Margaret Irene Tufts (nee Latimer) from Boissevain, Elgin, Souris and then Boissevain again, passed away on January 10, 2023 at the Westview Lodge. Mom passed away peacefully with family right beside her. She was born on January 6, 1928 across the town of Boissevain at 513 Cook Street where her grandmother lived. She managed to see her 95th birthday but was not really well enough to enjoy it, as she passed away four days later.
Margaret’s parents were Wilford and Emma (Hammond) Latimer who lived NW of Boissevain in the Caranton District right beside where the school was situated years later. This was on NW 28-3-20, which was where mom’s grandparents homesteaded in 1881 before the name Boissevain existed. It was Cherry Creek then and is still farmed by the Latimer’s to this day which mom was proud of.
Mom grew up on this farm with her brother Calvin (Dorothy) Latimer, Ida (Don) Chambers, William (Elaine) Latimer. From the farm they were able to walk to Caranton School where they all went to school up to grade eight, then they had to move on to Boissevain High School. Mom used to ride the horse “Babe” into town and leave it in the small barn at 513 Cook Street where her grandmother Margaret (Henderson) Latimer lived. From there she walked up to the big school.
After graduating from high school mom went to Winnipeg to Normal School (teacher training) along with her friend Irma Shorey (later Irma Spratt of Elgin) where they graduated as teachers in 1947. From there mom got a teacher job at Cheval, north of Morden and then onto Elgin where I guess she met Jack Tufts.
Mom and dad were then married November 17, 1951 where they lived on the SW 1/4 16-5-21. This was four miles south of Elgin where they farmed until 1983, then they moved to Souris in 1987.
While on the farm south of Elgin, three children were born. James in 1952, Phyllis in 1954 and Stephen 1963. Jim married Val Armstrong and that was the start of the grandchildren. Daniel (Mandy), Sarah (Cory), Brenda (Troy) and Jeff (Sara). Phyllis married Richard Armstrong and they had Kimberley, Ben (Trina) and Todd. Steve married Lisa Dorrell and they had Hannah (Jarrett) and Lucas. Mom was also very proud of her 18 great grandchildren.
While at the farm mom spent an unreal amount of time planting and hoeing trees around the yard which she continued doing after moving to Souris. At first this was all done by hand but in 1967 dad bought her a garden tractor with a rotor tiller on it, which she wore three engines, and three tillers out on doing the trees and garden with.
She had a huge garden at the farm full of apple trees that she would literally work at until she dropped. The 12 apple trees and garden could not have a weed anywhere and every apple that fell off had to be picked up and used for something like juice or applesauce, apple leather, apple pie or dried. Nothing could be wasted.
This work was fit in between mealtime, which was a number one priority of moms. The family hired men which all had to be fed and you better not be late for dinner. Meals were never just a sandwich it was a three-course meal, which almost everything came from the garden. This was true for the meals she took to the fields in the half-ton truck. No paper plates or plastic cutlery, everything was the same as we used in the house.
After moving to Souris, her large garden there just wasn’t up to her standards, so she made dad haul black topsoil to Souris in the back of his half-ton truck from the farm at Elgin. Then it was some good.
I do not know how they did it but they did spend one night a week square dancing with the Elgin Whitewater Whirlers in the wintertime where they had lots of friends. This led them on a square dancing trip to Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, China and Japan. There was also square dancing on Saturday nights, somewhere a carload or two would go to.
On the farm they never really had time to do much camping but after moving to Souris they did have more time for it and did a bit of traveling, but never for too long as there was always work to do.
Mom kept an absolutely spotless house, but her main focus was on food. Growing up as a kid, food was often scarce and mom never forgot that. Ham bones, chicken bones, apples, raspberries, strawberries and anything else that came from the garden was put to good use, never wasting anything. The house in the summer time was always boiling hot inside from stuff boiling on the stove all day long. I do not know how she did it.
She never wasted a minute; she had scrapbooks full of newspaper articles, which are precious to look back on now. She did a calendar every year with all the important birthdays, anniversaries and dates; she tried to do it up to the last year.
Mom never had time for her own kids while we were growing up because she was always working so hard but she did have more time for the grandkids. Unfortunately the same thing happened to us when we took over the farm. Mom and dad did try to go camping with the grandkids as much as they could and never missed a grandchild’s birthday, graduation or anniversary and even kept a book with gifts given to the grandkids. Family and grandkids were everything to her.
After finding their house in Souris too hard to live in, mostly because of dad’s stroke they moved to Victoria Park Lodge which they both said was not going to be their last stop. This turned out to be true for both of them, both moving to a personal care home later on.
Mom was predeceased by her parents Emma and Wilford Latimer, both brothers Calvin and William (Bill) Latimer two days apart in March of 1982, sister Ida Chambers, sister in law Elaine Latimer, husband Jack Tufts, son James Tufts, and grandson Daniel Tufts. Mom found all deaths hard to take, so all friends and relatives that I have not mentioned was very sad and upsetting to mom. She did not like others passing on, but in the end that is what she wanted to do herself.
Funeral service was held at St. Paul’s United Church, Souris, Manitoba on Monday, July 3, 2023. Private interment in the Elgin Cemetery. In memory of Margaret, donations may be made to the Westview Lodge Personal Care Home Boissevain, Manitoba or to St. Paul’s United Church Box 899 Souris, Manitoba R0K 2C0.