Jan. 9, 1925 to Jan. 13, 2017
The Editorial Advisory Board of People’s Voice extends our deepest, condolences to the family of our dedicated supporter Margaret Shelton. The family has provided this obituary to share with our readers.
Margaret was the second oldest child of Scottish immigrants. As a child of the dirty ‘30s and having a father who fought in World War 1 at the battle of Passchendaele (he had been gassed and suffered from what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder) her early life was not easy, and she left home at age 15. Mom had been introduced to the Communist Party of Canada at an early age by Comrade Al Heathcoate, a friend of her parents, and she remained a staunch comrade until her death.
Mom met and married Sidney in 1944. He was an intellectual humanist and she was a street-smart communist. It was a good marriage and lasted until Dad’s death in 2007. Mom always said that Sid never did anything he didn’t want to do and he wanted a family. Together they had three children, Linley, Sylvia and Chris. In the early years of their marriage Mom worked at the Owl Drug Store on Hastings Street while Dad attended UBC and obtained his degree in pharmacy. They lived on whatever Mom could “liberate” from the lunch counter at the drug store and veal kidneys (they were cheap). She was never able to eat veal kidneys again!
Education was important for both Mom and Dad, and in the early 1960s Mom decided she wanted to attend King Edward High School (an adult education centre) to obtain her high school diploma. However, when Simon Fraser University opened she was accepted as a mature student even though she hadn’t finished grade 12. She obtained her teaching certificate and worked as a substitute teacher (as they were then called) in Vancouver. During her attendance at SFU she enrolled in a political science course on Marxist theory. She received an A+ in the course and was told by the professor at the final oral exam that she could have taught the course.
Mom first taught full-time on Bowen Island and was then moved to Gibsons, B.C. She had to take early retirement for health reasons. She was able to work with people of all political beliefs. One year she worked on the Miss PNE pageant with Gladys Chong who ran unsuccessfully for the Progressive Conservatives. Maybe it brought back memories of when she was “Miss Hungary” at a labour picnic!
Both Mom and Dad worked for what they believed in. Mom was a member of the B.C. Peace Council and was barred from entry to the U.S. Both Mom and Dad worked in their community, Grandview/Cedar Cottage in Vancouver, on projects that benefitted both the community and its residents. Dad and others were instrumental in the creation of the Grandview Community Centre (now the Trout Lake Community Centre). Mom was part of the Vancouver mailing crew for the People’s Voice. She organized and obtained a federal grant for an exercise class for seniors at the Ukrainian Manor on East Pender Street (which she taught for a few years). When a neighbour’s house was on fire she was out the door with blankets. Happily, her three children have followed in their steps.
Mom never waited to be asked to do something. If it needed to be done she was prepared to do it and did it. However. she always taught us “to never ask someone to do anything you’re not prepared to do yourself”. If that situation arose she was always there to complete the task.
Mom and Dad will be remembered by their children and grandchildren, and by those who knew them as people who loved their family and worked quietly for the benefit of their neighbourhood, community and, where possible, the human race. Their work was never done for personal recognition or benefit. It was done because it was the correct thing to do. There should be more people like them in this world.