Margaret J. Maxwell
March 30, 1926 – December 19, 2020
Margaret, daughter of Christine and Dan Calder, was born in Edinburgh Scotland. She had many stories and memories about living next to the sea in a historic city. Mainly she talked fondly of her early childhood and time spent with a loving family and close friends.
In 1939, when WW11 broke out her life changed forever. By the age of 14 she was working in the Wireworks factory and adapting to the realities of warning sirens, bomb shelters, rationing and shortages, keeping safe, and coping with loss of friends and neighbors. She learned to be resilient and said simply that they made it through the war by helping each other. War brought Canadian soldiers overseas, one of them catching her eye and heart. In February 1946 she married Sgt. Gordon Maxwell and shortly after joined other war brides and came by ship to Canada. Landing in Halifax Pier 21, she boarded a train that took the war brides to their destinations, new husbands, family and communities. After a long trip across Canada and watching other brides disembark, she wondered how big her new country really was, and if she would ever see her new husband. It was with some relief that she finally reached her Saskatchewan destination and was greeted by Gordon.
Margaret`s Canadian adventures had just begun. After being warmly welcomed at the family farm she shyly inquired about the whereabouts of the restroom. She never tired of telling about Gordon`s sister Mabel opening the door to leave the house. She thought to herself “where are we going “, and was further surprised as they made their way through a flock of gobbling turkeys to a wee building that Mabel called the outhouse. She was greeted by the gobbling of a turkey perched on the building`s roof and so began her introduction to farm life on the prairies.
Margaret and Gordon began their life together in the Huxley AB community where Gordon had moved to at age 16 during the depression. They rented, then purchased a quarter of land and started their farm life together. She never forgot and always appreciated the welcoming and help she received from neighbors, who would soon become lifelong friends. They in turn enjoyed Her friendliness, Scots humor and wit. They took her under their wing and helped her to learn about farm life. Everything was different from her life in Edinburgh. She soon learned that farming was dependent on the weather as was almost everything from grocery shopping to travelling. She also learned about the closeness of the farm community and how people came together in good times and bad.
They began their family welcoming Dan (1947), Linda (1950) and Larry (1957). Margaret was resourceful and learned how to sew, knit, cook farm style (never forgot her first threshing crew experience!), drive a tractor, truck, handle livestock, garden, and manage, with Gordon, their growing farm. She credited her participation in the Women`s Institute as a place that gave her the opportunity to expand her abilities and experiences. Over time she put this to work as a 4-H leader, a term as president of the local legion, and involvement in many community activities. She loved music, had a lovely singing voice, and sang at many weddings and events. The farm became a favorite place to be for grandchildren as her family grew. All have memories of being with Grandma and Grandpa at the farm.
Margaret`s Scots family became an integral part of Gordon and their children`s lives with letter writing, phone calls and stories about her Scots’ home. Her first trip home to Scotland was shortly after Linda was born and they travelled by train and ship to Edinburgh. The next major trip home was in 1964 when she joined other war brides in an historic Wardair charter flight honoring war brides. Thereafter trips back and forth between family members increased, forging a close connection between her Scots and Canadian family.
Over time Margaret and Gordon were also able to reconnect with their military family with trips to France, Belgium, Holland and the UK to commemorate the D-Day landing. They also spent several years attending reunions of their military family in Langley BC. Margaret valued these trips and the opportunity to connect with other war brides and the families of Gordon`s comrades. The impact of the WW11 experience and the appreciation for freedom and sacrifice was taught by example to Margaret`s family.
In 1986 Gordon and Margaret moved to Trochu AB and life changed a little with more time spent volunteering and being with friends at the Drop-in Centre. She and Gordon continued to follow their children and their grandchildren`s activities. Following Gordon`s passing in 2007 Margaret moved to Mt View Lodge Olds in 2011 readily making new friends and endearing herself to a new community. Due to declining health and a hip fracture, she moved back to Trochu to St Mary`s Health Care Centre in September 2017. In July of 2020, Margaret moved to Olds, living contentedly with daughter Linda. She passed away peacefully at home on December 19th, 2020.
Margaret will be remembered by her family for unconditional love of her children, and as a beloved Grandmother to grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. She is fondly remembered by family, nieces and nephews in Scotland, Australia and Canada. We are so grateful to her for keeping and building family connections. Margaret was predeceased by her siblings, John, Chrissie, Nancy, Alex and Dan, nephew Alex and by her husband Gordon, and his siblings, Alexander (Spike), Margaret, Mabel, Isobel, Ida, Jean and James (Jim), son Dan Maxwell, grandson Stephen Skiehar, step grandchildren Garry Hoedl and Sandra Walker, and son in law Joe Hoedl. She is lovingly remembered and survived by son, Larry (Barb) and their daughters, Lyndsay (Chris), Katie (Dan), Jackie (Francois), by daughter Linda, her son Dan, and stepdaughter Rhonda, and Margaret`s son Dan`s daughters, Shanon (Bernie), Deanne (Jason) and her great grandchildren, nephews and nieces.
Margaret will be laid to rest with Gordon at the Trochu Cemetary. When Covid conditions permit, a celebration of her life will be held. Memorial donations may be made to the Olds & District Hospice Society or S.T.A.R.S. Air Ambulance. Heartland Funeral Services Ltd., Olds entrusted with arrangements. 403-507-8610 Condolences may be sent or viewed at www.heartlandfuneralservices.com