Margaret Wainwright


image of Margaret Wainwright 1951

Margaret Wainwright 1951

Margaret Wainwright, most recently of Kenmore, passed away peacefully in her sleep on the 11th of March, just a few weeks after her 88th birthday.  She was surrounded by her loving family during the last few days of her long and well lived life.

Margaret was born in Mexborough, Yorkshire, England to Helen and Thomas Lavelle on February 15, 1931. She was the youngest of their five children and her older siblings were John, Mary, Tommy, and Hughie.  She loved to share stories of growing up “over her Dad’s pub” which was the Phoenix Hotel in Rotherham.  By the end of World War II, she was in her mid-teens; she excelled in school and earned her teaching certificate from the Liverpool Institute of Education.  She combined her love of knowledge and children in her eight year career as an elementary school teacher at St. Ann’s Road Primary School in Rotherham.

She met and married Alan Wainwright in 1959 and they honeymooned in the English Lake District.  She and Alan had their first children, Frances and James, in Rotherham. They then immigrated to Canada for Alan’s career and Elizabeth and Eugene were born there.  In 1968 they moved to Seattle, driving across Canada in the middle of winter, so that Alan could continue his career at Boeing.  Their youngest child, Kathryn, was born in Seattle.

Margaret worked at raising her children through challenging personal circumstances both economic and marital, but despite these challenges dedicated herself to the wellbeing of her kids.  She was a devout Catholic and an active parishioner at St. Alphonsus Church in Ballard for many years.  She valued kindness to others and was the most generous person to any and all. Her house and kitchen were welcoming havens.  From her fresh baked “cobs” to a hot cuppa tea, no one who came through her door ever felt anything but welcomed and cared for.

Margaret loved music, art, language, theater, and singing; in her younger days she enjoyed performing in amateur theater.  She was an avid, life-long reader and made almost daily visits to her local library as well as her local yarn shop.  She prided herself on doing the New York Times crossword puzzle each day and loved watching British comedy shows. She was a good cook and could make a meal out of almost anything. She was a knitter of epic speed and talent, making many lovely items for family and friends.  Baby sweaters and hats were a specialty of hers.  She was very close to her parents and siblings and kept in touch through extensive correspondence over the years even though they were far away in both England and Australia.

Margaret had a brief second career working in customer service for Sears where she was well loved by her coworkers and customers. Her lovely English accent added a touch of class to her frontline position fielding customer service calls.   Once her beloved grandchildren were born, she retired and helped care for them, from full time infant care to occasional babysitting.  Her grand-kids Katie, Hannah, Ben, Gabe, and Lauren were the light of her life. Nothing lit up her face like an impromptu visit from her family.

After many years of living in the Sunset Hill area of Ballard, the family home got to be too much for her and she moved into an assisted living apartment. She kept her joy in life’s little pleasures and loved that her family all lived close enough for regular family get-togethers.

Margaret went to her final rest surrounded by her children and grandchildren on March 11, 2019. Our lives won’t be the same without her, but she had a wonderful life and was our most beloved mother.

A Celebration of Life will be scheduled for the summer of 2019. Remembrances may be made to any children’s charity of your choice.

5 Responses to “Margaret Wainwright”

  • Patricia Follman says:

    Francesca (and family),

    So sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. Her obit was wonderful reading and made me marvel at her many talents and experiences! No doubt she was loved!

    She and you, are in my thoughts….

    Much love,


  • Rosemary Jarvis nee Sephton says:

    I only knew Auntie Margaret for a short time when I was very young before they emigrated but what I do remember is her warm smile and at the leaving party they had at our house the smiles and laughter as I snuck out of bed I also remember the airmail letters she sent grandma and mum and the pictures she would send these made grandma so happy
    I am just so sorry I never got the chance to meet her again but she has raised an amazing family my cousins and through the magic of Facebook we are able to connect
    My thoughts are with you all as you celebrate the life of your beloved mother
    May you rest in peace Auntie Margaret xxx

  • Kathy Teufel says:

    I still remember hearing your Mom’s cheerful British accent! May you keep memories of her joy in her family close to you.

  • Josie Abdullah nee Sephton says:

    An amazing and very touching tribute to your Mom, and a lovely insight into someone who I never got to meet, as sadly, you had all emigrated before I was born. I have very distinct memories of the blue airmail letters arriving at our house from our ‘American relatives’ which I always found very exciting. I am sure it will have been your Mom doing all the organising and mailing of these. I hope the celebration of her life is a really special day for you all. Sending you all lots of love. Josie xx

  • Betty A. Mosher says:

    I’m sorry to her of her passing. She was a most delightful person. I met her about 10-12 years ago at Full Circle, a knit shop in Seattle, where she would play the crossword puzzle with Patricia (the owner). They were stuck on a clue and I insinuated myself in there and later, we would all do the crosswords together. It amazed me that she seemed to know all the answers to the American baseball clues. She was a great knitter. She even gave me a set of gloves she knitted. And yes, she loved to tell stories about her dad’s pub and I enjoyed the stories too. I will always remember her fondly.

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