Margaret Catherine Langan McGroarty
A remarkable and beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend will not grace our presence here again. Peacefully and with family by her side Marg left us Tuesday, May 28, 2019 in her 100th year.
Marg and Herb [Herbert Thomas McGroarty] were married May 17, 1941. They remained true and loving partners for 65 years until his death in December, 2006.
Their marriage was a fruitful one – 11 children: 8 boys and three girls. First were the twins Herb and Bruce, followed by Jerry, Darcy, Maggie, Mark, Deborah, Shawn, Maura, Brian and Kevin. With time, 30 grandchildren were born. In turn, some grandchildren grew up enough to present Marg with 40 great-grandchildren [plus one on the way]. Marg embraced them all.
She also embraced her many friends, offering encouragement, compassion, condolence or just a willing ear to listen while they talked. She’d love to share a glass of wine over conversation, laughter and tears. Several women considered Marg their ‘2nd mother’ since the passing of their first.
Marg was a pioneer for women in business. She assisted Herb for decades with his real estate and mortgage companies. As an entrepreneur, she built a highly successful home and auto insurance firm, which she ran until she sold it on her retirement in her 70s. These accomplishments achieved while raising 11 kids and managing an extraordinarily busy household! Yet she often said she didn’t know how today's women are able to juggle all of their responsibilities.
A devout Roman Catholic, Marg was awarded lifetime membership in the Catholic Women’s League and frequently drafted or edited position papers for the CWL on important social or political issues of the day. She was also a founding member of CASE, which lobbied and ran a white ribbon campaign until their efforts were rewarded by having the federal government raise the minimum age of sexual consent for girls from age 14 to age 16. Many young women gained important legal rights and protections as a result.
As a talented artist, she was eclectic in her paintings, her ceramics and influences. She loved a wide range of Canadian artists from the Group of Seven to Jean-Paul Riopel and the sculptor Sorel Etrog. She worked in oil’s, acrylics, watercolors and collages. She was always shy about her art; the few times she exhibited, her work was well received and even awarded. Her subject matter included wild and rugged or peaceful but often mysterious vistas, varying abstract styles or commissioned pieces. In later years she adopted the name ‘Margaux’ when signing her work. She created her final painting just last week.
Before she was paralyzed for life in one leg by a polio epidemic that swept Montreal in 1947, Marg was an avid sportswoman. Skiing the Laurentians was a favourite winter pastime. Golf in the summer and swimming anytime. Even after the polio, Marg adapted and continued swimming. She took up horse riding and specialized in dressage until her horse stumbled during a competition at the Royal Winter fair which resulted in a broken pelvis for Marg.
Both Marg and Herb were born and bred Torontonians, so after she had ‘recovered’ from the polio, they relocated their family back to Toronto from Montreal. They chose to raise their children in Leaside and to help shape the community into the ideal place for kids that it is today. Accordingly they helped found and develop among the first children’s hockey and baseball leagues in Canada. They helped raise funds for arenas, baseball fields, tennis courts and other facilities that both kids and adults could use and enjoy.
Although hard-working to an extreme themselves, they believed in play, teamwork, and the creativity and discipline that sports encourages. They faithfully attended their own children’s baseball and hockey games, no matter what the hour. Some days you could find them at the hockey rink three different times depending on schedules, a fact very much appreciated by their children today.
Marg was always learning and exercising her mind. She played duplicate bridge with her Grand Master Champion partner through her early 90s. She studied French at social clubs and at York University’s Glendon campus. Always on top of things, she was one of the first to read the biography of Steve Jobs. Drop her in the middle of an animated discussion of ideas and issues, arts and artifacts, and she would manage very nicely indeed, contributing insightful comments.
Following the lean years of trying to feed, clothe, house and educate 11 children, when life became financially easier, Marg became the friend of a long list of charities. She admired the Salvation Army as well as multiple Catholic and other charities. In the process, she supported or ‘adopted’ many kids in countries all around the world. She wanted them to be safe, loved and educated. Over the years she supported dozens of children.
The loss of her husband was Marg’s greatest sorrow. Next was the death of her second daughter,Deborah, from chronic heart and lung illness, followed by the loss of her third son, Jerry, from heart failure and her grandson Patrick, Jerry’s fourth child, from cancer.
Marg never quit. At a recent family gathering one daughter-in-law said how much she admired the fact that Marg never complained about personal things, including needing to use a leg brace and crutches for 70 years. Marg’s reply: “You’ve just got to keep going.”
Visitation is TODAY Thursday May 30, 2 - 9 pm at Heritage Funeral Centre, 50 Overlea Blvd M4H 1B6. Funeral services are Saturday, June 1, 10 am at St. Anselm Church, 1 MacNaughton Rd M4G 3H3. Donations gratefully accepted at CHALICE Canada (chalice.ca). Reception following funeral services will also be at the Heritage Centre.
In your honour, Marg, we will keep going. But we will miss you every day and our love for you will never quit.
Love from your Legacy:
Children & Partners:
Herb, Bruce & Bernice, Darcy & Robin, Maggie, Mark & Carolyn, Shawn, Maura & Lydia, Brian & Marla, Kevin & Nancy
Scott, Melanie, Jason, Shannon, Tracey, Brent, Leigh, Ryan, Jerry, Rob, Chris, Carrie, Jeffrey, Marcus, Ryan, Tara, Jennifer, Kathryn, Elizabeth, Robert, Megan, Dustin, Kyle, Katie-Cowan, Carolyn, Victoria, Patrick, Emily, Hannah
Dylan, Andrew, Alex, Erin, Matthew, Sarah, Allie, Cole, Amanda, Lannie, Jonas, Sophie, Owen, Elise, Macie, Johnny, Jamie, Nathaniel, Lucy, Eleanor, Amanda, Jillian, Hannah, Joseph, Caleb, Madeleine, Mathias, Christian, William, Bodhi, Maya, Roman, Timothy, Madeline, Abigail, Lucille, Robert, Elodie, Emmaline, Macintosh