We are incredibly fortunate to have had Marg in our lives – she celebrated life with such vivacious energy! Heart rock collector, photographer, hiker, back country skier, consummate hostess, community volunteer, small business owner, devoted friend, exceptional Mom and loving wife - she generously shared her enthusiasm for all that life offered with her family and friends. Exuberant to her core– Marg tipped the scales of her Dad’s motto – “everything in moderation” - to the celebratory side.
Born in Edmonton on January 22, 1937 to parents Dr. Scott and Miriam McLeod, Marg shared her birthday with her older sister Barbara. The McLeod family resided in Coronation, Alberta before moving to Calgary in 1940.
Marg attended Rideau Park School from grades 1 through 9 and graduated in 1955 from Central High School where she was Valedictorian. After graduating from University of Alberta in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts & Science, majoring in Psychology and Sociology, Marg practiced as a social worker and guidance counsellor with Big Sisters and The Provincial Guidance Clinic in Calgary, developing a consciousness for community that would inform her progressive social views. Marg met Garry Connors Johnson at University and they married in 1959. Marg and Garry settled in Calgary where they lovingly raised their three children. They were divorced in 1979. Marg artfully managed this transition, among others, with grace, courage and above all else a healthy sense of humour. Marg was gifted at turning tears into laughter.
In 1982 Marg married Rick Harrop who would be Marg’s inseparable partner for over 37 years. Rick was the patient, devoted husband who lovingly fueled Marg’s smile. Together they were truly a team and brought out the best in each other and those around them. Their love and humour was infectious. Marg and Rick integrated their two families by sharing their mutual love of the outdoors. They enjoyed many years of trips with extended family and friends: hiking in the Rockies and back-country skiing at various mountain lodges. Marg and Rick would travel further afield particularly following Rick’s retirement exploring hidden gems throughout Canada, Europe, China, Borneo, Kenya, South America and the Caribbean.
Marg invested in her family. An exceptionally devoted and caring mom, and later grandmother, she was the first to acknowledge an accomplishment or cushion a fall. Marg possessed a steady guiding hand, a quiet, but firm resolve paired with a strongly articulated value system. You never had to guess what Marg’s views were on any given topic. Yet Marg always found time to share encouraging words of support. She was her family’s greatest champion.
There was so much heart in Marg’s home, a place where family and friends easily came together. Celebrations were colourful, warm and full of life. Her home was an expression of her creativity, love of nature, beauty and elegance.
Marg was an active volunteer with a number of organizations including: Hull Homes, The Glenbow Museum, Reach to Recovery at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, and on the Boards of The YWCA, Fort Calgary, Alberta Children’s Hospital Aids Society and she served along with Rick on the Vestry of Christ Church, Elbow Park. Along with her partner and friend Helga Moll, Marg founded Travois Tours, specializing in curated cultural and historical tours of Calgary and Western Canada.
Marg cherished deep, loving friendships many of which were nurtured from her earliest days in school and university. To all of you, we share in your sorrow and are so grateful for your thoughtful words, delicious meals and genuine support over the past 10 months during Marg’s illness. We also acknowledge with gratitude the generous support of our families, the Pooles, Harrops, Gralls, and Thralls. And we wish to acknowledge the care and oversight of Dr. Michael Slawnych, the Alberta Health Services Palliative Home Care team of Leigh, Nicole, Katie and support from Tricia, Chioma, Jill, Stella, Marta, Jen, and Gurjot of Nurse Next Door. We are grateful for the spiritual guidance and friendship of William and Mary Pike and Anna Greenwood-Lee.
Marg passed away serenely at her home Thursday February 27, 2020. She is survived by her husband Rick, daughter Carolyn Johnson-Grall and son-in-law Etienne Grall, son Peter Johnson and daughter-in-law Erin Thrall, and daughter Pamela Johnson, grandchildren Claire Grall-Johnson, Pierre Grall-Johnson, Olivia Johnson, Gabrielle Johnson, nephews and niece Scott Poole, Susan Poole, Peter Poole and their families. Marg was predeceased by her sister Barbara Poole and brother-in-law John Poole.
A celebration of Marg’s life will be held when public health circumstances permit. If you feel inclined, Marg has designated Indspire, Stephen Lewis Foundation or Canadian Feed the Children by which to remember her.
Marg had a spirit that lifted us all and she would remind us to say something positive to ourselves and look out for one another, especially in these difficult times.