Margaret Shwaga of Athabasca, Alberta passed away peacefully at the Athabasca Extendicare on Saturday, January 2, 2021 at the age of 101 years old.
Margaret was born in Athabasca on July 10, 1919 to Wasyl and Magdalene Kowalchuk and was one of nine children. She had 6 brothers and 2 sisters.
She grew up north of Athabasca and attended school until Grade 7. She then had to stop her education to help look after and raise her younger siblings due to her own mother’s declining health.
On June 26, 1948, she married the love of her life, Bill Shwaga. The very next day they moved to their homestead north of river on the Calling Lake Highway. They were inseparable for 34 years working alongside each other on the farm which, at that time, included cattle, pigs and chickens. Together, they raised two sons and one daughter. After Bill passed in October 1982, Margaret continued to actively farm 5 quarters of land and raise cattle with the assistance of her two sons for the next 37 years. She farmed until her health declined in April 2019, just 3 months short of her 100th birthday. She was a true pioneer!
Margaret’s passion was to always be a nurse; however, not being able to pursue this dream, she dedicated and devoted her time throughout her life to her family and the friends she met along the way. It did not matter who you were or where you came from, she would accept you for whoever you were, made sure you were shown kindness and affection, and made sure you were fed and did not go away hungry.
Her favourite past time was her garden and flowers. Never a year would go by that she did not have an amazing garden with an overabundance of vegetables and beautiful flower gardens. In addition, she loved to read, keep up with current events and have friends and family drop in for coffee.
Upon moving to Extendicare, her most favourite activity was Fun & Fit Activities because it continued to keep her active.
Margaret will be dearly missed by her: Sons Gene (Mabel) Shwaga, Ken Shwaga; Daughter, Louise (Daniel) Jewell; grandchildren Lisa Jewell (Aaron), Bryan (Teresa) Jewell, Nichole (Craig) Kuffa; great-grandchildren Lydia, Meredith, Natalie, Ellie; sister Mary Gislason; sister-in-laws Annie Kowalchuk, Violet Kowalchuk, Mary Schwaga; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Rossouw and the staff at Athabasca Extendicare for excellent care. The stories you shared after mom’s passing were heartwarming and comforting knowing she was well-loved by all the staff there. Thank you, also, to those that took time to visit mom on the farm and while she resided at Extendicare. And a special thank you to Margaret’s sister, Mary Gislason, for the dedication and devotion you showed Margaret every Wednesday to accompany her to attend mass and to her sister-in-law, Mary Schwaga, for visiting her regularly and reminiscing about old times.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her memory to the Athabasca Extendicare Residential Fund.
Friends and family are invited to pay their respects at the Athabasca Community Chapel on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, between 5:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M. A small family funeral will be held on Thursday, January 7, 2021 (COVID Restrictions).