Margaret Kelly
Wednesday
24
April

Funeral Mass

10:30 am
Wednesday, April 24, 2024
St. Peter's Catholic Church
541 Silvergrove Dr NW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
(403) 286-5110

Obituary of Margaret Kelly

December 15, 1919 - Toureen, Ballinderreen, County Galway, Ireland

March 17, 2024 - Calgary, Alberta

 

Margaret Kelly (nee Sweeney) of Calgary, AB, passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 17, 2024, at the Bow View Manor Home, at the age of 104 years. She is deeply missed by her daughter Margaret Leigh, and her son-in-law Richard, as well as family and friends.

 

Margaret was born in Toureen, Ballinderreen, Co. Galway, Ireland, on December 15, 1919, to Michael and Mary Sweeney. She was predeceased by her husband Joe, and her siblings, Ellie, Molly, Delia, Norah, Kathleen, Ann, Michael, Peter, Tom, John, and Martin.

 

At the age of seventeen, she left Toureen to travel to London to train to become a nurse, as there were no such opportunities for her in Ireland. She initially worked at a ‘fever’ hospital and developed tuberculous pleurisy. Back then, developing TB was thought of (and often was) as a death sentence. She was sent back to Ireland to recuperate and with a year’s rest, she made a full recovery. She went back to nursing in England and qualified as a nurse and a midwife.

 

She had memories of cycling around the streets of Southampton doing home deliveries during World War II. She remembered hearing the feared ‘doodlebug’ V1 Flying Bomb flying overhead. She also nursed many wounded servicemen, some of them Canadian, who had been shot down and badly burnt. Post-war England was economically challenged, and so she took up the offer of free passage to Sydney, Australia, as well as a nursing position there.

 

She worked at the King George V Memorial Hospital for mothers and babies, and loved Sydney, the weather, the respect she got as a nursing professional, the good salary, and the strange and wonderful animals. She met Joe Kelly, who had grown up in County Mayo, Ireland, only a few hours away from Toureen. He had recently left the Royal Airforce and was working as an engineer on the Snowy River Scheme. However, he always wanted to return to Africa as he had been stationed there for part of his service. Joe asked Margaret to marry him and come to Southern Rhodesia (as it was back then). She didn’t want to leave Australia and turned him down. However, he later wrote and asked her to marry him again, and she resigned from her position and made the solo trip to Africa. They were married in Salisbury in 1956.

 

Margaret and Joe went back to Sydney after a few years, worried about the increasing civil unrest in the country, but a year later in 1961, they moved to Nairobi, Kenya, where they lived until 1974. They then moved back to Salisbury (which later became Harare). Margaret and Joe later moved to Cape Town, South Africa, in 1990 to join their daughter.

 

Joe developed a chronic debilitating illness and Margaret nursed him devotedly until he passed away in 1993. She moved to Hamilton, ON, in 2000 to join her daughter, Margaret, and son-in-law, Richard, and then again to Calgary, AB, in 2004. She lived with her daughter and son-in-law until she needed 24-hour care, and adapted well to living at Bow View Manor, where she enjoyed the company of friends and her caregivers.

 

Margaret loved life and on every festive occasion, the carpet would be rolled back so she could dance energetic Irish jigs and sing. She loved the early days in Africa, where a drive to the coast on a holiday in Kenya would often be delayed with elephants or rhinos on the gravel road. She spent hours combing the reef in Mombasa, Kenya, and had a hawk-eye for beautiful shells. She loved the beautiful ‘Rockies’ in Alberta, and enjoyed gardening, going for walks, and spending time with her two Yorkshire Terriers, Tessie and Sam.

 

She was extremely proud of her daughter and even when her memory for people and places started to fail her, she still knew who her “darling daughter” was. “Home” was always her birthplace in Toureen and she loved visiting and getting news of her beloved extended family.

 

She joined the Golden Age Club in Calgary and took great interest in all her fellow members. This was where she met Mikal Almedon, a volunteer who became a second daughter to her, and a very special family friend. She celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends and was thrilled with letters from the Irish President, Michael Higgins, and Queen Elizabeth. The pandemic impacted Margaret negatively, as it did most seniors, due to the lockdowns and social isolation. Nonetheless, buoyed by her strong Catholic faith, she bore this with uncommon courage and, until a few days before she passed, she was still enjoying her food, especially the butternut soup made by Edna.

 

We thank the staff of Bow View Manor, including Dr. Venita Ramana, the nursing staff including Stacey, Gabriel, Ola, and Joy; the LPNs including Munira, Catherine, Hermeet, and Lorie; and the maintenance staff, including Dorjee. We are also grateful for the care provided by All About Seniors, including Ruth, Andrea, Tamar, Ilona, and Bonnie. All these wonderful people helped make Margaret’s final years special.

 

Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Peter’s Catholic Church (541 Silvergrove Drive N.W., Calgary, AB) on April 24, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. Reception to follow in the Church Hall.

 

Family and friends who are unable to attend in person are invited to join Mrs. Kelly’s service streamed live at https://st-peters.ca/private-event/ on the day of the service

 

If friends so desire, and in lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made directly to The Brenda Strafford Foundation Ltd., 4628 Montgomery Blvd NW, Calgary, AB, T3B 0K7, Telephone 403-444-7222, https://thebsf.ca/get-involved/donate.html.

 

Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed with Margaret’s family here.

 

In living memory of Margaret Kelly, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Crowfoot, 82 Crowfoot Circle NW, Calgary, AB T3G 2T3, Telephone: 403-241-0044.

 

 

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