Margaret Roach was born Mary Margaret Elizabeth to Frank and Mary Beatrice Howland on October 26, 1921 in St. John New Brunswick. She was the middle child of five children - 2 brothers, Burns and Evan who have predeceased her and 2 sisters – Eleanor and Ruth who still live back East. Of course the most significant person in this world was her husband Winston James Roach. When Margaret spoke of the good times with Bud she would often refer to him as “my Buddy” and at those certain moments every married couple has he was simply “Bud!” Margaret often told of how Bud loved to tease here because he knew how to get her goat and could get her going.
Margaret faced the challenges of being a military wife for the combined 31 years that Bud served as an MP and ordinance supply officer. (I’m told ordinance refers to all supplies except food and fuel.) At home, Margaret supervised both ordinance and food to daughter Margie and son Malcolm – with a stint of working at Eatons too. Together Margaret and Bud lived their entire married life on the East Coast and retired together in Halifax - 1969.
In 1986, son-in-law Brian was transferred and he and Margie moved to Victoria. Margaret came for a visit in 1987 and continued to talk about how nice it was here until Bud announced, “Ok let’s move.” In 1988, these plans were announced in typical Margaret style when she Phoned out to Margie and proclaimed, “You better find us a place to live because we just sold our house and we’re moving out.” This not only put them in a more preferable climate but also close to their pride and joy – granddaughters Lisa and Andrea.
Just as they had been back East, Margaret and Bud were faithful members of their church. They became involved, and eventually members, at Langford Baptist Church and after Bud’s passing, Westside Bible Church was eventually blessed to call Margaret not only a member but a dear sister in Christ.
It wasn’t hard for us to see the kind of woman Margaret had been her whole life. She sure loved children. Whether it was telling them a story in our morning service, or just gazing with that special smile as children ran by her. And so we were excited with her when she became a great grandmother to Matthew and then to Kyra.
We also came to know Margaret for the character that she was. Until I met Margaret I didn’t know it could be a good thing to have so much of something that you had it up the ying yang. Margaret had me trying pork rinds, dulce (a fancy word for seaweed) and a few other interesting things I’ve forgotten for some reason. But there was also a lot of good things to try – things like homemade donuts, new kinds of cookies, and even my first campino candy.
Besides all of that, and many more fun things and times, the most remarkable thing about Margaret was her faith in Jesus Christ and her following of Him. More than once, Margaret would mention to me that she felt burdened for a particular person or couple and was praying for them. Although I couldn’t be specific, I often knew that the people God had laid on Margaret’s heart were going through some tough times and I encouraged her to keep praying. Other times I would call Margaret to pray for me as I responded to new needs or situations that needed to be dealt with.
I also noticed that Margaret had a great ministry of being visited. Margaret often wondered why she was still here – what was her purpose in still being alive. It was clear that even though she couldn’t do all the things she used to do or the things she wanted to, God was not done using her in people’s lives – he just brought them to her. Sometimes I would call for a visit and hear how busy she was visiting others. And then a lot of the time I didn’t even need to call Margaret to check in on here because so many people were giving me running updates on how she was doing.
She loved everyone of her visitors, she loved her church and she definitely loved her family. But recently, Margaret found it harder and harder to recover from colds, flus, the falls she would have from time to time, and the chronic ailments that made everyday life a struggle at times. And though we didn’t want Margaret to leave us we sure didn’t want her to suffer and maybe end up not able to live in her home either
And so on Tuesday when she had her heart attack, as hard as it was, we had to let her go and pray that God would take her home instead of remaining and suffering. God answered those prayers – and more importantly gave Margaret the desire of her heart. Though our lives are poorer without Margaret in them anymore, she is richer for having received all that God promised her in Jesus Christ.
I want to share with you something funny that happened to me yesterday. Its just the kind of thing that Margaret and I would have had a laugh over. Yesterday, I went to the bank machine to transfer some money from my chequing account to my visa card. After pushing the ok button to approve the transaction, I reached for my receipt to check my balance and was surprised to see it was $26,674.79. After one second of euphoria, I gave into the reality that the person before me had left the receipt from their transaction. My receipt came out with the proper balance - $48.28.
I want you to know I’m not sharing that story with you because I want you to know how much I have or don’t have in my account. (Its not my only account anyway.) I’m sharing that because I want to tell you that in our lives, some of the signs that make us think we are rich really aren’t accurate. Margaret knew that.
She didn’t spend her life trying to get rich or lamenting about things she didn’t have. She worked hard, was thrifty, and focussed on other things. She didn’t make having the approval of other people her be all and end all either. Anybody that knew Margaret knew what she thought about things. She didn’t think the way to being important or rich in this world was to kiss up to gain the approval of others.
No, Margaret lived her life for true riches – riches in Heaven. She lived her life after the words of Jesus who said, in Matthew 6:19-21:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."