Margaret Alma Bourgeois
25 April, 1952 – 7 April, 2021
Margaret Bourgeois died from complications of COVID on April 7, 2021. She was 68, which is far too young. She stayed true to herself as close to the end as she could - on this last trip to the hospital, having a cigarette before she went into the emergency department and successfully recruiting her daughter to smuggle in Pepsi and chips hidden in a box of medical supplies.
Margaret grew up in Dundas, Ontario, where she kept her single mother, Marie, as well as, the Main and McHattie families, on their toes. Dundas and the surrounding areas are where she started smoking and selling cigarettes at age 9, went sliding down the rocks at Webster's Falls and, when a little older, tipsily get lost in cornfields. All this behaviour was loyally supported and encouraged by a hilarious group of enthusiastic accomplices.
Margaret lost her father, Edward, "Ted" McHattie, to suicide when she was 2 months old, following his struggle with PTSD after the War. It is difficult to overstate the impact this event had on shaping the lives of Margaret, her sister, Anne, and their mother. Ted became a hero for Margaret, someone she looked up to and held in the highest regard, which makes it very meaningful that she will be buried alongside him at the Grove cemetery in Dundas sometime in June.
Her mother, Marie, nee Main, was ever present in her life and one of her pillars of strength. Marie will turn 99 at the end of this month, one day after Margaret would have turned 69. Marie came out to BC to live with Margie and Joe back in 1992. As adults, these two women laughed, bickered, gambled, and teased eachother to no end for 25 years. Margaret and her sister Anne share a special bond, and Margaret lovingly refers to her as 'her Bella'.
Margaret met Joe at a curling rink in the late 70s. He was wearing one of his brown velour matching sets. Before ever talking to that gorgeous Metis man, Margaret leaned over to her auntie and said "Who's that guy?! I'm going to marry him." And she did. They were married for almost 30 years, sharing their home with extended family - their children, step-children, wives of children, grandbabies, grandmas, aunties, uncles, and a host of chosen family, both as visitors and housemates. Margaret and Joe were very skilled at creating extended family and wove their spider web of relations to include so many people connected by blood, marriage, heart and soul, who still to this day refer to her as mom, auntie, sister, and friend.
Although she actually gave birth to Cheryllee and Luke, she saw herself as another mother to all of their friends and acquaintances. When her kids weren't bringing friends home to be mothered, she found ways to channel her mom-energy to the kids she babysat, neighbourhood kids who would come to hang out and the many folks she welcomed to live with the family because they needed a place to stay. There was always enough Kool-Aid and cookies for whoever showed up, especially if she thought those kids were troublemakers or struggling, and needed a little extra love and care.
Joe and Margaret found a renewed happiness in eachother and a new community of people when they moved to Greenwood, BC. They bought a home for the first time ever and Margaret spent her time working at the Udder Store, sharing early morning visits with neighbours, and baking. They were very happy with small town life until Joe passed in 2007.
Greenwood was also the place where she met Garry, who she would spend the last years of her life with. Garry and Margaret dreamed of adventure and made this dream come true when they bought a truck and trailer - living in trailer parks in the Okanagan, travelling across Canada and spending winter down south in Arizona. Garry called her Muggs and he will miss her very much.
Over the last 2 years Margaret demonstrated feats of strength and stamina that could rival even the most seasoned circus performer. Over and over again as she faced what seems like a soap opera worthy storyline of health diagnoses, treatments, surgeries, setbacks, complications and hospitalizations. She showed us in real time her incredibly high pain tolerance and her stubborn commitment to keep every ounce of independence she could muster. Margaret came to stay with Cheryllee and her family in Toronto this past December, to spend time with her grandkids and heal up after yet another surgery. This time together was a gift and her grandchildren were thrilled with the constant stock of Pepsi, Mr Noodles, and hot dogs that accompanied her presence. A highlight of early spring was Luke coming for a visit and speaking by video to her grandchildren in BC. The neighbours also benefited from her kind and funny exchanges as she smoked out on the front porch all through winter. While on that porch, she spotted foxes, coyotes and even made friends with a couple squirrels who still come back looking for treats.
Margaret made good friends wherever she went and spent the last months connecting with friends she's had for 60 years, 40 years, 10 years and 2 years - all of whom she loved and cherished very much. This was a real joy and comfort to Margie, Maggs, Marg, Maggie, and an endearing experience for the rest of the family to watch her talk, laugh and gossip like a teenager on the phone.
Mom loved being thought of as strong and acting tough. Formalities made her uncomfortable, and she didn't have any patience for folks who acted like they were better than others. She was a partner in crime, both as an instigator and a willing participant in many great stories that are better shared through tears of laughter, over cups of tea, around a kitchen table, rather than in an obituary.
If you would like to make a donation in memory of Margaret please consider the Kelowna Women's Shelter https://kelownawomensshelter.ca/give-help/donate-now/
- Kelowna's Womens Shelter
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Margaret Alma Bourgeois
12 April 2021
You have fought many battles over the last few years and you have been strong doing so, your last battle was a tough one and you were tired. Having you as a friend for over 60 yrs is something I will cherish, Rest in Peace my friend.
12 April 2021
I am shocked aand saddened by the news of Margie's death. I have known Margie for about 35 years, and her obituary couldn't have described her any better. Margie was a force to be reckoned with, but with the kindest heart, and always went out of her way to help others. I didn't see her often, after she moved to BC, but I thoroughly enjoyed our occasional visits. RIP Margaret...you will always be remembered for your smile and keen sense of compassion for others. ❤️