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Born: Jul 29, 1938

Date of Passing: Dec 18, 2021

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July 29, 1938 - December 18, 2021

With profound sadness and heavy hearts, we, Clan Ratcliffe, announce the passing of our mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, and friend, Mary Ratcliffe.

Predeceased by her husband, Malcolm; son, baby James; father, John; mother, Mary; sisters, Kathleen, Josephine, and Ann; brothers, John, James, Patrick, and Joseph.

 Ma was the second oldest in a large Irish Catholic family. When WW2 started, her dad enlisted and went to Europe, leaving her mum to raise the children alone. Ma always looked up to her older brother, John. As such, and during the war, they spent many hours together collecting sticks. The bundled “fire starter” sticks were then sold door-to-door, earning a few extra pennies to buy food for their family. Apparently, war coupons only went so far.

 After the Second World War, her dad was hospitalized for a few years. The stress took a toll on her mother, as she too became ill. Maureen became the primary caregiver to her younger siblings. When she turned 14, mum got her first paying job at the Flax St. Mill. Not much had changed, with almost every penny still going to support her family.

 In her late teens, mum met and married our dad. Together, they worked hard, saved some money, and bought their first home together which was one of many over the years.

 In 1968, war broke out in our country – “The Troubles” – which was just a repeat of hundreds of years of colonial oppression. As the war got worse, Ma and Da decided it would be safer to move the family far, far away.

 After immigrating to the relative safety of Nova Scotia, Canada, they started a new life. A new home was built, many new friends were made, along with some re-acquaintances with other ex-pats. Alas, while you can take the girl out of Belfast, you’ll never take Belfast out of the girl.

Homesick, and in 1980, they moved back to Belfast. This was a short-lived move however, as Belfast was still a war zone.

 Before returning to Canada, Ma stipulated she wanted to move to Winnipeg to be closer to her brother, John, and his family. Reunited with her big brother, she worked with him at his business, J.D. Oils.

 In 1985, the highlight for Ma was helping her sister, Kathleen, and her family, immigrate to Winnipeg. Born two years apart, the twins were reunited on July 19.

 In 1988, and after John passed away, Ma went to work at the Winnipeg Municipal Hospitals, finishing her career with Handi-Transit. Ma spoke highly of all those she worked with over the years, making many lifelong friends.

 Maureen took great pride in her grandchildren, with many fond memories of sleepovers, movies, and teaching them to cook real food.

 In retirement, she spent most of her time in the garden and kitchen. Retirement also allowed Ma and Da to travel more, with trips to B.C., Nova Scotia, and Ireland . . . post Peace Accords.

 In 2011, and after Da passed, Ma began suffering various health issues, especially over the past two years. Confined, like so many others, it took a toll on her physical and mental health.

 Maureen is survived by her son, Malcolm (Bonnie); daughter, Treasaigh (Ken); Grandchildren, Róisín, Conor, Eámon; sister, Colette (Thomas); sister in law, Cathy (Jimmy (d.)); and brother in law, Charlie (Kathleen (d.)); along with many nieces and nephews the world over. We would also like to acknowledge her good friends, Aunt Marie; Ma’s buddy, Tanis, and Murial Grey.

 The family would like to thank Dr. Arie Lazarus, Winnipeg Fire Paramedics, and the doctors, nurses, and staff at the Grace Hospital for their compassion and care.

 A traditional Irish wake has been held. Interment will be at Glen Lawn Memorial Gardens beside her sister, Kathleen. A small private family service will be held to send her on her way home. 

Family and friends wishing to attend the service may do so virtually at 10:00 am (4:00 pm in the UK) on Friday, December 24, 2021 at:


Family and friends may sign a book of condolence at

Glen Lawn Funeral Home

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Dec 23, 2021

Condolences & Memories (3 entries)

  • She was a person that was full of life, and was a fun person to speak with. I admired Mary, her kind words and good advice and “home truths” rung true many times in my life. Her strength in life, made her into the sagely Matriarch that was Mary. She has started her travels beyond the stars, and returns to the sacred. I give my thanks to Manito for having known her, if only for a short while. I give my condolences to the family, your loss must be staggering. J - Posted by: Joseph Ouellette (Acquaintance) on: Dec 29, 2021

  • Our paths crossed just short of 30 years ago. We met in the workplace and shortly thereafter, a great friendship had begun. We enjoyed working together from day one and enjoyed many laughs as well. We shared many similar thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Our friendship meant the world to me. As a friend you were always there to lend your time, an ear and the best advice filled with wisdom and knowledge. I truly appreciate all you did and were to me throughout our years as friends on earth. These last couple years has kept us from getting out for our mall walks, long talks and coffee outings. I will miss you so very very much my dear friend. Your friendship and guidance, along with your words of wisdom will remain with me forever. You will always be in my thoughts and prayers until we meet up again. We shall have that missed coffee or glass of Holy Water at the Pearly Gates. Your choice. Love you and miss you. Your friend always, T. - Posted by: Tanice Goodchild (Good Friends) on: Dec 27, 2021

  • My husband and I met Maureen and Malcolm when we moved into the neighborhood and discovered we all shared the love of gardening. Maureen was always fun to talk with and if I did not see her for awhile we would have long lively phone conversations and reminisce about the past. We will miss Maureen but know her beloved Malcolm will be overjoyed to see her again. Our sympathy is extended to all of her family at this time. I - Posted by: Linda and Larry Koley (Neighbor) on: Dec 23, 2021

Glen Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery

Glen Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery

455 Lagimodiere Blvd. (Map)
Ph: 2049827550 | Visit Website

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