MARGARET DOREEN (PEGGY) SEED

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MARGARET (PEGGY) DOREEN SEED April 20, 1922 - August 15, 2013 Mother, G'ma, organic gardener, handywoman, renovator, artist, creator Peggy passed away at Toronto East General in the early hours of Thursday, August 15th. She died with dignity and in peace, comforted by those grandchildren, children and caregivers who could make it in time. Defiant until the end, battling a slew of health problems, Peggy spent her final days happily planning her final project: an open house and group art show, designed to showcase her and her family's renovation and artistic talents. The show will go on, but in late September. Peggy joins her loving husband Jack of 68 years, who died in December 2012. She is survived by their four children: Tony, Debby, John and Julia (Will MCIlvride), all of Toronto; five grandchildren: Martin (of Atlanta), Thomas Reyto (Alex), Nick, Catherine Reyto and Jennifer Wilkinson, all of Toronto; and great-granddaughter Makenna Greenland (of Burlington). Peggy's (and Jack's) great luck was to have the devoted caregiver Marissa Gimena for six years, as well as the cheerful Lida Muguerza. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba to the late Nell Bell Hollands Rae and John Jackson, she was the fourth of the original Jackson Five. Peggy was predeceased by siblings Myra (Myo Moore), John H. (Jackie) and Thomas Jackson and Patricia (Patsy Haig) and their respective spouses: Keith, Ginny, Sally and Graeme. The many nieces and nephews of the Jackson/Moore and Seed/Smith clans will find it hard to forget their feisty aunt. Peggy attended Rupert's Land, Gordon Bell High School and the University of Manitoba (Diploma, Interior Design 1938). A lifelong learner, she graduated at age 50 with a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Toronto. As a student, she excelled in gymnastics, badminton and varsity swimming and diving; as a spouse, she took up curling and golf with Jack; and as a senior, she played tennis and bridge with enthusiasm. Peggy and Jack married in Winnipeg in 1944 after meeting in Toronto; lived in Halifax during Jack's years in the Navy, on convoy duty; somehow made ends meet with two young kids while Jack finished at Osgoode and began practising law. Together they designed the first split-level house in Oakville in 1951. There they made many lifelong friends, along with those in Toronto and Meaford from later years. We had trouble keeping up with Peggy. Her life and immense work personified an independent spirit, clarity of purpose, tenacious determination, indefatigable energy and joyful presence. A good conversationalist, she spoke frankly and did not suffer fools gladly: her words in these were one. She upheld the highest aesthetic and moral standards, both in the home and in her art. Not surprisingly, she was her worst critic. What was impressive was to watch as her world outlook kept on evolving. Even at 91, she denounced the exploitation of immigrants and the environment. She longed to visit Cuba "to see what the Cubans have achieved" especially in organic farming. Her many interests ranged from reading and painting to organic gardening and propagating trees; from singing to attending the opera; and from painting theatre props to fundraising for the arts. She volunteered for many organizations (the Crest Theatre, TSO, National Ballet School). Despite her failing health, she continued to attend meetings of the Toronto Herb Society and Current Events Club (both of which she was a longtime member); go to drawing sessions at the Heliconian Club and play bridge weekly with good friends. After blindness robbed her of her driving licence, she relied on John to drive her to countless meetings and medical appointments, accompany her on many shopping sprees and drive her back and forth to Meaford. Maintaining Peggy's (and Jack's) independent lifestyle was made possible by the combined efforts of Debby, Julia and Tony; grandson Thomas and chartered accountants Blair Mackenzie and Kazi Haque; grandchildren Catherine, Nick and Jennifer; and loyal friend Julie Davis. Peggy was an accomplished portrait artist and landscape painter. To her surprise, she placed third in a competition of the International Portrait Society; had portraits chosen for national shows of the Portrait Society of Canada; and earned commissions from organizations, stores and individuals. Indeed, she came into her own as an artist only in her seventies, enjoying ever-growing success selling her works. (At her solo art show in 1998, she sold 80% of 30-odd paintings). Sadly, failing eyesight put a halt to her career. Like her artistic mother, Peggy attended art workshops across North America and Europe, nurturing an independence of spirit and joy in travel. (Both always returned home to their patient husbands). She likewise derived great pleasure in travelling the globe with Jack in their eighties, thus satisfying their mutual curiosity of other people and cultures. In her last years, together with Jack and grandson Nick, Peggy channeled her energy into turning a Meaford-area church into a residence, soldiering on despite her and Jack's many critical health problems. Finishing the church project was Peggy's crowning achievement, aided by the active collaboration of the whole family. They loved the Meaford area, where they spent 40 years restoring farmhouses and barns, building ponds, moving earth and boulders and planting hundreds of trees. The family wishes to thank the kind and prompt attention of Doctors Rewa, Kargel, McKellar, Bin, Carron and Collins, as well as TEGH's staff in Non-Invasive Cardiology, Oncology, and Emergency who knew Peggy and Jack on a first-name basis. We are grateful also to their case managers at the CCAC and Sprint in Toronto and Paramed in Owen Sound. These women's patience and concern were amazing. The funeral is on Wednesday, August 21st, at 11 a.m., at St. James Cathedral (King and Church); interment and reception to follow at Mount Pleasant Cemetery and Visitation Centre. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Peggy's scholarship fund in Interior Design at the University of Manitoba, a publicly funded hospital or library.
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Published in the Toronto Star from Aug. 17 to Aug. 20, 2013
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