October 30, 1934 – November 10, 2020
Margery Helen Berger passed away peacefully on November 10, 2020 in Vernon Jubilee Hospital at the age of 86. Margery was married to Theodore McDonald Berger for sixty-six years. Theo passed in May.
They are survived by four children, Mark, Paul (Anne), Heather (Bill), Bruce (Fiona), one brother-in-law Thomas (Beverly), six grandchildren Chad, Devin (Jacquie), Brooke (Lev), Paige (Emin), Bailey and Carter, four great-grandchildren Alexus, Mya, Cameron and Landon.
Born in Nelson, BC, on October 30, 1934, to Alexander Dunsmore and Wilhemina Louisa Broad Hawkins Dunsmore, Margery was the youngest of three children. She grew up in the Kootenays, and in the early 1950s she met Theo. After a whirlwind romance, Margery and Theo married in December 1953. The wedding included a live band who played “Margie” at every opportunity much to the delight of the bride and groom.
Margery spent some time training to be a hairdresser in Vancouver, and although she never worked in a hair salon, she was proud that she could cut and colour her own hair and provide family members with impromptu haircuts.
In the late 1950s, Margery learned to ride a bike and drive a car. If you have ever tried to learn a new skill as an adult, you know that this is no easy feat.
In the early years of their marriage, Margery and Theo moved around a lot as they followed Theo’s career as an electrical engineer with Westinghouse, BC Power Commission and BC Hydro.
They spent time in Hamilton, Ontario before they returned to BC, where they lived in Victoria, Smithers and Prince George.
Theo and Margery eventually settled in Vernon, BC. Margery was a devoted mother doing all the myriad things required to raise four children: getting kids to school and to sporting activities among other things.
Margery was also very generous with her time. In the late 1960s and 1970s, she volunteered countless hours with the Vernon Kokanee Swim Club judging stroke and turn, driving kids to and from swim meets and working behind the scenes with record keeping.
Margery’s youngest son, Bruce, often recalled how instrumental his Mother’s involvement and encouragement were for him to pursue his swimming to the highest level possible even though it meant him leaving home at a young age.
Margery and Theo took their kids swimming, sailing, camping, fishing and water skiing, especially in the Kootenays and on Okanagan Lake. Meanwhile, many winters were passed skiing with the family on Silver Star Mountain.
Margery and Theo were early pioneers of the fitness boom. They both enjoyed jogging and cycling. They always had at least a couple of the latest pieces of fitness equipment and rather than just being dust collectors they actually used the equipment. Margery’s most current favourite was an Elliptical machine which she was still using the week she went into hospital.
Margery was a dedicated lobbyist for Non-Smoker’s rights. This involved writing numerous letters to government, retail head offices and banks informing them of this organization. She was very proud of her involvement in this group, and so was her family. All of this lobbying was performed with pen and paper – no email at that time.
As she grew older, Margery became an avid traveller. Over the years, she and Theo took international trips to Australia, Fiji and the UK as well as numerous trips around North America in their 5th wheel trailer. From the 1980s-2000 they spent the winters in Yuma, Arizona where Margery spent many afternoons riding on the back of Theo’s motorcycle in the desert.
Margery was a devoted grandmother and great grandmother. She was very proud of all the various accomplishments of her six grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Margery gave willingly of her time, she was the “number one fan” for all of her grandchildren. Attending swimming lessons, riding lessons, hockey games, plays, dance recitals, band concerts and any other event that happened to be occurring.
All of her grandchildren remember summer days spent at the lake with Margery drawing, singing and swimming, as well as the visits that came later in life, catching up with chatty grandma.
Margery was a keen hockey fan with a lifelong love of the sport that began with hand-writing sweepstakes tickets for the Nelson hockey team with her Father in the 1940s. She regularly attended the Nelson Maple Leaf games.
Margery did have the thrill of hearing her youngest grandson Carter, drafted by the Florida Panthers in the 2019 NHL Draft. Upon reflection in recent years she always marveled that it would have been so wonderful for her Father to have been able to watch the hockey that is available today.
Margery was a lifelong artist with a keen eye for detail. She always had a painting underway. She was a talented seamstress, sewing clothes and costumes for herself and her family. Meanwhile, she also, more than anyone, kept an extensive photographic record of her family.
Margery was fiercely independent. A couple weeks prior to her passing she had passed the test to have her driver’s license renewed. Over the years she had really embraced technology and was always quick to recommend her latest Netflix show or shoot her grandkids a text, emojis and all. Most of all though, Margery was a devoted companion to Theo.
The impact of the life and legacy that they built cannot be understated and it lives on in their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Margery’s family will miss her so much, but we take comfort that she is now reunited with her Theo.
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