February 17, 2019
It is with sadness and fond memories that the family of Margaret Helen Alexis announce her passing on February 17th, 2019 at the age of 69 years.
Born in Vernon in 1949 with a rock and roll spirit, Margaret embodied the fun-seeking rebelliousness of the time. She always loved the doo-wop music of her youth in the 50s and 60s, and the thought of driving fast in a hot car, thanks to her older brother, Nick. Margaret also carried with her the practical sensibilities of a small business owner thanks to her hard working parents, Nick and Helen Alexis, who ran Vernon’s legendary coffee and sweets store, the Kandy Kitchen. She wore her Greek heritage as a badge of honor. Later, Margaret worked in the local bank, a natural fit for someone who already knew how to handle money and so many of the people in her small town. She always valued honest work and the companionship of her friends and loved ones. She treasured the memory of her ancestors, displaying photos of grandparents and great-grandparents for all to see in her well-tended home.
For all the jobs she had, the greatest work in her life was at Trinity United Church, where she organized the many weddings, funerals and other life ceremonies of so many Vernon residents. The lives of Vernon’s people were always of interest to her, and she always had time for someone’s story. Trinity was also where she learned to sing in a choir and to enjoy her own voice in concert with others.
Margaret had an enduring love of animals, and the flowers and trees of the Okanagan. She always had a pet or three, and was happy to volunteer at Vernon’s SPCA. Caring for others was to define her later years. So much of her time was spent providing comfort to those who needed help or a friendly smile while in the hospital. Margaret never thought to leave Vernon for anywhere else. To do so would have been to give up on the family and friends in the town she loved so much. Yet, in the last months of her life and already struggling with advanced cancer, Margaret travelled with her brother and his family to Hong Kong to visit her son and his wife. It was the first time she ever needed a passport, and it was an extraordinary act of personal courage on behalf of her loved ones. Margaret always said how much she loved to see the lights of Vernon when driving home. On the return from Hong Kong and in pain from the long journey, she would have been warmed as her beloved Vernon came into view, welcoming her home for the last time. In Margaret’s last months, friends old and new came together with purpose and love to help her live her last days with comfort. To all of them, her family offers the greatest thanks.
Margaret Helen Alexis is survived by her mother Helen Alexis, her aunt Irene McLeod, her son Ryan Swift and his wife Alice, her brother Nick Alexis and his wife Vi, her nieces Melissa and Nikki, her sister-in-law Tannis and the Bradley family, and her companion for many years, Fraser Blackmore.
There will be a Celebration of Margaret’s life at Trinity United Church on Saturday, March 23rd, 2019 at 2 pm. As an expression of sympathy, those who wish to do so may send donations in memory of Margaret to the North Okanagan Hospice Society, 3506-27th Avenue, Vernon, B.C. V1T 1S4 or the Vernon SPCA, 4800 Haney Road, Vernon, B.C. V1H 1P6.
Funeral arrangements have been made with Bethel Funeral Chapel Ltd., 5605 27th Street, Vernon, B.C. V1T 8Z5 (250) 542-1187.