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Date of Passing: Sep 02, 2020

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1921 - 2020

With great sadness, the family of Margaret Downie announces her passing on September 2, 2020, at the age of 99.
Margaret was born Margaret Melina Kyle in Winnipeg, and lived most of her life in the Fort Rouge area, attending Riverview Church, marrying her husband, J.R. "Ron" Downie, and raising four sons.
As her mother, Hilda, had done, she taught elocution for several years, passing on a lifelong love of words and poetry to many of her students. In her later years, community theatre would also be a deep source of pleasure for her. But many of her activities revolved around her church. For years, she participated in the social network of the Couples Club there, later worked in the provincial United Church office, and eventually served as secretary to her own congregation at Riverview Church, where her close friendships in the community proved an invaluable asset to the successive ministers she worked with: Rev. Bill Hickerson, Rev. Dave Pritchard, and Rev. Linda Murray. She sang in the choir, often with one or more of her sons, and, with Ron and his harmonica and clarinet, instilled in her boys a love of singing and making music, which has deeply enriched their lives. She enjoyed dancing, and in particular, square dancing with Ron was the source of many lasting friendships.
In their retirement, Marg and Ron made a trip to Britain to connect with distant family and explore their roots. Marg's interest in her Scots-English heritage led her to participate in a Gaelic choir, and to create a "Heritage room" full of artifacts, which her children and grandchildren will remember, in the attic of their house. Ron died in 2001, after 58 years of marriage, and she eventually found the house too big to manage, and moved out of her Fort Rouge neighbourhood for the first time, to live at Lions Place, not far from where she had worked at United Church House. Eventually, she moved to Fred Douglas Heritage House, and from there to Misericordia Place, where she died within weeks of celebrating her 99th birthday with chocolate cupcakes, visits and phone calls.
The family would like to thank all the staff at Misericordia Place who provided Margaret with such good care before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. The brothers living in Halifax (John), Whitehorse (Bruce), and Toronto (Glen), whose in-person visits were necessarily less frequent, give special thanks to their Winnipeg brother, Paul, and his partner, Andrea, whose attentive care and personal contact meant so much, and filled Mom's last years with the comfort of familiar faces.
Margaret was predeceased by her younger brother, Bill, in 2019. She is survived by her four sons: John (Sandy Dibb), Bruce, Glen (Dale Hall) and Paul (Andrea Philp); five grandchildren, (John's children, Caitlin and Ian; Bruce's daughters, Janet and Jennine; and Glen's daughter, Emma); and two great-grandchildren, (Jennine's children, Stella and Sacha). In each of them, she leaves behind a heightened awareness of the value of family and community, and an enduring example of a life well lived.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to remember Margaret are invited to make a donation in her name to Misericordia Place, or a charity of their choice.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Condolences may be sent to

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Sep 05, 2020

Condolences & Memories (6 entries)

  • I love family stories: Margaret, my mother’s cousin, was born Margaret Melina Kyle in Winnipeg to Hilda and William Kyle. My mother, Melina Florence Morley, was also born in Winnipeg, a few years earlier, to Florence and Winham Morley. Hilda and Florence were two of five sisters, all born in London, England to Melina and Arthur Humphryes. Four of the five sisters emigrated to Canada with their widowed mother around 1912, landing in Winnipeg. While the Kyles remained in the Winnipeg area, the Morleys made their way, first, to Kelowna, British Columbia, and then via steamship to southern California in the early 1920s. Margaret and her husband Ron Downie raised their four boys in the Fort Rouge area, while Melina and her husband Herb raised their children in Arcadia, California. My mother and Margaret kept in touch over the years, mainly through correspondence. I do recall a visit to my family in Arcadia by the Downies and Margaret’s parents back in the 1950s. In the late 1960s (1969?) I traveled from California to Winnipeg via Greyhound with my grandmother Florence on the occasion of her sister Hilda’s 50th wedding anniversary, a wonderful family celebration! Several decades later, I hosted a reunion of Margaret and her cousins Melina and Phyllis (Melina’s sister) in Seattle, where I live. It’s hard to believe, but the last time I saw Margaret was in Vancouver on the occasion of her son Glen’s wedding to Dale in 1993. I loved Margaret! She was a kind and loving person, direct, funny, adventurous, and she had survived raising four boys! For many years after our last meeting, she and I had an ongoing correspondence through which she kept me informed about her family and her many activities. Despite distance and limited contact over the years, Margaret was important to me, and her passing fills me with much sadness. Laurel Sercombe, Seattle, Washington - Posted by: Laurel Sercombe (I'm the daughter of her cousin (not sure what that makes us)) on: Sep 15, 2020

  • I met Margaret when I was about 8. Her parents stopped at our farm on their way back to Winnipeg. Uncle Bill told my dad that he could make the trip to Winnipeg in a days drive. So the following summer, Dad loaded the family up in the car and we were off to Canada. We were welcomed with open arms by Margaret and Ron and the boys. We made several trips to Winnipeg over the years. and Margaret made each trip special. Earl and I took the girls up one year and our trip coincided with our oldest daughter's birthday. Margaret had a birthday cake for Sandi and she has never forgotten that. The last time I was able to see Margaret was when I made the trip up for her 90th birthday Party. My condolences go out to her family and friends. - Posted by: Judy SHUNKWILER (cousin) on: Sep 14, 2020

  • I came to know Margaret in her continuing association with Shoestring Players a few years after her active participation, but I became aware of her long history with the group when working on their 50 year archive book. She performed in many plays: Tail of Fire (Morris), In Her Tongue (Rice-Leach), Murder in the Cathedral (Eliot), Separate Tables (Rattigan), The Drunkard - Smith), The Yorkshire Mystery Plays, A Ghost of a Chance (Burton), Cinderella- a pantomime, The Boy with a Cart (Fry), The Red Velvet Goat (Niggli), Women of Wonder (Swortzell), Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations (Ayckbourn), and lastly The Family Reunion (Eliot) in 2004. Margaret was one of the founding members of Shoestring in the late sixties. She was a main player in the success of this community theatre group. I have great admiration for her. - Posted by: Katherine McLennan (Friend) on: Sep 07, 2020

  • I remember Marg Downie and am posting this on behalf of my mother Betty Newman and her husband Stan as well as me. They were close friends who lived in the same area...attended Riverview church...had fun at couples club together...and square danced to my dad's calling the moves. She was a lovely lady, always with a ready smile when we met. She also attended my wedding shower over 50 years ago. I attended Churchill High school with John and the rest of them many years ago. My sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family for their loss! Reunited with my mom and dad in heaven will make my mom smile. - Posted by: Margaret Glew (nee Newman) (Acquaitance) on: Sep 07, 2020

  • My goodness Marg led a full and long life. I knew Marg when she worked at Riverview United Church. I was the Director of the day care located in the basement of the church. I always enjoyed my chats with her on a daily basis and enjoying lunch with her at her lovely home. Over the years I have often thought of her and wondered how she was doing. I am sad to hear of her passing, but happy that she led a wonderful and full life. God's Speed Marg. Rest in Peace. - Posted by: Dianne Kennedy (friend) on: Sep 05, 2020

  • She was a very nice lady. I'm sure she enjoyed a great life with family and friends. Our condolences. Bob and Linda Swain. - Posted by: Bob Swain (Marg was my aunt) on: Sep 05, 2020

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