Obituary: Margaret Keating, 93
Margaret Mary “Peg” Keating (née Garner), passed away peacefully on Feb. 3, 2017, in her 93rd year, in Charlestown, R.I., where she lived after the death in 2014 of Frank, her beloved husband of 66 years.
Dear mother of Kathleen (Rob Gourlay, deceased), Vancouver, B.C.; Judith, Wheaton, Ill.; John (Marilyn), Bluffton, S.C.; Carol, Whitefish Bay, Wisc.; Peter, Charlestown, R.I.; Paul, Fairfield, Conn.; Mary (John McCabe), Hilliard, Ohio. Grandmother and great-grandmother to 28.
Peg was the eldest of four children born in St. Catharines, Ontario, to John Garner and Helen (Phelan). She is predeceased by brother John and survived by sisters Jean Pilla and Lois Sheffe.
Her mother died suddenly of pneumonia when Peg was 12. She and Lois were sent to St. Joseph’s College School, Toronto, where she developed her lifelong gift for making rich and lasting friendships. After graduating at the top of her class she took a war emergency training course in drafting and never forgot her six years as a young woman in the Tool Design Department of McKinnon Industries in St. Catharines. A photograph of herself at her drafting desk hung on her bedroom wall and would bring a smile to her face, almost to the very end. Also on the wall were samples of her own impressive artistic talents.
She met Frank on a blind date. They married in 1948 and lived first in Kitchener, then Owen Sound, Ont., where they raised their seven children. Her life in Owen Sound was full, to say the least. Frank was often on the road all week, and there was little money for babysitters or household help. Still, she found time and energy to serve as a member of the Owen Sound Little Theatre Group, starring in many productions; as President of the Catholic Women’s League and Secretary of Big Brothers.
She had a flair for storytelling and monologues. Her “Little Red Hooding Ride” was a classic. And, in the days before PowerPoint, Peggy prepared all of Frank’s sales presentations with felt pens on poster board, in her elegant hand.
In 1968, Frank’s career took the family to Wilton, Conn., where she became a charter member and President of the Encore Club. Another career move in 1980 took Frank and Peggy to Farmington, Conn., where they discovered a new life at Tunxis Village, in a home for just the two of them. Peggy served for years as board member and President of Services for the Elderly. After Frank retired they enjoyed golf and delivering Meals on Wheels together. When they could no longer live independently in their home, they wholeheartedly embraced their move to The Gables, where they were supported by a wonderful team of caregivers.
Beginning with her mother’s death, Peggy developed a talent for adapting to change and making the best of every situation. Every trip was the “best ever,” and every sky, the “bluest sky ever.” She was stylish, even in small-town Ontario of the 1950s, and she was the life of the party. Her Catholic faith was central to her life, and she lived that faith, in service to her family and her community.
At St. Joseph’s she had learned the joy of poetry and could recite many of her favorites by heart nearly to the end of her life. But that prodigious memory had begun to fail her by the time of Frank’s death and when she could no longer manage, Peter took her to his home in Rhode Island and lovingly cared for her to the end, supported by visits from his brothers and sisters, and by the caring assistance of Roxanne Royality during the past year.
In lieu of flowers, Peggy’s memory may be honored by a contribution in her name to Services for the Elderly, 321 New Britain Ave. Unionville, CT 06085.
Her family will receive friends Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the Carmon Funeral Home & Family Center, 301 Country Club Road, Avon. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10 a.m. at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, 145 Main Street, Unionville. Burial will follow in Riverside Cemetery, Farmington. For directions or condolences please visit carmonfuneralhome.com.