Margaret Lovesa Wishnowski (nee Bjornson)
April 21, 1931 – April 18, 2022
Margaret Wishnowski, age 90, died peacefully on Monday, April 18, 2022 at the Gimli Community Health Centre surrounded by her family.
She will be deeply missed by all who knew her, especially her children John (Toni), Allan (Donna), Brenda (Drew), Bruce, and Rosanna (Paul). She will be forever cherished by her grandchildren Brittany (Stephen) and Ali, Hannah and Chelsea, Karli and Katie, and Brent and Blaine. Also left to mourn her passing are her close cousins Violet Orbanski and Judy Tait, many nieces and nephews, brother-in-law Walter Wishnowski, sisters-in-law Jean Baziniak and Edna Wishnowski, family members in Iceland, and close friends. Margaret was predeceased by her husband Victor, parents John and Johanna Bjornson, parents-in-law Adam and Mary Wishnowski, and sisters Anna Hook (Jim), Joan Joyal (Dennis) and infant sister Brenda.
Margaret lived her entire life in Riverton at Lundi on the Icelandic River. She grew up in the house built by her father, near her Amma and Afi, and many cousins. She described her childhood as being “glorious and magical”, treasuring her memories of times also spent with her family while her dad was fishing at Barney’s Point. She and Victor went on to raise their own family in this house that she loved.
Margaret loved music and dancing, and as a young woman, she would go to as many of the old time dances in the surrounding area as she could. It was at one of these dances that she met her love, Victor. They spent 54 years together and raised five children. Margaret was happiest when her home was full of family and friends. Even though she lived alone for many years after Victor died, she still never had a lock on her door as she worried that someone might need a safe place to come. She warmly greeted drop in visitors at all times of the day and night who came by to see her.
Margaret attended Normal School in Winnipeg where she received her teaching certificate. She was a lifelong learner and went on to finish her university degree when she was in her fifties. She was passionate about education and loved her various teaching experiences, remembering her students fondly. She especially cherished teaching Icelandic to her elementary students in Riverton before she retired and she may have been the last person to teach Icelandic in a public school in North America.
Margaret was very involved in her Icelandic culture and spent her life preserving it. She was honored to be the Fjallkona at the Icelandic Festival in Gimli in 2001. She was extremely humble about her many recognized accomplishments, including the compilation of the book, “Train Stories from the Icelandic River”, which raised money for the heritage museum. Margaret had a deep appreciation for all cultures and instilled this in her children. She had a genuine interest in every person she met and she always wanted to know details about their lives and family which she always remembered.
Margaret was an active and dedicated member on several committees in Riverton, including the Riverton Lutheran Church/Lutheran Church Women (LCW), the Icelandic River Heritage Site (Engimyri), Riverton Cemetery, and the Riverton Transportation and Heritage Museum. She was a steadfast environmentalist, tending to her organic garden, composting, and being conscientious about waste, long before it was recognized as being important. She appreciated the saying, “Let the rivers be rivers.”
The family would like to thank Dr. S.V .Patel, her daughter-in-law Donna Wishnowski, and all of the staff at the Gimli Hospital who cared for her with such kindness and compassion.
Those who wish to donate in Mom’s memory, may consider selecting one of the above mentioned organizations, as well as The Bear Clan Patrol or the Salvation Army which were very dear to her heart.
A funeral service will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, 2022 at the Riverton Lutheran Church, followed by a Celebration of Life at 2:00 pm at the Riverton Hall.
To send flowers to Margaret's family, please visit our floral store.