Margaret Unrau, of MacGregor, Manitoba, passed away Wednesday, November 15, 2017, in the Carberry Health Centre, Carberry, Manitoba, at the age of 83 years, five months and 12 days. She was pre-deceased by her husband Clive Unrau in early March, 2016.
Margaret was born June 3, 1934 in Lost River District of the RM of Nipawin, Saskatchewan, the third child born to Bernhard and Anna Dyck. Margaret was considered the peacemaker in the family and was a quiet, mild-mannered young lady and they don’t remember her ever arguing with the other siblings or getting into trouble. She was good to her siblings and one memory is of her teaching her sister Betty to read. On the farm Margaret worked a lot outside with her dad and drove the tractor in the fields. She rode the horses, played guitar and had a talent for yodelling. Her first job was doing housework for various people in the Austin and Carberry area until the age of 16, when she found work at the Municipal Hospitals in Winnipeg in the housekeeping department where she had regular hours and pay. Her mother, Anna Dyck, told the girls that before they could move out of the family home they had to have a business suit and hat, a sewing machine, and have a portrait of themselves done. Those same portraits graced the top of the piano in the home as each left to make their own way in the world. While working at the hospital, Margaret came home for the weekend and a certain young man at church happened to catch her eye. In her words “Clive was standing there looking tall and handsome in a dark suit”. Her sister Elma and husband Norman seem to have been involved in a little matchmaking where they invited Clive over for supper, after which Clive walked Margaret home and delayed taking her straight home by stopping for coffee on the way, and the rest is history.
Clive and Margaret were married June 27, 1953, in the MacGregor Bergthaler Mennonite Church. Their son Ernest was born in Carberry, Man. which is where the couple were living at the time and Clive had found work. They rented a tiny one-bedroom house, and to help share the cost, Margaret’s younger sister, Helen, boarded with them while working in Carberry for the telephone company as an operator. Helen slept on a couch in the main room and went back home to her parents on weekends, so that gave the newlyweds at least occasional privacy.
Wayne, Debbie and Lorraine were born in Winnipeg, where Clive was working as a mechanic. Youngest son Mark was born in the Treherne Hospital. In 1960 Clive and Margaret moved their young family to take up farming on property purchased in the Ladysmith district, on a parcel of land that had previously been in the hands of Margaret’s uncle. There was a yard on the north quarter, with a log barn and small two-story house, and that’s where they began to make their living. There was not a good water supply at the original yard site, and Clive and Margaret moved the house to the quarter section a half mile south, nearer the main road and with a creek that flowed year-round to water the cattle. They both worked hard on the farm but Margaret made time to pursue creative interests of sewing, gardening, and music. Sewing and gardening while creative were also a necessity for the family. Many hours were spent sewing clothing, décor items, and weeding, harvesting, and canning the produce from the large garden.
Margaret kept many journals where she would often detail what the weather had been that day, what she had done, who had come to visit, or who had phoned. She found her identity in being a wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother and indeed in one of her last journals on an opening page she identifies herself as Margaret Unrau, wife of Clive Unrau. Margaret and Clive were married for 63 years and she often remarked how 63 years hadn’t been long enough. She writes in her journal in April, 2017, that “it is a little more than a year ago since Clive passed away. I live in (Victoria Place), a nice place, but it is lonely because I am alone”. It seemed that she felt only half of a whole without her husband whom she missed very much. In another place in her journal she quotes I Thessalonians 5:23,24 – “May God Himself sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” She goes on to write, “What a rich blessing and promise is in this verse. My soul and spirit will wing its way to God when freed by death. My soul, myself, my life, my characteristics, my individuality, my personality, all have been thought worthy by my Lord to be redeemed and I’m glad that I have accepted this redemption. My body, which is slowly deteriorating will be made new. How great thou art! May my life be a picture of you.”
Margaret Unrau is survived by her five children and families, 15 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren: son Ernest and Lorna of Morden and their children Candace and Colin Hamm of Steinbach, Corinne of Pincher Creek, Alta., Laurelle of Winnipeg, Tyler of Winnipeg, and Evan of Morden; son Wayne and Valorie Unrau of MacGregor and their children Brett and Ruth Unrau (Charlotte, Matthew, and Luke) of Flin Flon, Dustin and Erynn Unrau (Annika) of Winnipeg, and Tyson and Kristy (Madison) Unrau of Winnipeg; daughter Debbie and Steve Panchuk of Killarney and their children David and Erin of Winnipeg and Katelyn of Brandon; daughter Lorraine and Myles Carpenter of Winnipeg and their son Thomas and Shelby of Winnipeg; son Mark and Laura Unrau of Pratt district and their children Keri and Ethan, Kassy and Chance Murray (Addison, Lily, Sawyer, Finley) of Rossendale, and Russell Unrau of Winnipeg.
Margaret was predeceased by her parents, Ben and Anna Dyck, stepmother Eva Dyck, five sisters, Annie, Elma, Sarah, Tina, Elizabeth (Betty), one brother, Murray and step-sister Janis Boles. She is survived by her sister Helen and Jake Neustaeter, and sister Lois and Brian Scarrow and their children. She is also survived by step-sisters Eva Neufeld and Anne Lion and their children.
The family wishes to thank Dr. S. J. Ward, the staff of the Carberry Health Clinic, and the Carberry Health Centre for the kind and compassionate medical care Margaret received during her stay in hospital. Thanks also to Pastor Russell Doerksen and Pastor Gerry Harms for their ministry and comfort during the family’s time together in Margaret’s last hours. Thank you to friends and family who have offered condolences, comfort and support.
Charitable donations in Margaret Unrau’s memory may be made to: Nor-Mac Community Assisted Living Initiative (NMCALI Inc) c/o Victoria Place, PO Box 268, MacGregor, MB R0H 0R0, ph. 204-685-2644, and Back to the Bible Canada, Box 246, STN A, Abbotsford, B.C., V2T 6Z6, ph. 1-800-663-2425.