Margaret Jane Armstrong
Margaret Jane was born March 3, 1950, to Edna and Thomas Noad, in Olds, Alberta. She was fifth in a line of seven siblings, distinguishable as she was the only one with white-blonde ringlets. Her mother raised the children, and her father was a well-known cattle producer, raising the family on a farm just outside of Olds. She was a happy child that loved making mudpies for a tea party, helped her mother with household chores, including picking up bread (but then having to climb a wood pile and throw it at the turkeys on the way home as she was terrified). She received high marks in school and was involved in several different social clubs. She was a member of the WIGC - The Women's Institute Girls Club, where she attended with her older sisters, Carla and Lilla. They learned cooking, sewing, public speaking, crafts, charity, and every summer attended a summer camp with the group.
She was also a member of the local 4-H club, which her father was involved with. Every year she had her own calf and had to learn to care and tame it and then compete in a show. The monthly meetings not only taught her about basic cattle care, but also public speaking. She was able to put her lessons on public speaking to use when she was selected to give a speech, on behalf of all grade 12's, at her high school graduation ceremony.
After graduating from high school, Margaret attended Olds College, completing a reception/secretarial certificate. Not long after college, she was invited to a friend's house for a Christmas party. It was here, that she met the love of her life, Pat, sleeping off the eggnog under the Christmas tree! The pair were married on June 12, 1971. Margie was so excited to marry her best friend that she left her house with the tag still attached to her wedding dress! The couple began their life together in Edmonton, welcoming their first child, Phillip Preston, in 1974, with Jill Anne to follow in 1977.
After starting off life together in Edmonton, Pat had found steady work in Blackfalds, and commuted daily for several months. The drive was long, so the couple decided to move closer in 1979. Margaret and Pat put down roots on 53rd Street, Lacombe. Here they bought a beautiful historic home, in a neighborhood where they built strong bonds that would last their entire adult lives.
Margaret had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis shortly after Jill was born. It was a daunting diagnosis, but she was able to continue life in a fairly normal fashion for years and continued her family roles as a dedicated wife and mother. She also worked outside the home at the Lacombe Hospital for several years as a unit clerk. Even though work at the hospital was important, she always made sure to be home to greet the kids and was a wonderful homemaker who welcomed neighbourhood friends in to play and eat some of the best homemade chocolate chip cookies anyone would ever have. Margaret made time to attend Jill's figure skating practices and piano lessons, and to cheerlead on the sidelines of all of Phil's soccer games, as well as helping by volunteering to be part of both organizations. The couple took the kids camping every opportunity they could get away and enjoyed spending time taking the family to visit grandparents and numerous cousins on the weekends.
Over the years, Margaret's M.S. symptoms progressed. After a nasty fall in the late '80's, it was time to give up her position at the hospital. Despite no longer being able to work outside the home, Margaret continued to volunteer with the hospital auxiliary and numerous school field trips and events. In 1992, the family decided to move to a one-story home to make things more manageable for Margaret as her symptoms worsened. They found a cozy house only a few blocks away, where they were welcomed by the neighbours, and could again call somewhere home. Despite life getting more difficult, Margaret never complained. She always found some positive in everything, even in tough times, and was always thankful for her husband, her kids, and her home.
Pat and the kids always did as much as they could to help Margaret. In 1999, after a lengthy stay in the hospital, she was finally able to go home. Unfortunately, she had lost much of her strength and would now need to use a wheelchair. It became evident that Margaret needed more help. The family felt strongly about Margaret staying in her home and committed to continuing to care for her with the assistance of personal caregivers. Her helpers were not only personal care aides, but they were also her companions, and over the years became members of the family.
Over the next several years, there were many changes to the family. Both kids were married, Jill to Dougie and Phil to Shannon, and five grandchildren, Faith, Logan, Connor, Lucas, and Jacob, were born. Those new baby months were very special to Margaret. Although she couldn't physically do a lot with the kids, she was still strong enough to cradle them. And as the little ones got a bit bigger, it was always fun to ride on Grandma’s knee as she sat in her wheelchair, wanting to be pushed around the house going "faster, faster!" The grandkids filled Margaret and Pat with so much joy.
In 2009, Pat retired from the same job that moved the family to Lacombe thirty years prior. The pair now spent each day together, sipping morning coffee on the front deck, relaxing in the afternoon sun out back, loving every minute of being surrounded by family, and enjoying the simple things in life.
In 2016, Margaret lost the love of her life to a short battle with cancer, a truly devastating loss for Margaret and the entire family. Wanting to honour Pat's last wishes and continue the family’s commitment to keeping Margaret in her own home, Jill and her family moved back to the family home. Having young kids in the house again meant there was always something going on to keep Margaret entertained.
In recent years, Margaret struggled with chronic infections. Her body was no longer responding to treatment, and in the early hours of September18th, she passed peacefully where she had always wanted to be - in her home.
Though Margaret faced over half of her life fighting a relentless disease, she never complained. She always had a smile on her face and a cheerful spirit. She had a way of making you laugh with her sassy remarks, and no matter how hard her day had been, she always said everything was "just lovely" or "wonderful". She was soft hearted and would always be the first to tear up watching movies, especially those darned Hallmark movies that everyone teased her for watching. Margaret faced her illness with grace despite the many hardships she faced. In doing this, she taught us acceptance, patience, and strength. With the help of Pat, they taught their family what commitment and true love was.
We are all deeply saddened, but at the same time feel great relief knowing that Margaret's suffering is finally over, and the earthly constraints of her body are no longer. We have no doubt that she was greeted by Pat with open, loving arms. As we say goodbye to Margaret, our world will feel a little less "wonderful" without her here. She will be missed beyond measure.
Margaret is predeceased by her husband Pat, her Father (Thomas Noad), Mother (Edna McCune), Stepfather(Don McCune), brother(Fred Noad), sister(Carla Zavediuk), stepbrother(Pat McCune), and her son-in-law(Dougie Hair).
Anyone wishing to donate may do so on behalf of Margaret, to the M.S. Society of Canada, http://www.mssociety.ca.
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