Obituary: Margaret Rose Koski, 1942-2011
Margaret Rose Koski was born in Sucker Creek Aug. 8, 1942 and passed away unexpectedly in Sucker Creek Feb. 12, 2011, at the age of 68 years.
Margaret was born to Sam “J.B.” Willier and Mary Louise Willier. As a survivor of the residential school system, Margaret went on in her life to touch many others in her working career. She had a commitment to the helping and healing professions.
She started her work life in the hospital in High Prairie working as a nurse’s assistant in the operating room and emergency room with Dr. Chris Lewis. Not stopping there she went on to further her education in the 1970s in the counselling areas for families, addictions and crisis services.
Over the years she was employed by friendship centres, court and justice services, provincial and federal corrections and in 1991 incorporated MM Consulting and began doing contract work developing and delivering cultural programs.
As well, Margaret worked hard as a teacher of the Cree language and culture. She recorded that she learned from her grandmother that the best thing she could do was to keep speaking her Cree language and teaching the language, “because without the language we would lose the blood of our nation”.
Margaret had the ability to connect with her students of all ages and in her they found not only a teacher but a mentor, encourager and friend.
To properly express Margaret’s early years, perhaps it’s best to quote her recently started memoirs. Margaret mentions “the big old Willier tree” left to stand when her father cleared the land, the log house she was mostly raised in and her chores of barn cleaning and looking after animals with her brothers. Of how they listened to the radio and played their own music. She recognized a way of life that was strong and intact … of “a time when community spirit was strong, and that people had enough to eat and good times were enjoyed”.
However, the day of “going to the mission” came and could not be escaped. She went to the mission school for eight ears – taking harsh lessons from those years who are best completed in her own words: “Life goes on no matter what oppression and putdowns (they) did to me.”
Margaret went on to give birth and raised as best she could two children who she supported from another province. She gave birth to three more children and raised them with their father, Jerry Koski. Margaret and Jerry did their level best, to raise all five of these children and counted all of them as their children. Sadly, Jerry passed away a few short years into the beginning of another generation. Margaret has since seen to grandmothering 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Margaret survived a heart attack in 2006, cancer in 2008, and various other ailments and aging health problems. She was managing her diabetes as best as she could, but was still “stealing” treats, even to the last.
There are many memories of accomplishments, loving kindnesses, enduring faith and thoughtful gestures and actions on her part. We all remembered throughout the years with “Maggie” to not expect to ever see anything we gave her again, because often times she’d have given those things away.
In her last weeks, Margaret took family photos with her sons and daughters, telling them all that she loved them and was dreaming of what she was going to do in the coming months. The morning she passed, Margaret was praying and was reading scriptures sand was quoted as saying, “We’re full, even the fridge is full … actually we’re rich …”
She was blessed to kiss and hug her great-grandson, making deals with him for more kisses next week and left this life complete. She laid her book aside in bed where she was resting and breathed her last.
Margaret is survived by: her sisters Mary Willier, Evelyn Willier-Blyan and Pearl Auger; her brother, Robert Willier; children Brian (Anne) Willier, Charmaine (Kevin) Larsen, Helen Koski, Allan (Ann) Koski, and Robert Koski; grandchildren Jill Gladue-Willier, Drew Willier, April Willier, Brianne Willier, Janine Willier, Chelsea Willier, Lisa Willier, Morgan Willier, Eric Larsen, Chad Larsen, Kaber-Allan Koski, Jordan Koski, Victoria Koski, and Shy-Ann Koski; and great-grandchildren Peter Koski and Jacob Willier-YellowKnee.
She was predeceased by: her sister, Edna Dorothy; and brothers Henry Willier, Fred Willier, and Charlie Willier.