On the passing of Margaret Smitherman, mother of George

(B May 4, 1933 Irene Margaret Wood)


Saturday, November 28

11 AM Visitation

1 PM Service followed by Reception

Armstrong Funeral Home, 124 King Street East, Oshawa, ON (map)



Margaret Smitherman passed away on November 21, 2015 comforted by family at home, only hours after well – wishers celebrated her rich life.  Complications from a brain aneurysm two months ago brought an end to a life fully lived.

Margaret is survived by D’Arcy Kelley her partner of more than 40 years. They have enjoyed a full and active life and this year has been no exception.  They spent five weeks in Costa Rica with their son George Smitherman and 2 of their 10 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. The summertime was filled with getting the garden at their new home just right with many helping hands.

The past two months have been a challenge. Margaret was put at ease by the love and dedication shown to D’Arcy by their daughter Christine Smitherman and her partner Marc Andre Comeau who continue to provide the constant support he requires. D’Arcy is also fortified by the phone calls from their son Michael Kelley of British Columbia and visits from their daughter Chandra Kelley.

In hospital Margaret was nurtured by the frequent bedside companionship of their Daughter Joanne and many visitors including their son Arthur Smitherman and Margaret’s two surviving siblings Doug Wood and Sylvia Thompson and Jack, her husband.  We are grateful to Rohan Handy who facilitated many hospital visits for D’Arcy.

Margaret was born to Jack and Irene Wood and raised with her three siblings in the west end of Toronto.  Her beloved brother John predeceased her.

Margaret worked at Bell Canada and Canlab before marrying Arthur Smitherman in 1955.  In addition to having 4 children in 8 years  (1956 – 1964) Margaret contributed to the growth of the family trucking business where she dispatched trucks and served as the company’s Secretary Treasurer.

In 1964 the family moved to Etobicoke from Keele and Lawrence.  In addition to her work in the home including close supervision of a busy backyard swimming pool and her contributions to the family business, Margaret dedicated herself to community activities serving as a Girl Guide Leader and an Executive in the West Mall Minor Hockey Association where she first met D’Arcy.

Around 1975 Margaret returned to the workforce and rejoined Canlab. Margaret closed out her career in 1992 as the Head of Accounts Payable for Baxter the global hospital supply company that had acquired Canlab.

Throughout her life Margaret pursued a wide sphere of knowledge fueled by curiousity and voluminous reading and a thirst for travel and adventure including canoe trips to Algonquin Park. In the early 1980s Margaret and D’Arcy purchased a 100-Acre Farm atop the Niagara Escarpment near Thornbury, Ontario. Darmarg Farm as it became affectionately knows proved a remarkable setting and their numerous grandchildren delighted in the time they could spend there amongst the 4 wheelers, forest and other wonders of the outdoors. All good days ended with a meal cooked on an authentic wood – burning stove.

For many years after their retirement Margaret and D’Arcy split their seasons between the splendor of Grey County and the open road as they towed a 5th wheel trailer extensively around North America and especially for winters of enduring friendship and activity at the Naples RV Resort.

Margaret was at all times the glue that held the family together and her capacity for forgiveness was thoroughly tested. She always had a plan and the energy to help execute it and she had a grandmother’s pride for her growing brood of grandkids and great grandkids. Her grandmotherly love easily reached to many pets that reached grandkid status.

For every moment of her life our Mother, like her Mother before her, was dedicated to social justice. In her final year she was moved by the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and she was fervently hopeful that it would stimulate long overdue change in the treatment of Canada’s indigenous peoples.