Obituary of Margaret (Margie) Kehler
August 25, 1930 - June 3, 2022
"On this day, we bring to you" the news that Margaret "Margie" Kehler (Eitel) has gone in glory to join her Lord and Saviour in heaven after almost 92 years of singing His praises and bringing joy to so many on Earth.
Margaret died June 3, 2022, surrounded by the loves of her life in Calgary, Alberta.
Margaret's life was centred around her faith in God and love of family. God blessed her with the gift of music, which she enthusiastically shared - at schools, community singsongs, church services, parades and anywhere she could. That gift has been passed to her children, grands and great grands.
In 1953, Margie took the train from Ontario to Calgary to start her nursing career at the Holy Cross Hospital. She moved into an apartment with sister Doreen and promptly rented a piano, bringing her brand of rollicking ragtime to Cowtown. One November night at Penley's Dance Hall, Margie met a handsome Saskatchewan fellow named Johnny Kehler. She phoned her mother at Christmas to say he was definitely not the guy for her. They were engaged in January, married in May and had their first child in February.
Fitting with her Catholic faith and love of music, Johnny and Margie practised "the rhythm method" (Margie's words). They made some great music together, with eight children born over 12 years.
In some households, eight would be the start of a baseball team; for the Kehlers, it was the beginning of a big band. The musical mayhem included two pianos, drums, multiple guitars, a fiddle, banjo, harmonica and spoons, the latter often stuffed into stubby beer bottles.
Among Margaret's original compositions were "The Alberta Strut" and "Sing Out Calgary," lively tributes to her adopted home. Her deep faith inspired "Dear Little Flower of Jesus" written to honour Saint Therese of Lisieux, and a wedding song named "On This Day," a tribute to love that has been played at the weddings of all her children and grandchildren thus far. Margie dearly missed her Ontario family, prompting many cross-country drives to the legendary "Kenora reunions" with brother Herb, wife Barb and their boys.
No matter where she went, Margie was a force. She was a ringleader in the Sunshine Girls, a St. Michael's Church singing troupe, and an instigator of The Trashy Ladies, a group of sassy clogdancing seniors in Riondel, B.C., where she and Johnny lived for 38 years in their retirement.
In 2017, Margaret and Johnny moved back to Calgary to live at Shalem Court, where she continued filling the lives of others with music and love. Many health issues weakened Margaret's body but never her spirit. Her motto was "Trust in God but row for shore" and even in the darkest stages of her illnesses, she rowed as hard as she could, buoyed by her love of family and faith in God. In her final days, Margaret was excited at the prospect of meeting Him and reuniting with her parents Herbert and Barb Eitel, sister Doreen (Tom), and brother Herb (Barb), all of whom predeceased her.
If Margaret's life was a symphony, her family and friends were the orchestra. She leaves behind John Albert Kehler, her husband of 68 years and love of her life; her children, Barbara (Victor), John (Liz), Beverley (Richard), Robert, Thomas (Maureen), Douglas (Carole), Therese (Dan) and Brian (Nicole); her grandchildren, Brandy (Sandro), Jared, Molly, Colleen (Ian), Shannon, Meghan, Jessica, Ryan, Brian, Steve, Jordan, Madison, Misty (Jesse), Sarah, Daniel, Jake (Kiana), Erin, Brittany (Kevin) and Collin; great-grandchildren, Ava, Ella, Norah, Bowie and Logan; and other beloved family members: Siena, Alex, Neil, Andrew, France, Hannah, Sam, Isabelle, Jaxon and Jack. Like the awards shows, we'd love to name everyone but it's simply not possible.
Margaret loved deeply and was deeply loved in return. We will all miss her terribly, cherish her forever and keep her spirit alive until we meet again.
Thank you to Dr. Evans and the staff at Dulcina Hospice for their gentle care in Margaret's final days. The family has requested that remembrances be made in the form of contributions to Dulcina Hospice through Covenant Care, or to the Canadian Cancer Society.
As requested by John and Margaret, a Catholic Mass and joint celebration of their lives be held at a later date. A Private Memorial Service will be held at McInnis & Holloway (Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB) on Monday, June 6, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. The proceeding will be streamed online (see below) on the day of the service. Condolences, memories, and photos can also be shared and viewed here.
In living memory of Margaret Kehler, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.
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