(BIRKHEIM) LEONHARDT, Margaret Katherine
February 6, 1919 – October 24, 2013
Margaret was born in Krimm, Russia on February 6, 1919. At 6 years of age her family came across the ocean by steamship liner where they settled on a farm north of Delia. She spoke German, learning the English language at school. Margaret left school after completing grade five to help her parents with work in their boarding house. She obeyed her parents without question, washing dishes, cooking meals, doing laundry, and cleaning house. When Mom became old enough she worked as domestic help for a family in Drumheller and then at E.A. Toshach’s Clothing Store, sending her pay cheque home to help out her parents. At 18 years of age, on August 8, 1937, Margaret married Jacob Leonhardt. After living with her family for five years, they developed a farmstead south of Drumheller in the Churchill Community where they raised 12 children. Margaret worked alongside Jacob and supported his goals. Besides managing a busy household overflowing with children, she helped with farm chores and delivered eggs to many customers who became friends. She made the old farmhouse more livable by using her artistic talent to paint patterns on the worn out linoleum and embroidered flour sacks to make tablecloths and dresser scarves and sewed dresses for her girls. She loved having company drop in, even unexpectedly, and was skilled in preparing delicious German dishes, succulent roast beef, and fried chicken. She shared her flair for baking pies, angel food cakes and moist fruit cake at church and community gatherings. She enjoyed singing in the choir and serving in the Lutheran Ladies Aid. She was a gentle woman and a hard worker. She loved visiting and cheered up many people with her hospitality and caring words. Her faith in the Lord saw her through many difficult situations. Life became a little bit easier in 1967 when Margaret and Jacob moved into a new home on the farm with running water and indoor plumbing. Then on 1976 they retired to their dream home in Drumheller. They liked playing cards, bowling, dancing, and hanging out at the Pioneer Trail Centre. Much spare time was spent creating fifty three beautifully done needlepoint pictures to give to loved ones. They enjoyed tours of the West Coast, the Maritimes, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, and Los Angeles. In 2004, failing health prompted a move to the Sunshine Lodge. Margaret and Jacob loved each other passionately during their sixty nine years of marriage. They passed down to their children the drive to succeed despite overwhelming setbacks and demonstrated the importance of family unity. In the latter years Margaret slowly slipped behind a secret veil of senile dementia. She faded from our grasp in small stages until she broke free from the earthly vessel which she inhabited on October 24, 2013. Margaret is survived by her loving family of 11 children: Gerald (Janice), Daniel (Maureen), Marjorie (Paul Turner), Genevieve Munroe, Linda (Bob MacIntyre), Barbara Simpson, Harvey (Linda), Patricia (Jim Bechthold), Sharon Leonhardt, Carmen (Gary Gutsche) and Alvin, as well as 23 Grandchildren and 33 Great Grandchildren; one brother, Edward Birkheim, three sisters: Freda Jones, Agnes Hay, and Isabel McMurray. Margaret was predeceased by; her husband Jacob at 97 years in 2006, a baby daughter Verna Esther, grandson Jason Leonhardt, great grandson Ethan MacIntyre, son-in-law Allan Simpson, and while still in Russia, two sisters Annie and Molly in their infancy. Funeral Services will be Monday, November 4, 2013 at Grace Lutheran Church at 1:00 P.M. If friends so desire, instead of flowers, Memorial Donations may be made in honour of Margaret to the Area Health Foundation 351-9th Street N.W., Drumheller, AB T0J 0Y1 (Continuing Care Unit). Courtney-Winters Funeral Home entrusted with arrangements (403 823 2666).