Deh Cho mourns a loss
Margaret Rose Douglas remembered

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (Feb 18/00) - Margaret Rose Douglas, the eldest of eight children, mother of three and co-owner of the Sub-Arctic Lounge in Fort Simpson, died last week of organ failure at the age of 59.

Douglas was mourned Saturday at a funeral that packed Sacred Heart Church in Fort Simpson.

Born in Fort Providence to Angus and Florestine McLeod, Margaret trained and worked as a nurse's aid as a young woman.

In 1959, at the age of 18, she married Terry Douglas and moved to Port Coquitlam, B.C., where they had three children -- Karen, Sam and Robbie. They returned to the North in 1973. She worked at the hospital and upgraded her nursing skills in Yellowknife. Terry purchased the Sub-Arctic Lounge and Margaret took over the business when he passed away in 1982.

"We always felt she was a reluctant entrepreneur, after all she never did learn to drive," her brother Bob wrote in the eulogy.

She was encouraged by a number of friends and relatives to sell the business and try her hand at something else, but she refused, he noted.

"She didn't want to leave Fort Simpson," he said. "It's only fitting that Fort Simpson will be her final resting place."

Margaret, who could often be seen strolling around Fort Simpson with the aid of her walking stick, was also very proud of her Metis heritage and of her status as a Metis elder, according to Bob.

Albertine Rodh, president of Fort Simpson Metis Local 52 and long-time friend of Douglas', said Margaret accompanied her to as many leadership assemblies as she could over the past three or four years. She knew many people, primarily because of her nursing background, said Rodh.

"She had many, many friends ... it's a great loss. I miss her very much. We used to call each other everyday just to chat," she said, adding that they often conversed in French.

Bill O'Rourke, Margaret's confidant, spent the past 17 years with her.

"The time just went by so fast. It was the happiest 17 years of my life I spent with her," he said. "She was the most unselfish person I've ever known. She cared about everybody."

Above all, Margaret was a generous, caring and giving person who didn't expect anything in return, Bob said. She paid a great deal of attention to family, keeping track of all the nieces and nephews, birthdays, weddings and anniversaries.

"She especially enjoyed her grandchildren ... she never tired of talking about them," he said.

She was predeceased by her brother Eddie. She is survived by her brothers: Bob and his wife Melody; Michael and his wife Joyce; Lawrence and his wife Mary Ann; John and his wife Noela; Ernie; and sister Mary Ann and her husband Francis.