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Margaret Jean Watson


Margaret Jean Watson

October 7, 1937 – November 28, 2022

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Margaret Jean Watson (née Mitchell). Born in rural Australia, Margaret moved to Canada in 1967 and married David Watson in 1969 (they had met four years earlier in Iran during an overland bus tour). After living in Victoria, Kelowna, Inuvik and Winnipeg, they settled in Banff in 1979.

Community involvement was a priority for Margaret throughout her life and she considered it one’s responsibility to be active and to look out for others. The Girl Guides, the Nordic Ski Club, the Rowing Club, the Ladies Auxiliary to the Mineral Springs hospital, the book festival, the Rundle United Church, the Banff Seniors Society - among others - all benefitted from her energy, commitment, and no-nonsense approach. She loved the arts and was a lifelong advocate for literacy and education, and she was a long-time and active member of the United Church – choosing it in part because of its progressiveness among faiths. Despite her prolific volunteerism, she rejected accolades: good work was to be done because it was good, and because someone needed to do it. She also knew that the greatest need was often in other communities: she was an active member of the Stephen Lewis Foundation ‘Mountain Grannies’ group and supported the work of Doctors without Borders, among others.

Margaret was open-minded, generous, thoughtful, and caring. She was strong-willed and held many clear convictions, but she had a light-hearted touch and a wonderful, if dry, sense of humour. She loved nature and wildlife, and over the years she and David welcomed countless visitors - and pets - into their home, and their lives.

Margaret loved her family deeply. She is survived by her husband of 53 years, David; her siblings, June, Anne and John; her children, Paul (Joanna), Catherine and Michael (Hannah); her grandchildren, Mackenzie, Parker, Lucy, Hannah, Theodore and Sebastian; many other relatives in Canada and Australia, and countless friends around the world.

A special thanks to the doctors, nurses and others who provided professional and compassionate care for her throughout her illness with cancer, and in her final months.

Margaret was happiest outdoors and loved wildflowers in bloom. In this spirit, a springtime event will be organised in remembrance. Those wishing to honour Margaret’s life are encouraged to get out for a ski, a hike or a walk; to volunteer in their local community; and to make a donation to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) or Pearson College UWC.

Margaret would have preferred a simple obituary: “I died”. But the last word is given to the living, and Margaret was an extraordinary woman who lived life fully, on her own terms, and who tried to make the world a better place through her many small actions. She will be dearly missed.