Margaret passed away peacefully on Monday January 3, 2022, after a 7-year struggle with kidney failure and many subsequent complications that arose from her condition. Margaret was born in Shipley, Yorkshire, England and was the daughter of Dennis and Maude Lightowler. Margaret was strongly attached to Maude’s sisters Criss, Margaret, Jess and Emily (together with Criss’s husband Ernie Bevan and Emily’s husband Alec Grant). Margaret is survived by her loving second husband, Ray Bertens, who cared for her through all the trials of her long illness. They were married for 14 years. Margaret had three sons by her first husband Bruno Hauer (died 1995): Glenn, married to Irina; Grant, married to Crista; and Kevin. She has four grandchildren: Michael and Eireann, son and daughter of Glenn Hauer and Jennifer Hanevy; and Catriona and Rosalind, twin daughters of Grant Hauer and Crista Carmichael. Margaret is also survived by her brother Donald and his wife Marjorie, their children Catharine and Michael, and their many grandchildren and great grandchildren who live in Yorkshire, England.
Margaret was a quiet person who enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the outdoors and had a wandering and adventurous spirit. Yet she loved people and formed many lasting friendships. She came to Canada in 1959 after her plans to live and work in New Zealand were thwarted. She settled in St Catharines, Ontario near her Aunts Criss and Jess and Uncle Ernie who she knew only from letters and for the numerous care packages they had sent back to the old country for many years after the war. She found a job at a bank, where she first met Ray Bertens. In 1961 she married Bruno and started a family with Glenn born in 1962, Grant in 1963 and Kevin in 1970. She made several lasting friendships with families she met in the hospital while giving birth and through her work at the bank. These families became a kind of substitute extended family for her three sons who have many fond memories of visits with them.
She shared her love of the outdoors with her family, first, with camping trips to the Adirondacks mountains in New York and later across northern Ontario and Canada. She loved to swim using the breaststroke but somehow never got her hair wet. While camping at Bray Lake near North Bay, Ontario, Margaret used to like getting up early in the cool of the morning for a refreshing swim and she is remembered for swimming across the lake while pushing a rubber dinghy. One year this inspired several of the kids that were camping there to follow in her wake, including her son Glenn, swimming across the lake as the dads followed closely in their boats in case a rescue was needed.
After her two eldest sons left home to attend school, her outdoor activity increased. She joined a hiking group called the Bruce Trail Club and made many new friends. She completed the entire Bruce Trail which starts in Niagara on the Lake and ends in Tobermory on Lake Huron. This was followed by a series of hiking trips to New Zealand, Nepal, and Tibet. She also hiked on Mount Kilimanjaro and followed the Inca trail in the Andes to Machu Picchu. In her mid-40s, Margaret decided to take up downhill skiing which was a surprise to her sons who witnessed her attempt to learn to skate in her 20s (because that was the Canadian thing to do). Then in the late 90s, she decided to take up biking (I didn’t even know she could ride a bike). It was through their shared enthusiasm for biking that she re-met Ray in 2004.
In 2005, Margaret moved to Victoria. Ray joined her in 2007 and they moved to Parksville in 2009. Margaret and Ray spent several happy years hiking and biking around Vancouver Island before Margaret became ill with kidney disease in 2015.
Margaret passed her love of the outdoors to family members. Grant was an avid wilderness canoeist and shared many long trips in the Canadian wilderness with his wife Crista and two daughters. Margaret joined Grant, Rosalind and Catriona on a canoe trip on the Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan in 2005. Margaret’s granddaughter, Eireann has become an avid mountain climber.
Special thanks to the many doctors and nurses at Nanaimo Regional Hospital and the Renal Unit who took care of her over the last seven years.
Margaret will be fondly remembered by friends and family. There will be no memorial service. A small family gathering will take place in the Spring where we will send her on her final journey at one of her favorite local spots.