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Born: Mar 11, 1927

Date of Passing: Mar 19, 2023

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(nee RAVEN)

March 11, 1927 - March 19, 2023

Margaret McPherson (nee Raven) died peacefully on March 19, having lived a long, rich, and rewarding life.
Margaret was predeceased by her husband Murray McPherson; her parents, Martha "Aunt May" Raven (nee Hamilton) and Bill Raven; her younger sister Marian Mathieson (nee Raven) and husband Gord Mathieson; and Murray's brothers and their spouses, Howard and Jessie McPherson and Ken and Mary McPherson.
Margaret is lovingly remembered by her children, Kathy/Kate McPherson (Ed Ratz) and Jack McPherson (Christie McPherson); grandchildren, Dominik Ratz, Ella Ratz, Meghan McPherson (Oliver Leslie), Andrew McPherson, Daniel McPherson, James McPherson (Meghan Dobie), William McPherson and Emily McPherson; great-granddaughter Rose Leslie; and many caring nieces and nephews.
Born in 1927 in Winnipeg's working-class community of Elmwood, Margaret grew up during the global economic depression of the 1930s. Her family was part of a close-knit cluster of friends and family, especially the "Hamilton" aunts and cousins, who supported each other through those lean years. The Second World War brought great loss with the death of her cousin George, but also opportunity; the buoyant wartime economy meant Margaret could afford to stay in school, finish grade 12 and enroll at the University of Manitoba, completing degrees in Science and Education before embarking on a teaching career first in Dauphin and then Winnipeg. While in the Education faculty, Margaret met another aspiring teacher, a young man from Brandon Hills named Murray McPherson, whom she married in 1951 and loved all her life.
The arrival of their two children prompted the young couple to buy a house in a new suburban subdivision of River Heights. From their house on Lanark Street Margaret chauffeured kids to track meets and basketball games, made delicious chocolate chip cookies, typed essays, tutored, hosted family parties, and dispensed wisdom. Margaret returned to paid work in the 1980s as assistant archivist for the United Church Archives, but she always acknowledged the social and economic value of her years as a parent and homemaker: when once asked by a Census-taker to state her occupation, she listed herself as a "manager" (later explaining, with a satisfied smile, that she "managed to get the meals on the table each night.")
Volunteer work and community leadership were also defining features of Margaret's life. She was active in the Schoolmasters' Wives Association, many Westworth committees, and the United Church of Canada National Council. Rumour has it that she chaired a good meeting! Margaret was particularly proud of her decade-long appointment to the University of Winnipeg Board of Regents, for which she served as Chair from 1992-1994. In 2000, her U of W work was recognized when she was awarded the inaugural University of Winnipeg Fellowship. Margaret also undertook significant writing and editorial work, co-editing of Prairie Spirit: Perspectives on the Heritage of the United Church of Canada in the West and co-authoring All Things Are Possible: A History of Westworth United Church, 1950-1990.
Margaret always credited her achievements to Murray's support. Their more than five decade-long relationship anchored and empowered Margaret in everything she did. Life with Murray included wonderful time spent at the McPherson farms in Brandon Hills as well as summer holidays at Victoria Beach. The year in East Lansing held special memories. She and Murray loved to travel, especially if journeys entailed long car trips and scenic country roads. Every trip seemed to widen the family tree as distant relatives became new friends. In return, the McPherson house on Lanark often welcomed travellers invited to "bunk in" as they crossed the continent; guests visiting Winnipeg for conferences, basketball tournaments, or medical appointments; and international students. Murray and Margaret's final years together were marked by his illness, as Margaret remained his daily companion through the tough years of Murray's failing health.
Margaret was sustained through such difficult times by her networks of wonderful comrades, including the Bridge Group, her Library friends, book clubs and church friends. When Margaret moved to the Wellington in 2006, she reconnected with a lovely group of women who enjoyed evening dinners together and supported each other as they faced the hard decisions aging entailed. The Wellington staff deserve special thanks for all their kindness to during Margaret's years there. By the time Margaret reached her 95th birthday, she was the last of "her" generation in her extended family, but Aunt Margaret (aka "Auntie" and "Auntie Marg") continued to nurture and value her close relationships with her nieces and nephews, sharing with them all the family histories she had collected.
Unfailingly supportive of her children, Margaret was absolutely delighted to be a grandmother: she was fiercely proud of her grandkids' accomplishments and cherished spending time with them. Getting to meet her great-granddaughter Rose brought immeasurable joy to Margaret's final days.
Always willing to engage in kitchen-table philosophizing about family, faith, feminism, and world affairs—Margaret loved talking about good books, about bad political decisions, about the CFL, and about curling. Margaret held enduring beliefs in the power of education, the value of a well-told story, the possibility of a completed crossword, and the importance of optimism. She will be dearly missed.
Special thanks are extended to Dr. Michael Coodin; the nurses, doctors, and aides of St. Boniface Palliative Care team; Dorcas Windsor and Rev. Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd of Westworth; the Boyes clan; Rosanne and Judy; and Donna and Tammy for their support of Margaret during the last phase of her life.
A celebration of Margaret's life will be held on Friday, June 9, 2023, at 1:00 p.m., at Westworth United Church, 1750 Grosvenor Avenue,

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As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Mar 25, 2023

Condolences & Memories (5 entries)

  • The members of The Women's Canadian Club of Winnipeg were very sorry to hear that Margaret had passed away. She was a very welcomed and respected member and will be missed. - Posted by: Eleanor Jean Zuk (The Women's Canadian Club of Winnipeg ) on: Apr 10, 2023

  • Mrs McPherson was a uniquely strong, wise and brilliant woman. She figured prominently in my life & the life of my dear departed wife Deanna, especially when we were teenagers. Her sage advice and kindness influenced many. A visit to the McPherson home was guaranteed to produce lively discussion. She gave the world two of the most wonderful children, in Jack & Kathy. I am most thankful for her instruction to the then young Jack, to take this new boy John Sisler under his wing, when I moved back from Europe to grade 11 at Grant Park. I will remember her fondly, with thankful happiness for her life. - Posted by: William John Sisler (Family friend) on: Mar 26, 2023

  • Margaret and Murray were two of my favourite teachers. ‘Miss Raven’ once gave me a mark of 92% in a test, so I confronted her on the % mark. She pointed out that I had lost points on three questions, I agreed that was a fair mark but did not agree that I was wrong for 8% of the test. She agreed as there were many questions, so she gave me a 97% mark. Murray also kept me after school to perform my science experiments as he said I knew my theory but had to do the experiments. Margaret also posted memorials to Murray every fall. They were the BEST of the BEST. - Posted by: Robert Bull (Grade 10 & 11 Student in Dauphin ) on: Mar 25, 2023

  • My condolences to the families Kathy, Jack children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Margaret was a true woman of strength and voice. She took her knowledge and understanding and shared her important values with others. My mother Doris, Jean and Margaret carried, supported and were/are an integral part of Westworth United Church as it grew in its strength since 1958. They as well as others were dedicated volunteers/workers to bring their families and all families a strong sense of community being. It is always a sad loss to let your loved one move forward but it is an honor to acknowledge and celebrate the precious time with spent with them. Much love to you all - Posted by: Maureen Woodward (Family friend) on: Mar 25, 2023

  • My mom Erma Hotchkiss and Margaret were good friends, both with events at Westworth and later at the Wellington where mom also lived and had many happy memories, She passed away a few years ago My sympathy to the family. - Posted by: Janice Franchuk (Family friend) on: Mar 25, 2023

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