WENSVEEN, Margaret

Posted: October 31st, 2017

MARGARET LUDMILA WENSVEEN (nee Vrabel) beloved wife of 63 years to John; mother, grandma, great-grandma, daughter, sister, aunt, mother in law and friend was called to Eternal Rest on October 28, 2017 at the age of 81 years.

She was born on May 23, 1936 in the same little yellow house on the outskirts of Raymond in which her brothers, Joe and Bill, were born in 1931 and 1933, all in those tough depression years. Their hardworking parents labored in the sugar beet fields and they had to pull out of school their 10-year-old daughter, Ann, to take care of the younger siblings. Their father also hauled beet pulp to several farmers who were raising cattle.

By 1939, the family had a wee bit of savings that they used as an application for a very large farm loan, through Mr. Henry Schwartz, with which they invested in their one-quarter section Picture Butte farm. Mr. Schwartz helped out many farmers; he spoke their languages and kindheartedly understood their concerns.

On October 28, 1940, Margaret’s father presented her with a special gift she had been praying for – a brand new baby for the family. As the midwife was late, our “Dr. Father” did the honours himself with the help of his old country Hungarian medical books. Both Mother and Baby came through well and Margaret was ecstatic with her very own little dark-haired baby brother, Andy. They bonded as close and caring siblings with a special understanding and sharing between them. When Margaret entered the first grade at Barrhill School, she made her very first show-and-tell project her two-year-old brother. Shortly afterwards, together, they conducted a very sad funeral for their special little pet doggie “Darky.” She had been run over and killed on the road by the farm.

Years later, it would be Andy dubbing Margaret’s hubby as “Dutchie,” a title he enjoyed much more than the usual ones like “Stubborn Dutchman!”

In 1948, the family sold the Picture Butte farm and invested into a larger half-section farm just south of Barnwell, as well as a house in Lethbridge at 722 – 18th Street South. Margaret completed the seventh grade at Barrhill School and started the eighth grade at St. Basil’s in north Lethbridge, then moved onto the newly built St. Joseph’s High School in south Lethbridge.

In 1952, Margaret took her training with Alberta Government Telephones and became a telephone operator. She married her “Dutchman” on September 15, 1954 and together they raised their six children. Margaret is survived by her dear family; husband John; son Jim (Mary Anne) Wensveen and their children Christina (Chris) Wedman, and their child Eamon; Jonathan (Avra Kates); Patrick (Chelsea King); daughter Cathy Moor and her daughters Christi (Paul Kingsmith) and their children Bentley and Lennon; Nicole (Brendan) Coffey; Bev (Dale) Ptycia and their children Thomas (Tiffany), and their child Henry; Katie (Matt Wood) and James; daughter Julie (Larry) Neigel and their children Brynen (Kelli) and Alyssa; son Rich (Deanne Johnson Eng) Wensveen and their children Chelsey, Justin, Jordan, Kayla (Logan Lizzi), Andrew and Kelsey; and son Rob (Cathy) Wensveen and their children Jennifer (Jesse Buchholz) and Travis.

Margaret is also survived by her sister Ann Chenger and brother Andy Vrabel, and by Gayle Wensveen, mother to Chelsey.

On John’s side, she is survived by his brothers Gerard (Terry) Westwood, Quince (Dianne) Wensveen, George (Denise) Wensveen.

In addition, Margaret is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews and their families.

Margaret was predeceased by her parents William Vrabel Sr. and Julia Vrabel; her brother Bill Jr. and his spouse, Shirley; her brother Joe and his spouse, Linda. She was also predeceased by her daughter-in-law Lynn Wensveen; Henry Moor, father to Christi and Nicole; her nephews Roy Chenger and Robbie Vrabel; her brother-in-law John Chenger; and her niece Sharleen Sylvester.

On John’s side, she was predeceased by her father-in-law and mother-in-law Jacobus and Quirina Wensveen; her nephew Ian Wensveen; and sister-in-law Rita Bosch.

Back in 1958, Margaret joined the staff of St. Michael’s Hospital as a switchboard operator. The hospital atmosphere was most interesting to her and she learned a lot. As some have known, the pathways of some of Margaret’s life were not very easy; she struggled with bipolar depressive disorder and also underwent various surgeries and procedures. Coping with this cancer has been both very challenging and a new learning experience – not only for Margaret, but for her loved ones too. The following insight has given us comfort, strength and courage, and we now share it with all of you on behalf of Margaret:

“What Cancer Cannot Do:

Cancer is so limited,

It cannot cripple Love,

It cannot shatter Hope,

It cannot corrode Faith,

It cannot destroy Peace,

It cannot kill Friendship,

It cannot suppress Memories,

It cannot silence Courage,

It cannot invade the Soul,

It cannot steal eternal Life,

It cannot conquer the Spirit.”

Relatives and friends are invited to a Prayer Service at CORNERSTONE FUNERAL HOME, 2800 Mayor Magrath Drive South, Lethbridge, AB on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at 7:00 P.M. with Father Ian Gagne officiating.

The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at ST. AMBROSE PARISH, 1513 – 23rd Avenue, ­­Coaldale, AB on Thursday, November 2, 2017 at 12:00 Noon with Father Ian Gagne, celebrant.

Following the Funeral Mass, Margaret will be laid to rest in Mountain View Cemetery.

Following the interment, relatives and friends are invited to further share this day with the family for a complimentary luncheon and refreshments in the Memorial Hall at the ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION GENERAL STEWART BRANCH NO. 4, 324 Mayor Magrath Drive South, Lethbridge, AB, through the north entrance. Music will be provided by Rich Wensveen.

In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made to Streets Alive, 323-4th Street South, Lethbridge, AB T1J 1Z9.

To send a condolence, please visit www.cornerstonefuneralhome.com

3 Condolences for “WENSVEEN, Margaret”

  1. Patsy Knutson says:


    I’m very sorry for your loss and extending my condolences and warm thoughts to you and your family.

    Patsy Knutson

  2. Continuing Education Team, U of C says:

    We are all thinking of you and your family today Rob and know what a difficult time it will be. It’s our sincere hope that you will be able to heal from this sad loss with the support of your friends and family. Our sympathy extends to all of you today.

  3. Jo-Anne Clarke says:

    Dear Rob and family,

    My thoughts are with you today as you gather to honour and mourn the passing of your mother. I so enjoyed reading your tribute and learning more about Margaret and your family history. The sugar beets, “Dr. Father”, her career as a switchboard operator…it paints a picture of her life, the times, and the place. Thank you also for sharing words of resilience that gave your family strength as you walked beside her in the fight against cancer. It sounds like she was very loved by you all every step of the way.

    With sympathy
    Jo-Anne Clarke

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