Margaret Elizabeth was born in Chesley on Saturday, August 8, 1931 to parents Clarence and Bertha (Lemcke) Dawm. She was the youngest of four children and joined older siblings Eileen, Helen and Gordon. The Dawm family resided in Chesley where Margaret attended both public and high school. It was during her high school years that Margaret was introduced to musical instruments. She flourished and soon joined the town band. Following school, Margaret took a job in the Silknet factory in Chesley, where she perfected her sewing techniques.
During this time period, Margaret caught the attention of a local, young man by the name of Carl John “Jack” McDonald at a dance. The two hit it off immediately and soon began dating which culminated with their marriage on Saturday, June 11, 1949. The newlyweds soon called the McDonald homestead on the 6th of Elderslie home. Here they worked side-by-side on their 200 acre mixed farm. In time the McDonald family soon began to grow with the arrivals of Dianne (1951), Jerry (1952), Larry (1954) and Peggy (1956). As you can imagine, life was busy for Margaret, caring for her young family, however, she continued to help Jack on the farm whenever she could.
By the early 1970’s Margaret began her own business, Wild Rose Creations, which she operated out of her home. This sewing business was fueled by her early teachings at the Silknet factory whereby she specialized in lingerie. She continued to work on and grow her business for the next 20 years until slowing down in the early 90’s. In her limited time away from the farm and her sewing business, Margaret enjoyed helping others. During the kids’ youth, she was a leader in 4-H and later volunteered her time as a judge at the local fall fair. She was also a proud Big Sister and a founding member of both the Gillies Hill Women’s Institute and local Master Gardeners. When not busy volunteering, Margaret also enjoyed spending time in the kitchen. She was a fabulous cook and enjoyed baking and preserving. She was known to pass her knowledge and expertise onto others, and thankfully her recipes and secrets will live on for many years to come!
Sadly, her world was turned upside down in 1982, when Jack died of cancer. In their 33 years of marriage, they were rarely seen apart whether it was on the farm, in town or out at a function. During Jack’s illness, Chesley had become home for the McDonalds, and Margaret continued to try to settle in after his death. However, it should be no surprise that Margaret found it difficult to be at home by herself and instead preferred being out socializing with others. In the years that followed she began travelling more, exploring much of the US and enjoying warmer destinations like Cuba and Hawaii. Margaret was also fond of casinos and enjoyed her yearly trip with Peggy to Las Vegas for several years to try her luck! Retirement also allowed for more time outside working in her flowerbeds and perfecting her green thumb. Margaret also enjoyed spending many hours quilting in her basement with friends, lawn bowling and even took up painting. Any remaining time was usually spent reading, as she was an avid reader. Mystery and romance novels were her preference. Margaret was also an animal lover, and in addition to the many pets on the farm always enjoyed a furry feline companion keeping her company in the house.
Margaret was a loving, social woman who always put the needs of others, especially her family, before her own. She was constantly helping out whenever possible and in later years keen on keeping up with the happenings in her grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s lives. Sadly, in recent years Margaret experienced the loss of two of her children, Jerry (2000) and Dianne (2018) which were extremely challenging times. No parent should have to bury a child, not to mention two, but being a true matriarch Margaret led by example and tried to make the best of every situation and day.
In 2009, Margaret downsized and called Old School Rd. home. Here she further enjoyed family, and visits from friends and neighbours. Unfortunately, Margaret’s mobility continued to decline and she made the move to the Halliday House for more support. Once again being surrounded by friends and members of her community gave her great comfort as everyone began to experience the effects of our current pandemic. Sadly, her health continued to fail her and she recently became a resident of Hanover Care Centre. Margaret suffered a severe stroke in recent weeks and passed away on Sunday, May 2, 2021 in her 90th year.
Loving mother of Larry of R.R. #2 Chesley and Peggy Wappler of Waterloo. Margaret will be dearly missed by her son-in-law Michael Fortier of Renfrew and daughter-in-law Cathy Alves of Plattsville. Loving grandmother of Christel, Jeremy, Amy, Jonathan, Jamie, Amber, Jasmin, Angelina, Valerie, Jim and their families. She will be fondly remembered by her sister-in-law Jean Haddow and brother-in-law Blair Baldwin. Margaret was predeceased by her husband Jack (1982), son Jerry (2000), daughter Dianne Fortier (2018), son-in-law Art Wappler (2021), siblings Helen Ryan, Eileen Markle, Gordon Dawm and her parents Clarence and Bertha (Lemcke) Dawm.
A public visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 from 7 – 9 p.m. In order to attend, all guests must call the funeral home and register – please call (519 363-2525) anytime daily from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. to register. A private funeral service celebrating Margaret’s life will be held on Thursday, May 6, 2021. A recording of the service will be available on the funeral home website Friday. Interment in Chesley Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to The War Amps, Grey Bruce Animal Shelter or the charity of your choice would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.