Margaret "Marty" Hamer, beloved daughter of Frederic Brian and Mary Elizabeth (née Muchmore), passed away at home after valiantly battling pancreatic cancer for nine long months.
She is survived by Randall "Randy" Cameron, her partner of 48 years; two sons, James and Kyle Cameron; two brothers, James "Jim" and Michael "Mike" Hamer, as well as three sisters- and two brothers-in-law, eight nieces, one nephew, three grand-nieces and three grand-nephews.
She was born in Kingston, ON, and spent much of her youth in the suburbs of both Montreal and Toronto before meeting her future husband at a "hippie house" on Fourth Avenue in the Glebe, and settling down in Ottawa. Margaret's was a life devoted to service and creativity. In her 35 years at the Glebe Parents' Daycare, she nurtured hundreds of children at every stage of development, many of whom would grow up to bring their own children back to thrive under Marty's welcoming wing.
She dedicated 20 years of volunteer service to the Blue Skies Music Festival, taking part in everything from volunteer coordination to parking management, even serving a term as its General Coordinator. Margaret was a dedicated writer, having participated in numerous writing circles, and leaves behind a wealth of short stories, primarily about family and memory.
She was a tireless crafter, "a dabbler," she would say, and she created beauty in every medium from photography to beadwork, from crochet to quilting, knitting, felting, upholstery, papier maché, the list goes on. She nurtured the creativity of others, too, bringing arts and crafts to the hills of Blue Skies, to the halls of the Daycare, and to several Native communities in Northern Ontario and Labrador, volunteering with ArtsCan Circle.
Margaret was a magpie; a collector of trinkets, of memories, of anecdotes, even of ancestors. She spent years working with her father to flesh out the family tree, combing through the National Archives for old records, discovering new relatives to cherish and to remember.
Her mind was a repository of song lyrics: before there were search engines, people would phone Marty long-distance and in her sweet, breathy soprano, she would sing them the words they had forgotten. Her voice was a staple at music nights and song circles, especially around campfires at Lake Taylor, Wellesley Island, and further afield: Margaret camped in the Maritimes, upriver from New York city, even in central Florida.
She became a traveler in later life, visiting Ireland and her father's native England, crossing the globe to Taiwan; she was proud to say that she walked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back out again.
Last year, Marty and Randy moved into an airy, sunny home in the south end, a house she dearly loved. In spite of her prognosis, she "made it" to her birthday in August, saw the beautiful fall colours once more, watched the snow fly again, and had a warm family Christmas. Her New Year's was full of radiance and love.
To the end, Margaret was the living embodiment of the values she learned from her beloved parents: humility, generosity, morality, and grace. Through months of pain and growing indignity, she remained self-effacing and kind, always thanking, always putting others before herself. She lived a rich and good life, and touched many, many hearts. She was and will always be loved, Heap Big, Whole Batch, Such Much.
Services to be announced later this year; donations to Saint Elizabeth Health Care Foundation or the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.