Margaret May Pryce (Singman)

Margaret May Pryce (Singman)

Margaret May was an adventurer! Born in London, England on May 14, 1925, Margaret and her family endured the Blitz during World War II. She and her sister, Rosemary, left the city to find safe haven at their Devon boarding school, but at sixteen when she was not yet old enough to sign herself up, Margaret pestered her parents so much that they agreed to let her join the Women’s Royal Naval Service. She enthusiastically contributed to the war effort in the code-breaking department (and was sworn to secrecy, so we still wonder: did she serve at Bletchley Park?). Four years later, Margaret jubilantly celebrated the war’s end with thousands at Trafalgar Square on VE Day. After the dust had settled and there was a nation to rebuild, Margaret trained as a physiotherapist. She sought the far- flung corners of Britain to offer her services: the Isle of Skye, the Isle of Wight, the Isle of Man. When an employment opportunity rose in 1952, she set sail for Canada without knowing a soul on the other side of the Atlantic. Margaret spent a year fulfilling her contract duties (and freezing) in Medicine Hat, Alberta, then hopped the next train to Vancouver to take a position at the G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Hospital. There she found herself in the midst of a polio epidemic, responsible for whole wards of patients who could breathe only with the assistance of electric “iron lungs.” Repeated power failures demanded her considerable ingenuity! Margaret was an energetic sportswoman. Most days she would devote herself to three or four sessions of exercise – swimming, bicycling, yoga, jogging, hiking, cross-country skiing, belly dancing, weightlifting, snowshoeing, aerobics, and especially tennis. It was on the tennis courts of Stanley Park that she met Colin Pryce, just o the boat from India. Quite different in personality and temperament, they complimented each other beautifully. Margaret was attracted to Colin’s high ideals, artistry, and devotion to world peace and community service, and Colin loved Margaret’s spirit, vitality, and resourcefulness. They married in 1956, had two children, and within a few years moved to the mountainous terrain of Castlegar, reminiscent of Colin’s home in the Himalayan foothills. Another two children joined the family after which Margaret became the head of the physiotherapy department at Castlegar and District Hospital. Old friends may remember the familiar sight of Margaret riding her little folding bicycle to work every morning, then hitting the courts with a troupe of tennis-mad chums in the afternoon. Margaret was dedicated to public service. Along with Colin, she helped found the Castlegar Hospice Society, and volunteered with many additional organizations, among them the Castlegar Arts Council, Castlegar Parks and Trails, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Awareness Society, and Toast Mistress International. A lover of music, visual arts, dance, literature, and poetry, Margaret also hosted a radio spot on CKQR and wrote about local arts in a column for The Castlegar News. Margaret and Colin together offered passion, imagination, and countless volunteer hours to their vision of peacemaking through the building of a multicultural, multi-faith society that is open and welcoming to all. The couple modelled an ethic of hospitality with their panache for inspiring conversation at the frequent Indian curry dinner parties they hosted for local friends and visitors from around the globe. On February 9, 2017 in her 92nd year, Margaret May Pryce died at Vancouver in the peace of her own bed with family at her side. We note that she left us while auspicious stellar events were in the making: a full moon, a lunar eclipse, and a passing comet (not to mention the snowstorm of the century). Margaret and Colin both would have enjoyed the serendipity of these phenomena. Margaret leaves behind four children and their spouses, Conrad and Barbara Pryce, Judy Pryce and Greg Siren, Teresa Pryce and Mario Ba , and Paula Pryce and Thomas Digby, as well as nine grandchildren and one granddaughter-in-law, Jordan, Megan, Elliot, Avery and Amy-Liz, Felix, Noah, Olivia, Sasha, and Rosemary. Margaret’s husband, Colin Pryce, died at Castlegar almost exactly nineteen years before, on February 17, 1998. The Pryce family extends thanks to Louis Brier Home and Hospital in Vancouver, where Margaret lived during the last decade of her life, and especially to Remy Fraser for her devoted attention and friendship as Margaret’s daily companion. We also express our deep gratitude for the support and love of dear friends in Castlegar and the West Kootenays, Margaret and Colin’s home of more than forty years. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to: Margaret May Pryce (née Singman) May 14, 1925 (London) – February 9, 2017 (Vancouver) Castlegar Parks and Trails Society c/o Membership Director Box 3212 Castlegar, BC V1N 3H5 The Castlegar Hospice Society http://castlegarhospice.org/pleasedonate/ To contact the family, please leave messages at pryce1925@gmail.com.


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