ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of Margaret Willetta Clarke who passed away gently and peacefully at the age of 91 at the AgeCare Glenmore home in the loving presence of two of her children, Terry and Catherine. We will remember her forever. Please feel free to share any stories or pictures to help us celebrate her life.
Posted by Helen Brown on February 20, 2021
Just after Alberta Gold Sweet Adeline Chorus chartered I was persuaded to go to a practice to see what it was like. It was great. Marg was an incredible lady who was a member of the chorus. She was positive and so supportive, even if I was not a baritone. She was a superb member of the chorus and I was honored to have her as a friend. If it had not been for her and Don I don't believe the chorus would have come into existence. I am still a member of the chorus and I will never forget the remarkable couple of barber shoppers Marg and Don were. My life is blessed because of them. Rest in Peace.
Love,
Helen Brown
Posted by Willa Miniely on February 20, 2021
During her time at Glenmore Agecare home, I enjoyed several visits with Margaret. I recall that she carried herself with dignity and humility, and her quiet inner peace was apparent. I know this lovely lady will be missed and remembered with great fondness.
My sincere condolences to her family,
Willa Miniely, Granddaughters Personal Care
Posted by Judy Wilson on February 19, 2021
We have many happy memories of singing in the Alberta Gold Sweet Adeline Chorus, and the "Goldiggers" for many years. Marg and Don were so appreciated and respected - Don for his superb leadership as Director and coach, and Marg for setting very high standards for the choruses. She was always willing to mentor choristers to meet those standards. Their wonderful hospitality for countless rehearsals was always very much appreciated. 

Thank you, Marg.

Love from,
Judy and Ina
Posted by Jan Joynt on February 19, 2021
My sincere sympathy to all your family. I helped the Diggers at one point for a few weeks and they gave me a beautiful tennis bracelet , that is a real treasure for me. I love your tribute to Marg, and the Zoom funeral is a great idea at this time.
Blessings on all of you.
Jan
Posted by Dallas Loschuk on February 18, 2021
On behalf of Alberta Gold Chorus, I want to say how saddened we were to learn of Marg passing away. I didn't know her personally, as I joined Alberta Gold in the late 90's, but I heard many wonderful things about her and Don. I was pleased to meet them both when Alberta Gold had our 25th reunion in 2009 and I took a few pictures of them, which I posted.

With their dedication to the development of barbershop harmony in the Calgary community, Marg and Don were instrumental in the 'birth' of Alberta Gold Chorus, which chartered in 1984. Many members directly benefitted from Marg's leadership, her talent, experience and kindness. Her memory will live on, as the chorus continues to enjoy the friendships, thrill in the harmony, and share it all with audiences in and around the city.
Posted by Kathy Tumack on February 18, 2021
I sang with Marg in Alberta Gold, under Don's direction, and was honoured to be one of the original Gold Diggers. I have great memories of our shared love of harmony, the faithful attention to learning and rehearsing, the hilarious adventures in performing, and the all-out fun the experience brought us all. I will especially remember Marg's warm and ready smiles of encouragement.

I will remember, with utmost respect, the legacy they both left to the barbershop community with their talent, skill and leadership.
Posted by Jennifer Laux on February 18, 2021
On behalf of Chinook Winds I extend our sympathy and sadness that her voice has been silenced.  Please pass our condolences to Marg's family.
I did not personally know Marg Clarke, but I will pass the information to the chorus. Some experienced (long-time) members will likely remember her.
In harmony,
Cynthia
Chinook Winds Show Chorus      
Posted by Andrea Cole-Haskayne on February 18, 2021
I first met Margaret and Don attending functions put on by the barber shoppers. Dad (Lovel Cole) sang with Don in the Stampede City Chorus.  We travelled to many conventions and had a great time.  When I was old enough to sing with the Sweet Adelines, I joined Alberta Gold as a lead and eventually Marg lured me over to the baritones. She was a great mentor and section leader. My sister (Jennifer Laux) and Mom (Violet Cole) also had many special moments with Marg and Don in Alberta Gold.

Eventually Marg and Don put together the Gold Diggers to sing at functions where we couldn’t have the entire chorus. We had many memorable times and adventures together. One of my favourite was having the Gold Diggers sing at my wedding.

Marg was so caring, offering encouragement and support when needed, and always making sure everyone was having a good time. Margaret (stage name ‘Margaret, she’s hard to get!’) was very musically talented and enjoyed sharing her knowledge of barbershop harmony with all. She was a great performer and will be missed.

Andrea (stage name ‘Andy ain’t she Dandy’)
Posted by Wendy Rudolph on February 17, 2021
I am saddened to hear that my dear friend Marg has passed away but 91 is a grand age. I first met Marg and Don when my friend asked me to go to a chorus rehearsal with her. I knew nothing about barbershop harmony and less about choruses but I loved to sing. Don was the chorus director and Marg was the baritone section leader. That night at Alberta Gold Chorus marked the beginning of many many years of harmony with Don & Marg and my friends in the chorus, the Gold Diggers and of course, our quartet. For a long time their home was a second home to so many of us - the Gold Diggers and quartet practiced at their house. Tea was always on. Don was reknown for his perfect pitch and I'm sure he cringed in the background at times but always offered positive feedback. Marg retreated into her memories several years ago and I hope those singing days were among them. She is with her beloved Don now. My condolences to all the family. Boom Boom (she will know what I mean).
Posted by Jennifer Laux on February 16, 2021
It was back in 1982 when I was a teenager and couldn’t WAIT to join the Sweet Adelines and sing baritone, that I first met Marg Clarke. My dad (Lovel Cole) had to drive me to rehearsals, as I didn’t yet have my driver’s license. Marg was an awesome baritone, and she was my mentor!! She had many years of experience and loved sharing her knowledge with me and others. She was a true role model  She and I are charter members of "Alberta Gold Chorus"! Her & Don were all about singing...and singing barbershop harmony.

She was also the founder of the Gold Diggers. The Gold Diggers were formed from members of the Alberta Gold Chorus. A smaller group was needed to be able to perform at sing-outs & other functions when the entire Alberta Gold Chorus was unable to do so…and so, the Gold Diggers was formed. Each person in the group had a stage persona name (“Margaret Is Hard To Get”), and would be introduced something like this …”and here are the girls from the 1920s …” Regular practices were held at the home of Marg & Don Clarke, and she was always about hospitality, ensuring everyone felt welcome – I loved having tea after each practice to chat! Marg’s commitment & dedication to the art of barbershop 4-part harmony singing is truly an inspiration that lives on in so many people, myself included. Thanks for the musical passion and love of barbershop harmony Marg, for your laughter and your friendship….I know you’re now singing with the other great “Heavenly Harmonizers” and loving it

Sincerely in deepest sympathy to your families,

Jennifer Laux (nee Cole)
Posted by Sally and Nick Stasuik on February 16, 2021
Margaret was an elegant lady, full of warmth and charm! She will be missed. Once again joined with her husband Don, may they rest in peace. God's blessings.
Posted by Catherine Clarke on February 15, 2021
I remember sitting at the kitchen table with Mom, Dad, Aunt Madge and Uncle Earle playing wizard. We had a wonderful time. Mom and Dad took wizard with them on their travels.
Posted by Terry Clarke on February 14, 2021
Mom and Dad are finally re-united.
Posted by Barb Clarke on February 12, 2021
I will always remember Aunty Marg as my fun loving Aunt. Running around hers and Uncle Dons house as kids, sleepovers, family travel. She always had a smile and a kind word. I will miss her very much. My thoughts are always with Susan, Cathy and Terry and family.
Love always
Barb
Posted by B Clarke on February 12, 2021
Remembering Margaret as a lovely woman, warm, kind, and always interested in and supportive of her children and grandchildren throughout the years. Couldn't ask for a better mom-in-law. She will be missed.
Posted by Alix Clarke on February 12, 2021
I will always remember Grandma for her loving and kindness. My strongest memories are of yummy Christmas dinners, going to the pool with her and Grandpa, and playing board games in their living room. I'm grateful Grandma was able to meet her great grandson Kai last Christmas. Her legacy continues on in our family.

With love,
Alix Clarke

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Helen Brown on February 20, 2021
Just after Alberta Gold Sweet Adeline Chorus chartered I was persuaded to go to a practice to see what it was like. It was great. Marg was an incredible lady who was a member of the chorus. She was positive and so supportive, even if I was not a baritone. She was a superb member of the chorus and I was honored to have her as a friend. If it had not been for her and Don I don't believe the chorus would have come into existence. I am still a member of the chorus and I will never forget the remarkable couple of barber shoppers Marg and Don were. My life is blessed because of them. Rest in Peace.
Love,
Helen Brown
Posted by Willa Miniely on February 20, 2021
During her time at Glenmore Agecare home, I enjoyed several visits with Margaret. I recall that she carried herself with dignity and humility, and her quiet inner peace was apparent. I know this lovely lady will be missed and remembered with great fondness.
My sincere condolences to her family,
Willa Miniely, Granddaughters Personal Care
Posted by Judy Wilson on February 19, 2021
We have many happy memories of singing in the Alberta Gold Sweet Adeline Chorus, and the "Goldiggers" for many years. Marg and Don were so appreciated and respected - Don for his superb leadership as Director and coach, and Marg for setting very high standards for the choruses. She was always willing to mentor choristers to meet those standards. Their wonderful hospitality for countless rehearsals was always very much appreciated. 

Thank you, Marg.

Love from,
Judy and Ina
her Life

A Brief History...

After growing up in Olds, Alberta, Margaret moved to Calgary as a young woman and studied at secretarial school. She met Don, her lifelong partner and best friend, in Calgary where they married, worked and raised their family. Margaret and Don shared a passion for music, singing, travel and most of all, their family. Margaret was a long-time member of Sweet Adeline’s and sang with Chinook Winds and Alberta Gold as well as in many quartets and the Gold Diggers ensemble.

A Loving Family...

A devoted and loving wife, mother, and grandmother, Margaret will be missed and remembered by her three children, Catherine Clarke, Terry Clarke (Barbara), and Susan Clarke, her three grandchildren Jason, Alix, and Molly, her great grandson Kai, her sisters-in-law Madge Clarke and Mavis Bush, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Margaret was predeceased by her devoted husband of 61 years, Don in 2014, and by her three brothers Glen, Malcolm, and Willard.
Recent stories

Some memories from Donna Lonie

Shared by B Clarke on February 21, 2021
Thank you to each of the family for the songs, words and memories of both your mother and father. What you shared truly honoured them. Even as someone who has been out of touch with you for a long, long time I could laugh and cry at the scenes that were brought back to mind. As a teenage girl who frequented your home as a friend of Susan’s, I felt very welcomed by everyone. Mrs Clarke (as I called her back then) had such an endearing smile and sense of humour. Sometimes if Susan and her Mom weren’t agreeing on something, Mrs Clarke would try to get me on her side so I could persuade Susan to agree.
It was always fun to hear the music in the house. Kindly, I was taken along to a concert or two - even a retreat to Banff. It was a whole new world for me.
I have a memory of watching ice skating with your Mom. She was enjoying it so much and helping me understand the judging rules. Not sure where Susan was. Perhaps I dropped in unexpectedly when she was out but Marg just invited me to join in anyway.
All in all your Mom was a real class act and the loveyour parents shared was precious. You are privileged to be their children (and grandchildren).
Praying you will know God’s peace and comfort.


Lyrics "Careless on the Ground" - song behind the slide presentation

Shared by Susan Clarke on February 21, 2021
I was asked for the lyrics of my song " Careless on the Ground" which played behind the slide presentation so thought I post here for anyone that might be interested.  - Susan 

Careless on the Ground                                              © Susan Clarke 2012

Another leaf has fallen, careless on the ground
Another tender piece of life has come to rest and breakdown

Hanging on, keeping hold
Then some strong cold wind blows
And you give way, you give way

Its slips between, without a sound
It leaves no trace underfoot, or underground

And the beauty of it all, the beauty of it all
In the fall 

Death defying acts of wonder, scaling heights and free fall
Catch the wind, and sail when the muse calls

Hanging on, keeping hold
Then some strong cold wind blows
And you give way 
You give way

It slips between, without a sound
It leaves no trace underfoot or underground

And the beauty of it all   
The beauty of it all
Is in the fall 

Another leaf has fallen, careless on the ground

Susan's Story of Margaret's Life

Shared by Susan Clarke on February 21, 2021
My Story of Margaret Willetta Bush Clarke

A life can be recorded by facts and dates but it’s the stories we create and share that keep alive the person we’ve loved.
So I’ll speak about some of facts, which are true,  but mostly I want to share some of the stories of my mum,  as they are the truth of who she was to me and who I knew her to be. We all have different stories and knew Margaret in our own unique way. I hope some of you will take the opportunity a bit later to share a story you hold dear about mum.

Margaret Willetta Bush was born on 27 of August, 1929 , the firstborn child of Clara and John Bush. Her siblings Glenn, Willard and Malcolm followed in that order. Mum grew up in the small Alberta town of Olds, in the same house her mother Clara was raised in . It was a  strong Christian family, deeply involved in the community, yet mum’s family was slightly unconventional. Her father, John,  was previously married and a single parent of young Evelyn when he married Clara (who was Evelyn’s piano teacher). With only ten years, between Clara and Evelyn, I imagine Evelyn was l more like a second mum than a sister to my mum. I don’t know that for a fact, but I do know that Evelyn and her family (the Vincents)  were very dear to mum’s heart.

I loved the family gatherings in Olds when the Vincent cousins could join us as they brought along their huge sense of humour … there was always a lot of laughter. Our family gatherings always involved singing around grandma’s grand piano with grandma playing and everyone singing lots of harmonies. Music has always been a centre piece of the Bush/Clarke family. 


1936 was a year of both joy and heartbreak for mum’s family, the joy of Evelyn’s marriage and the sorrow of the tragic death of mum’s younger brother, Glenn, at age five. Mum would have been almost seven, Willard, 3  and Malcolm just a baby. It’s hard to imagine what effect losing Glenn had on the family, especially on Grandma.

One of the childhood stories about mum that became legend for me was of an 8 year old girl breaking her arm. My memory of the story was that mum was playing with friends and thought she’d try out the Mary Poppin’s technique, so she jumped off the roof of the Victoria Hotel’s Ice House holding an umbrella, thinking it would guarantee a soft landing. Needless to say, it didn’t and mum’s broken arm made the news in the local paper.  (imagine a world where a child’s broken arm makes the news!) 

I did wonder if the Mary Poppins part of the story was just a figment of my imagination, but I did  a bit of research and Mary Poppins was first published in 1934 – which makes my account at least plausible.

After school , mum moved to Calgary and studied at secretarial college. She shared a flat on 5th avenue with another young woman, where mum did all the cleaning and her house mate  did all the cooking. This might have worked well for mum then but when she married my dad, 1953, she found herself in new territory. My dad’s mum was a fabulous cook, so expectations were high … I remember mum telling me she buried a lot of dinners in the backyard in the early days of their marriage. 

Don and Margaret met at First Baptist Church, in Calgary, both members of the church choir, where they shared a love of singing which continued throughout their marriage. Mum was a dedicated member of the Sweet Adelines and sang in the Chinook Winds and Alberta Gold choruses, as well as with  numerous quartets and the Gold Diggers group (which my dad directed). 

Despite the fact that mum was a quite shy and accommodating person, she surprisingly thrived on stage and loved performing as you’ll see in some the slide show photos. Once all her children were in past the primary school age, Mum worked as a secretary at Mount Royal college for number of years. One of mum’s unusual forays, despite being an introvert, was when she took a job as a tour guide taking busloads of Canadians down to Las Vegas … not the kind job for the faint hearted. I think mum enjoyed herself on these trips but the job didn’t last long as it took her away from home, dad and us kids for too long. 

By nature, Margaret was a very creative person. She loved to explore and learn new things, she was an expert knitter and made some gorgeous knitted suits in the 50’s and 60’s. She painted, had a long interest in ceramics and crafts like needlepoint &  hooked rugs. Our house was full of her projects!

But Mum’s strongest passion was her love for my dad, Don Clarke. They both were devoted to each other. Their love of family, music and travel shaped the life they created together.

Margaret and Don had three children; their firstborn, my sister Catherine just a little over a year after they married, my brother Terry,  18 months later and surprise, four years later on February 19th … me!  Happy Birthing Day mum. Mum was a very tiny woman who made very big babies!  And her doctor advised  no more children after Terry! But surprise, there I was and here I am.

Mum and dad travelled extensively with Madge and Earle Clarke- dad’s brother and sister-inlaw and their dear friend Joyce Spence. It was a long-lasting travelling team but often quite perplexing as the couples were like the old couple! Mum and dad loved late nights, woke late in the morning, were very cruisy about plans; Madge and Earle were the complete opposites – woke bright and early, went to bed early, like to get organised and had very specific things they wanted to do each day. Somehow, they made it work! My sister Catherine lived with mum and dad most of her life and was very close to mum. Catherine was there for mum and dad as they aged and it was a great relief to me as lived so far away. The love between Catherine and mum was a source of joy and support for both of them. Catherine often joined mum and dad on their travels, particularly on their numerous trips to Australia. I was very lucky that my mum was always keen to hop on a plane and instigate a trip to see me as often as possible.

I have so many memories of mum … it’s been very difficult to figure out what NOT to say. 

So I decided to make at list … which is hilariously because it’s exactly what mum always did! She loved lists and so do I, so does my daughter, Molly.

Here’s my list:

  • Mum lost most of her hair after I was born … and still she loved me!
  • I scared her to death when at the ripe age of five,  I played hooky from kindergarten and instead went to the playground with my 4 year old friend, Patty  … neither of us telling anyone where we were going. We had a great afternoon!  … but not when we got home to find my mum totally distraught and in tears and the police at the door.  
  • I broke her heart twice … well two times that I’m prepared to own up too! Once when I casually called her on the phone from Vancouver to tell her I got married the previous weekend! And she still continued to love me! The other was when I told her I was moving to Australia and still continued to she love me!
  • For years mum ended all our phones between Canada and Australia asking  two questions: “are you thinking of coming home?” And “do you need any money?”  Eventually she stopped asking one of those questions!
  • Mum and I shared a love of the arts, for swimming, list making, escapes to the mountains, singing and for each other. 
  • Mum’s love was steadfast, unwavering and unconditional. She loved her children, encouraged and supported them no matter what they did or didn’t do.  
  • My friends loved my mum … they felt so welcome by her and that  she was genuinely interested in them … which she was.
  • Mum adored her grandchildren and loved spending time with Jason and Alix, attended all their concerts and performances of which there were plenty! And the surprise grandchild, Molly … who popped into her life late in the day and brought so much delight and joy. 
  • Mum’s happy place was in the mountains, holidaying in their trailer! It was the one clash between my parents that was only ever resolved when they were living away in the trailer. My mum hated mess and clutter and my dad couldn’t throw anything away. In the trailer you could only have what you needed and everything had its place. 
My list could go on and on and it will in my thoughts and memories.

I would love to end things here but I think it’s important to acknowledge the difficult parts of life, not many of us escape without experiencing hard things, and mum certainly didn’t. 

In 2009, I got a call from my sister, Catherine, telling me I needed to come home from Australia, things with mum weren’t good.  And I did. My dad and I took my mum to her family doctor for a memory test, which she failed. It was heartbreaking to watch … by the end of the 20 minute interview mum had her diagnosis  - dementia.  

In the following years we watched this terrible disease steal mum’s memory and mind. Dad and my sister Catherine, with the help of live-in care workers, looked after mum at home with devotion. My brother, Terry and sister-in law, Barb also played a huge part in caring for mum. It took a toll on everyone one but it was most difficult for my dad and my sister, Catherine. After my dad died in 2014, mum went into long-term care at the Glenmore, where she lived for another seven years.

Finally, mum is  free, which is such a relief and a blessing and I know she’d more than happy to finally be joining her soul mate, Don.

In closing, I just want to say dementia wasn’t who my mum was … and I never want it to define her life. She was a kind, creative, loyal and loving woman and I‘m eternally grateful to have been her daughter and to have called her my mum.