Margaret Laidlaw
Margaret Laidlaw
Margaret Laidlaw

Obituary of Margaret Randolph Laidlaw



née Williston

1937- 2022


The family of Margaret is deeply saddened to announce her death, on December 14, 2022, in Toronto, Ontario, at the age of 85.  Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1937, Marg arrived at McGill University in Montreal, scholarship in hand, eager to study chemistry.  At the McGill Outing Club, she met her future husband, Ernest John Laidlaw, with whom she would spend the next 65 years.  They shared many adventures: travelling, skiing, hiking, canoeing and camping in many majestic places. Together they founded the Wizard Ski Club, and reminisced fondly of the people they met and the many good times they had. Margaret often spoke proudly of her American heritage, boasting of being a direct descendent of Thomas Jefferson.


Another adventure began when Gillian was born, joining Marg and John later in life: a much-loved addition to their family.  Many special moments were created at their forest home, nestled on the edge of a ravine within the city.


Marg was a bright, cheerful woman with a quirky sense of humour and eclectic tastes, who loved wearing bright clothes and funky jewellery.  Earlier in her career, she worked in meteorological modelling, later designing scientific computer programs for Ontario Hydro, now taken for granted, but inspiring and ground-breaking back then. Marg soaked it all in.  She also enjoyed outdoor activities, singing in her church choir, as well as practising Taoist Tai Chi and promoting its health recovery programs.  She was always generous, entertaining her nieces and nephews with fun, often musical activities, or out bringing her lively spirit to various community events.


Marg endured incredible physical challenges in her life: buried in an avalanche in northern Italy for over 40 hours, an incapacitating stroke in the 1990s, and, more recently, cancer.  That didn’t stop her; Marg tenaciously continued to walk unassisted, maintaining her independence, and activities.  She was a determined force, with an undeterred zest for life.


Margaret will be deeply missed by her husband, Ernie and daughter, Gillian, and by her nieces and nephews and her extended family.  She was predeceased by her parents, William and Sally Williston, and her sister, Anne Carey.  A service for Margaret will be held at Armour Heights Presbyterian Church early in the New Year. In lieu of flowers, donations in Marg’s memory may be made to your favourite charity.  Condolences may be forwarded to


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