Marguerite Eleanor Perkins was a remarkable woman who left an indelible mark on the lives of her family and all who knew her. It was her boundless energy, her determination to live a good life, her willingness to help others, and her love for her husband, her sons, and grandchildren that set the standard for doing what counts and what matters. She will forever be remembered for having made a difference by bringing energy, love, and happiness to life.
Think back to 1943 and you will recall the war raging in Europe, but on a lighter note, you may remember the popular song of the day, “Oh! What a Beautiful Morning”. Beyond the happenings of that year, something very exciting was going on in Port Elgin, for on March 11, 1943, a beautiful, healthy baby girl named Eleanor “Marguerite”, was born into the world! The happy parents were Sarah “Eleanor” (Brown) and her husband, Percy J. Jackman. Precious little Marguerite was the start of a whole new world for the Jackmans! She was the first of four children for as time went on, she was joined by her brother Doug, and two sisters, Marlene, and Cathy.
Marguerite’s childhood was spent in Saugeen Township, a beautiful place to grow up. For Secondary School Marguerite attended Saugeen District School in Port Elgin. Marguerite met the man who was to become her husband at a Wednesday night dance in Sauble Beach. His name was Cephas “Eugene” Perkins. Marguerite danced with the Junior Farmers at the time. She loved square dancing and excelled at it. Their club even danced at Toronto’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Eugene, on the other hand, well, let’s just say Marguerite had to teach him how to dance! And dance they did! All the way down the path to love and marriage! Marguerite and Eugene were married in a beautiful ceremony on the evening of March 19, 1966, at the Presbyterian Manse in Port Elgin. Marguerite’s sister, Marlene Jackman, her cousin, Diane Thompson and Eugene’s brother Robert Perkins were their witnesses.
As time went on Marguerite worked in the office of the Black Clawson-Kennedy foundry in Owen Sound. She also found enjoyment being a teller at the Bank of Montreal in Tara and then as a secretary at the Chesley District High School (1980-1988) in Chesley.
Marguerite and Eugene made their first home on the 8th Concession of Elderslie. A couple of years later they bought a farm on the Arran-Elderslie Townline. They loved living, working, and raising their boys on the farm and made the farm their home for 39 great years. Ken was born in 1967 and missed being the “Centennial Year Baby” by one baby! Murray followed in 1970 and Scott in 1975. Marguerite stayed home with the boys until they were all in school. Many years of farming have added marvellous memories to their life experiences. In their early farming years, Eugene and Marguerite milked 50 head of Holsteins. Later they had beef cattle.
Living on a farm and liking to sew often go together. And they sure did for Marguerite. She loved to quilt, too. It was in her DNA you might say, for her mother loved to quilt. Marguerite finished off one of her mom’s quilts when her mom was unable to do so. Eugene’s mother quilted too and Marguerite completed one of her quilts as well. Marguerite made a quilt for each of her sons and for each grandchild as well. Put all that together and it’s a lot of quilting!
Sons Ken and Murray remember a farm accident Marguerite had with the 165 Massey tractor. The tractor’s brake didn’t hold and it ran over her. Murray saw the whole thing happen. It was the first day of school for Ken. Murray said that Mom ran over the tractor! Marguerite spent the night in the hospital but had no broken bones and, fortunately, somehow the tractor tire missed her head.
Marguerite did love to dance and not just square dance but waltzes and polkas too. The faster the dance the better she liked it. She and Eugene would dance three times a week—Wednesdays at the Knights of Columbus in Owen Sound, Fridays at the Wiarton Legion and Sunday afternoons at jamborees in the area, like in Harriston and Bognor. Classic Country music was a love of Marguerite’s also. She played the piano and saw to it that all three of the boys had music lessons of one sort or another. Singing hymns in church was a delight and playing for her family at home was enjoyable as well. She never really had the confidence to play in public. She was reserved in that way. But the boys played in bands, including the Dave Chittick Band. Murray played the violin and Scott the guitar. Besides music lessons, Marguerite made sure the boys had swimming lessons and were involved in sports, especially baseball.
Family vacations were important and not always easy to fit into the schedule between farming and also when Eugene was trucking, but somehow they made sure to go on vacations, especially on the Bruce Peninsula. In retirement, there were some longer trips too, like to Alaska, Nashville, and New Brunswick. Marguerite, after seeing what it was like to drive with a trucker, decided it was bus trips only from then on!
Like sewing and quilting, cooking fits right in with farming too. So, of course, Marguerite was a fabulous cook and an even better baker! Complete meals were important to her, meaning meat, potatoes, vegetables and all the trimmings. And those were just the lead into the best part—dessert! Nothing could beat her home-baked pies! Marguerite loved springtime. She always enjoyed spending time in her vegetable gardens and flower beds too. And she canned and preserved everything she could. Her energy was boundless!
Marguerite was a real go-getter, no question about that. Early to rise, early to bed was the way she lived. Her energy and determination never got in the way of her caring for her family and friends, however. She was especially close to Eugene’s mother who lived with them for a short while. Marguerite was always willing to babysit for the Lembke children—Eugene’s nephews. She had a sense of humour too, which she enjoyed sharing and she could take it just as well whether in conversation or as a joke. When things would begin to head south, so to speak, with Eugene she would resort to tickling his feet! She wasn’t much for TV but preferred a good novel on rural life and the Old Order Mennonites. Church was important to her and she rarely missed attending services at the United Church.
She was proud of her sons and her grandchildren, encouraging them always to “Do your best.” She certainly did her best and in her own way with her seemingly endless energy set the example for living a wonderful life.
Sadly, dementia began to affect Marguerite three years ago. Fortunately, Eugene worked hard to care for her and she was able to stay at home as long as possible. Now the memories of her life, her kindness, her caring, her generosity, her work, and her love for family and friends will live on in the hearts of all whose lives were touched by this outstanding woman. She will long be remembered for making an amazing difference in the lives of her family and friends.
Eleanor “Marguerite” Perkins of Chesley, formerly of Dobbinton, passed away at South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Chesley on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 in her 77th year.
Loving wife of Eugene. Cherished mother of Ken and Scott, both of Chesley and Murray (Cathy) of Waterloo. Marguerite will be dearly missed by her grandchildren Tyler (Sam), Caitlin (Matt Densa), Cameron, Claire, Thomas, Alexis, Kiefer as well as great-grandson Colt. She will be fondly remembered by her siblings Doug (Linda) Jackman of Port Elgin, Marlene (Bob) Crossley of Park Head, Cathy (Bill) Esplen of Whitby and the entire Perkins family. She was predeceased by parents Percy and Eleanor (Brown) Jackman.
Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Sunday from 2 – 4 and 7 – 9 p.m. where a funeral service honouring Marguerite’s life will be held on Monday, June 10, 2019 at 11 a.m. Interment in Chesley Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Grace United Church, Chesley Hospital Foundation or the charity of your choice would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.Send to friend