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STIRLING: Margaret McKenzie Stirling passed away peacefully at the age of 77 years with her husband James at her side on September 16, 2020 due to kidney failure. Margaret McKenzie Leitch was born on January 6, 1943 in Renfrew, Scotland. She was born with a natural resilience and a fierce determination into a family where treasured relationships would be forged and cherished for the rest of her life despite her emigrating a world away to Canada as a young adult. Marg was the middle child of three, having an older brother, George, and a younger sister, May, both of whom have predeceased her. She remained close to both of those siblings throughout her life and in addition to her frequent trips back home to visit family she and Jim often enjoyed hosting family and friends here in Canada as well. So many good times ensued on those get togethers. In her late teens, Margaret happened to catch the eye of a strapping young paratrooper a few years her senior. She could not have imagined then the wonderful life that awaited her and the beautiful family they would create together. They dated for a while and, succumbing to the inevitable, were happily married in the spring of 1962. They had their first of five sons in early 1964. In 1965, they followed Jim's older sister, who was a war bride, to Canada in search of a better life. With tears of sadness in her eyes, but excitement in her heart, she left the only family and friends she had ever known in metropolitan Glasgow to settle in the quiet, small prairie town of Elkhorn, Manitoba with its wooden plank sidewalks and tumbleweeds rolling down the main street. The decision to emigrate was one that Marg never regretted although there must have been times during that first brutally cold winter in a rural community that she doubted the wisdom of the venture. But much like back home, family here were amazingly supportive and warm-hearted friends came easy to her. Two more boys were born in those early Canadian years before Jim found a job at Simplot and the family moved to Brandon in 1969. Soon after moving to Brandon, and with three small boys at her feet, they made the fateful decision to try for a girl. Surprisingly, instead of one girl they received two more boys, twins in 1972! Interestingly though, despite having only boys herself, all but one of her grandchildren have been girls suggesting that she only had to wait a little longer for an even greater reward! Marg worked at a variety of jobs before settling into the admissions department at Brandon University. She really enjoyed this job along with the people she met there and the friends she made. It seemed to mark the change in her life where she went from having jobs to building a career, for it was soon after that that she started in the personnel department with the City of Brandon, eventually earning the position of Personnel Officer for the City and even more valued lifelong friendships. She was always trying to better herself and it was during this employment period that she earned a Human Resources diploma at the University of Manitoba while raising a family and working a full-time job. This would not have been an easy balancing act, but success was yet another foregone conclusion for someone with her aptitudes and capabilities. Marg had always enjoyed sports even as a young girl. She was tall and slender and excelled at sports like track and field and basketball. In Canada she especially enjoyed racquetball and golf, again making many good friends in the process. At racquetball she became part of a particularly close group of friends which dubbed themselves "The Haggles" and found a similar kinship amongst the breast cancer group, Waves of Hope. Some of the relationships in these groups have been impervious to the passage of time and these friends have always held a very special place in her heart. Marg was not shy to travel and, in fact, it was one of her joys. Perhaps her most exciting travel adventure was their around-the-world trip to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and the UK when Jim retired in 1999. What an adventure they shared together, just the two of them together again and seeing so many places they had previously only read about! Unfortunately, Marg seemed to suffer more than her fair share of ailments though many would never know since she rarely, if ever, complained about them. Chief among those ailments were her repeated battles with cancer, which she won every time, and the kidney failure which ultimately is responsible for her early passing. Regardless, Margaret was thankful for her family and friends and the amazing life she enjoyed. She is survived, and will be greatly missed by her husband Jim, sons Brian (Paula), Ron, Steve, Andy (Trista) and Ian, as well as grandchildren Logan, Holly, Leah, Keirra, McKenzie and Abigail. Due to COVID restrictions, the family will have a private service at this time with plans to hold a public service in March, on what would have been their 59th wedding anniversary. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kidney Foundation of Canada, PO Box 20077, Bdn South PO, Brandon, MB, R7A 6Y8 or the Brandon Regional Health Centre Foundation, 150 McTavish Avenue East, Brandon, MB R7A 2B3. The family would also like to recognize the amazing people we have working in our local health care facilities who did such an amazing job of caring for Margaret.

"Death must be so beautiful.
To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving
above one's head,
and listen to silence.
To have no yesterday,
and no tomorrow.
To forget time, to forget life,
to be at peace."
- Oscar Wilde
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As published in Brandon Sun on Sep 19, 2020

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