Margaret Elizabeth Vanderhaeghe Obituary
Margaret Vanderhaeghe was born in Leader, Saskatchewan where she was raised and educated before attending the University of Saskatchewan where she earned an Honours B.A. with a major in History. In 1972 she married Guy Vanderhaeghe and began work as a researcher, first for the Institute for Northern Studies, later for the Saskatchewan Department of Health.
In 1979 she took a radical change of course, deciding to become a visual artist. For the next three decades Margaret was active in the Saskatchewan arts community as a remarkable painter, member of the Shoestring, AKA and Photographers galleries, occasional curator of exhibitions, member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer of CARFAC Saskatchewan, participant in Emma Lake Workshops, and juror for the Saskatchewan Arts Board. She also informally mentored younger and emerging artists, dispensing practical advice and encouragement coupled with a discerning critical judgement.
For Margaret’s contributions to the artistic life of the province she received the Canada 125 Medal in 1992. A documentary on her work appeared in The Artist’s Life Series, which aired on Bravo, and she was the subject of an ARTSask Profile that can be viewed online. She exhibited internationally and her paintings are held in public and private collections in North America and Europe.
Margaret loved to dance "as if nobody was watching," and that’s how she danced through life, entirely to a tune of her own making. Frequently, she would break into full- throated, spontaneous song. She had a vast and eclectic repertoire that ranged from the hymns of her childhood through George Jones, Lotte Lenya, and Kid Rock. She was a film fan, an enthusiastic gardener, an avid reader, and a legendarily tenacious debater with an opinion on everything under the sun. She had a raucous belly laugh, a wickedly black sense of humour, and a nature both fierce and tender. She detested cant and euphemism, preferring to look things straight in the eye. That was how she faced her illness and death, with fortitude, and a limitless gratitude for the concern and kindness shown to her by her friends. She was a good daughter, a doting aunt, a loving sister and friend, and everything imaginable to her husband of nearly forty years for whom Margaret was a peerless companion, wise counsellor, and the love and light of his life.
Margaret was predeceased by her parents Gottlieb and Emma Nagel, her brother Norman Nagel, her sisters Marion Hansen and Valerie Mathison. She is survived by her sisters Janet Steckley, Judith Nagel (Bruce), her brother George Nagel, her husband Guy, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Sincere thanks to Drs. Worobetz, Muller, McKee and the staff of Extendicare who took such gentle care of Margaret.
A celebration of her life will be held at the Saskatoon Funeral Home, 338 Fourth Avenue North on Tuesday, May 29 at 11:00 with a lunch to follow at the Edwards Family Centre.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Margaret’s memory may be made to the Saskatoon Food Bank, 202 Ave. C S, S7M 1N2. Condolences and memories of her should be sent to: [email protected] Arrangements entrusted to Saskatoon Funeral Home, 244-5577.