Margaret Alberta Phillips
1931 - 2015
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Respected feminist and social justice advocate, Margaret Phillips, passed

away on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at the Thunder Bay Regional Health

Sciences Centre. Margaret was born on April 12, 1931 to Albert and Daisy

Phillips in Ottawa. When her parents died young, she was supported by loving

family members, her aunt Janet Riley and cousins Margaret and Ruth Fuller,

all of whom have predeceased her. Margaret's first career choice was in the

field of Recreation. She became the first woman in Canada to be appointed an

Arena Manager (Iroquois Falls, (1957-60) and whilst Recreation Director in

Kenora (1960-67), she was elected the first woman President of the Society

of Directors of Municipal Recreation of Ontario. In 1965, the Anishnawbe

Grand Council Treaty #3 formally acknowledged Margaret's efforts, placing

her name on their Honour Roll for her participation in the historic Anti-racism March to Kenora City Hall in that year. From 1971-81 Margaret served as the Executive Director of the Lakehead Social Planning Council, advocating for a wide range of community services including HAGI Transit, the Castlegreen Housing Co-op, and regional daycare programmes. In 1973 she was part of the Collective that founded the Thunder Bay Women's Centre. From 1982-92 she was a member of the Northern Woman's Journal Collective, the 2nd longest-running feminist newspaper in Canada. In 1984 Margaret and Anna

McColl co-founded the Northern Woman's Bookstore, the only remaining woman's bookstore in Canada. In 2008 she was honoured with the Kouhi Award by the Northwestern Ontario Writers' Workshop for her outstanding contribution to writing in Northwestern Ontario. Between 1984 and 1997 Margaret was involved in the work of Inter Pares, a Canadian NGO which works with partner organizations around the world on social justice issues. She helped to shape its deep commitment to the principles of equality and nurturing of women's leadership. Margaret travelled internationally in support of its goals.

Margaret also served as a board member of the Canadian Council on Social

Development and the Ontario Welfare Council. In recognition of her contributions to social justice and to the literary community of Northwestern Ontario Margaret was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Lakehead

University at its Convocation, earlier this year. Margaret could not have

lived an independent life in her final years without the support of

Elizabeth Hutchison, NP and Karen Greenfield, RN at Norwest Community Health Centres (Ogden site) and Louise and Janet from Bayshore. They were trusted and loving caregivers. Terry Fossum, Maryanne Lanktree and Johnny Dampier supported her throughout the years. Dr. T. Czolpinski was more than her cardiologist, he became her advocate and trusted advisor. Margaret is

survived by her great-niece, Patricia Olmsted, resident of Luskville,

Quebec. The members of the Bookstore Collective, the staff, volunteers,

writing and reading group members and women past and present grieve the loss of Margaret Phillips, a guiding spirit. Her legacy is a feminist flame that

can never be extinguished. In accordance with Margaret's wishes a

celebration of her life will take place on January 16, 2016. A notice will

be published when arrangements have been finalized. When asked by the

Northwestern Ontario Women's Centre to give a piece of advice to young

feminists, Margaret recommended "develop your analysis, learn your history

and always keep reading". At the Convocation ceremony for her doctorate she

reaffirmed her view by urging all present to "Read a book - even better,

read a real book".

Online condolences may be made through

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal on Nov. 14, 2015.
Celebration of Life
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Northwest Funeral Alternative
Not sure what to say?
4 entries
January 14, 2016
Margaret was a neighbour, political ally and leader, sister sufferer of heart disease, promoter of feminist and Indigenous literature, a great conversationalist. As a faculty member at Lakehead University, I am so happy that the university honoured Margaret with an Honorary Doctorate. I will miss her.
Peggy Smith
December 1, 2015
My Friend Margaret has passed into the next world. Margaret was a huge supporter of Indigenous women writings. Frances Trowsse and I would go to her bookstore to order books for our classes, as Margaret ensured all books were current, based on social justice and equitable society based. Her presence will be missed. Pat McGuire
Pat McGuire
November 19, 2015
Margaret has left quite a legacy to the community of women, she will not be forgotten. thank you Margaret. My condolences to her friends & family.
Linda Belleau
November 19, 2015
Margare Phillips had such a huge effect on my teaching at LU. Before each semester I would meet with her and revoew international fiction in preparation for an essay assignment for my into to women's studies classes. With her help and conversation we were able to extend our study of gender well beyond the narratives of middle class north america. She was insightful and passionate and funny. I could not have asked for a better mentor/colleague. Rest in peace Margaret, at least until we need a kick in the pants to get out and organize!
Maureen Ford
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