years was Golden West Centennial Lodge, where, despite increasing ill health, she never lost her wit, nor her love of shopping: she refined window shopping in a wheelchair to an art. As a result of a traumatic childhood bicycling holiday in Wales, Margaret maintained a lifelong aversion to camping, insect life or roughing it of any kind. Nonetheless, she gamely accompanied George on countless trips to the lake and survived in a primitive trailer without plumbing (though with mice), with characteristic stoicism and good humour, while George messed about with his boat. Shy but very hospitable, Margaret was a constant inventor of nicknames which stuck, from the old friend she called Whisky - because of her resemblance to a cat lashing its tail - to her elegant disabled walker, used reluctantly, but boldly christened Flash Harry. She read voraciously and her humane aphorisms, from That's a waste of good guilt, dear to If you can't say anything pleasant, say nothing at all are often quoted by her family and friends. Margaret was a prolific and entertaining letter writer who carried on a regular correspondence with friends worldwide for decades. She never hesitated to take up her pen when business or bureaucracy failed to come up to the mark, and would also be first to thank someone for doing a good deed. Late in her life the Winnipeg Free Press published her letter commending Safeway on its customer service after a young employee had obligingly retied her shoelace when she couldn't manage it. The family wishes to thank all the wonderful staff at Golden West Centennial Lodge for their kindness to Margaret over the last two years. In accordance with Margaret's wishes no service will be held. A rowan tree (Sorbus americana) has been planted in her memory near the Wellington Crescent entrance in Assiniboine Park. If so desired, donations in her memory may be made to the Salvation Army, 500-55 Donald St, Winnipeg MB, R3C 1L8. WOJCIK'S ALL BELIEFS FAITHS FUNERAL CHAPEL CREMATORIUM 897 - 4665

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Oct 15, 2005

Condolences & Memories (2 entries)

  • Margaret, you were a lifetime friend to me. I will forever cherish the memories of the wonderful times we had over the years. May you rest in peace. "His Master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your Master.'" Please accept my condolences to the family. Veronica - Posted by: Veronica Glowicki (Friend) on: Oct 11, 2005

  • Loving and kind in all her ways, Upright and just to the end of her days; Sincere and true, in her heart and mind. Beautiful memories she left behind. - Posted by: Virginia Fewchuk (Friend) on: Oct 10, 2005

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