Edna Margaret De Girolamo (nee Cober)
1925 – 2021
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Margaret De Girolamo. Margaret passed away in Edmonton, Alberta at the age of 96.
She is survived by her five children Ronald; Linda (Frank) Dobos; Janice; Gina (Tony) Armstrong; Nancy (Blaine) Thompson; her grandsons Kevin, Jason (Meagan), and Brandon (Melanie); three great-grandsons Carter, Damian, and Declan; four siblings Grace, Joseph, Velma, and Elva, and many extended family members scattered across Canada. She is predeceased by her husband Carlo, and her parents Charles & Emma Cober.
Margaret was born on the family farm in the Pretty Valley area of Manitoba, as the 11th child of fifteen. In 1939 at the age of 14 when Margaret was in grade 8 (her last year of public school), she was presented with a certificate that commemorated the visit to Pretty Valley by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The next year, Margaret stayed home to help her mother with the younger siblings, as her older siblings married and left home. In 1941, at the age of 16, she was required to register with the Canadian government. One could sign up for the war effort at the age of 18, but when Margaret turned 18 she went to work at a Tuberculosis sanatorium in southern Manitoba. When she was 20, she traveled to Kamloops, BC to help her older sister, Grace, with her children. Once her help was no longer needed, Margaret traveled to Alberta with her sister Ethel and was introduced to the Williams family where she was hired as household help during the harvest season. Here she met Jean (Williams) Heavenor, and a lasting friendship was struck.
In the fall of 1945, Margaret registered to attend Prairie Bible Institute (PBI) in Three Hills, AB where she would complete a 5-year program. During the summer months between school years, Margaret spent time back with the Williams family where she was introduced to the Germaine family who were on furlough as missionaries. Another summer she stayed and worked at PBI to cover tuition. For a couple summers, Margaret became involved with the Canadian Sunday School Mission, working in northern Alberta near Moose Lake. It was in Moose Lake that Margaret was baptized as a follower of Jesus Christ.
When Margaret graduated from PBI in 1950 (at the age of 25), she joined the Germaine family in Calgary, AB. While contemplating what was next for her, she took typing and bookkeeping courses. During this time, she met Dulcie (Dixon) Hebbes who encouraged Margaret to get involved as a leader in afterschool bible classes for children. She also joined Dulcie and traveled to Washington, Montana, and North Dakota to conduct summer sessions of Vacation Bible School.
A few years later, Margaret signed up for a program to earn a Nursing Aide diploma through the Alberta Public Health Department. While doing the course, Margaret lived with the Dixon family near Calgary. For her practicum she worked in the Wetaskiwin Hospital and the University Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, working in the Polio, the Nursery, and the Psychiatric wards. She received her certificate in November of 1954 at the age of 29.
Her first job took her to Hythe, AB and then to Pouce Coupe, BC. Eventually she came to Edmonton in the fall of 1956 to work at the Royal Alexandra hospital in the Maternity ward. There Margaret met a patient who kept insisting that she should go up to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. Margaret noticed an ad in the paper placed by a woman looking for someone willing to come to Yellowknife with her to help with her children for the summer. Margaret took the job, and in the summer of 1957, traveled to Yellowknife.
While in Yellowknife, Margaret attended a local Baptist church and was introduced to Carlo De Girolamo, who had emigrated from Italy in 1951 and who was working at the Giant Gold Mine. After a short courtship, Margaret and Carlo were married in Calgary, AB on December 28, 1957. Margaret and Carlo returned to Yellowknife to live and the following year their first child was born, a son they name Ronald. Two daughters followed, Linda and Janice. After Carlo had worked for the Giant Gold Mine for 10 years, they moved to Edmonton, AB in 1964, and while looking for a house to purchase, their daughter Gina was born. After settling in a home in Sherwood Park, AB they welcomed their final daughter Nancy. While Carlo worked for Drader Manufacturing as a machinist, Margaret worked as wife and mother raising their five children.
In July 1969, Margaret and Carlo left their children with relatives and traveled to Italy for three weeks, to visit Carlo’s home town, Chieuti, Foggia, at the request of his father. While in Italy, Carlo was approached about becoming a partner in a local business, which would involve moving the family to Italy. After discussing the idea, Margaret and Carlo decided to stay in Canada, for the sake of their children’s futures.
As her children enter the school aged years, Margaret decided to return to work, at the age of 49. In 1976 she started a position with Alberta Family Services, which provided individuals in need with people who were able to help. Margaret went to clients’ homes and helped them with some light housework, meal preparation, and personal care. The hours were part-time and allowed Margaret to still be home for her children after school. She worked with Family Services for the next five years.
As Margaret’s children matured, she spent more time helping others. She was always ready to invite others for a meal, work in the church’s kitchen, serve in the church nursery and teach Sunday school, host prayer meetings, and pizza parties for her daughters’ friends. She also enjoyed sewing, crafting, knitting, and playing Scrabble. She was always ready to lend a hand to those in need, whatever that may be.
When Carlo retired in 1993, they sold their house in Sherwood Park and eventually bought a large 3-bedroom condo in west Edmonton. This was their home base as they had bought a motorhome and planned to travel Canada and the US, visiting family, friends, and new sites. During the winter months they traveled down to San Benito, Texas and lived at a camp with other ‘snowbirds’. They did this for 10 years until Margaret was 78. Margaret then developed health issues from congestive heart failure, and many months were spent trying to find a balanced treatment. In 2009, Margaret and Carlo decided to move to Westaskiwin where they bought a small house with a yard. There, they enjoyed a simpler lifestyle and hosted family gatherings. Carlo enjoyed gardening and Margaret enjoyed simple pleasures like reading and knitting items which she donated to those in need.
In 2013, they sold their house and moved to a condo close by, but later that year Carlo experienced severe pain in his hip area and had to undergo immediate radiation to treat cancer that developed. As things improved for Carlo over the summer of 2014, other complications led to more issues over the Christmas period later that year. Soon into the new year, Carlo was admitted to hospital and died in January 2015 from complications of prostate cancer.
Margaret then sold the condo in Wetaskiwin and moved back to Edmonton, eventually moving in with her daughter Linda. She stayed with Linda for 4 years, enjoying frequent visits with some of her great-grandsons. In August 2020, she decided to move to a seniors assisted living residence in Spruce Grove, in anticipation of her daughter Linda’s desire to also be in Spruce Grove after their retirement.
Sadly, Margaret experienced complications from her health issues and was hospitalized in late August, and while waiting for an opening at a long-term care facility, she died in her sleep.
Margaret leaves behind a legacy of faith, which she passed on to her children, and many others, and a heart that sought to serve the Lord by serving others. She will be greatly missed.
No service will be held. In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made in her memory to the Hope Mission www.hopemission.com
Edna Margaret De Girolamo (nee Cober)