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MARGARET BARNSLEY (published on May 23, 2009)

MARGARET BARNSLEY Margaret Barnsley passed away peacefully at the Victoria General Hospital in Winnipeg on May 16, 2009. She will certainly be missed, but her departure is cause for celebration of a remarkable life, well - and fully-lived. In March we celebrated Mom's much-anticipated 100th birthday! Surrounded by family, she was in top form and only regretted the party ending too early. Mom was born into the Hamilton clan in Winnipeg on March 14, 1909. Her parents, Robert and Catherine, contributed remarkable genes, and both lived to their 90s. Two predeceased siblings, Bob and Nellie, also lived to their 90s, and Ruby and Bill continue this longevity tradition (Minnie and the family bought Bill a mountain bike for his 90th - we expect he'll wear it out.) The Hamilton clan also brought a strong family ethic with regular Friday night and holiday get-togethers featuring a laden dinner table that stretched from the dining room all the way to the front window. Four generations of fun! After a happy childhood, where Margaret began a pattern of lifetime friendships, Mom assumed the responsibility of Executive Secretary to The Director of Taxation. It was at this time that she met Reg through his sister, Ethel. Normally a very reserved man, Reg made an exception when it came to Margaret. Young Lochinvar Reg, as the Great-West Life magazine described him, spirited Margaret away to New York on January 22, 1937, to get married; she remained the love of his life. Their love would be shared generously with late arrivals, Eleanor and Joe. We could not have had better or finer parents. Mom dove into parenthood with devotion. During the polio epidemic in the 1950s, Mom gathered the neighbourhood kids in our backyard in the shade of the crab-apple tree and kept everyone quiet with games, stories and crafts. She also found time to volunteer in church and hospital guilds, arts organizations, and served as president of the Antique Arts Club. Mom and Dad retired to Victoria in 1964. Before long, Dad's active mind led to full-time work with the Superintendent of Insurance. Mom enjoyed new friends and activities and frequent excursions with Dad to Vancouver to visit Ely, hubby Dave, and especially grand-children Shannon and Scott. It wasn't long before Dad was doing consulting work in Vancouver and Mom and Dad were happily living a brief - and frequent - walk away from Ely and crew. Mom and her nieces and nephews formed a special bond so that Auntie Margaret enjoyed generations of an active extended family that was so important to her. However the greatest pleasures in Dad and Mom's life were their grandchildren, Kim, Jorme and Kelly (Joe) and Shannon and Scott (Ely). Each of them shares a special bond with Grandma and Grandpa. It's sad that Dad, who passed away in 1992 at 90 years of age, missed meeting Sophie (Kim and Philip), Naia and Georgia (Shannon and Dan), each a very special angel. Mom loved being GG (great-grandma). Although Mom really missed Dad the past 17 years, she never complained. After moving back to Winnipeg in 2002 to The Waverley, a five-minute drive from Joe and Karen's, Mom soon renewed a routine of bridge twice a week, crib, bingo, Friday happy-hour, knitting for charity, talks with Audrey and company on the porch, and many visits with cherished friends and family from all generations. Joe and Karen's Sunday night pizza and wine with Elsie and Mom is a tradition we'll miss. Remarkably, Mom was able to live quite independently until last Christmas. No home care, good health, all her wits (and then some!). Over the last few months Mom was in and out of hospital. The marvellous staff at The Waverley, the dedicated home care workers and the remarkable doctors, nurses and staff at the Vic together succeeded in getting Mom to her 100th birthday party at the top of her game and provided great care and caring for her to the end. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who knew, helped and loved Mom through the 100 years, two months, and two days of her beautiful life. We hope Mom and Dad are holding hands, walking with the family dogs they so enjoyed, all young again. A family interment will take place later this summer. Mom will be celebrated in our hearts and minds. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you plant a flower for Mom and consider a donation to your local humane society.

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