1942 – 2007
Past National President BPW Canada
BPW Canada lost one of our Past National presidents September 13; Margaret Pronyk died after a difficult illness, and she will be missed by her BPW friends across the country. Margaret had been a member of our organization for over 30 years, most of those years in BPW Thompson, where she filled many roles including club president, and the last few years as a member of BPW Penticton. She served a total of 12 years on the National Board, and was president of our Canadian Federation from 2000 to 2002. Her belief in what BPW stood for was strong and she put her whole heart and soul into her work with the organization.
Margaret was born in Winnipeg and lived most of her life in Thompson, Manitoba. She was a woman who cared deeply about her family, was devoted to her husband Fred, proud of her children Brenda and Rob, grandson Daniel, and son-in-law Denny, and pleased to be welcoming Rob’s fiancé Denise into the family. She was a hockey grandma, following Daniel’s career with great passion and going to the games whenever she could, always waiting to hear from him about the games she missed. I suspect Margaret will continue to be at Daniel’s games, because she just wouldn’t allow it to be any other way.
Margaret packed a lot of living into her life. She was a businesswoman in Thompson, where she raised her family; she looked after the books for small businesses in her community through her company Bird Bookkeeping. She made the time to be a school trustee, and I know how much she enjoyed that community work because her eyes sparkled as she talked about the children in the classrooms. Margaret worked as Returning Officer for provincial and federal elections, and she held positions on many Boards in her community of Thompson, including Airport Authority Board and Chamber of Commerce. She was also a Life Member of the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority.
Margaret believed strongly in mentoring; passing along her knowledge and skills was very important to her and she was always there to help others, to listen and to give advice. She lent a helping hand to people she met in the business world, to fellow-BPW members, and to others in the community. She helped people believe in themselves, encouraged you to trust your instincts, reminded us that ‘the biggest critic you have is yourself’.A wise woman, Margaret was knowledgeable, and had an excellent memory. People trusted her judgement and respected her opinions. She strongly defended what she believed in and she put heart and soul into everything she did. If something mattered it was worth doing well, and she attended to every detail. As one of her friends has said, she gave 150% all of the time. I admired the way she was always so clear about an issue; we might not always agree with her but we always knew exactly where she stood! She was also sensitive and caring, ready to sing other people's praises but humble about her own accomplishments. But the people of her community knew how hard she worked and they made her Provincial Woman of the Year before she left Manitoba. One of the honours she most treasured was being chosen as BPW Canada's Woman of the Year, because she knew that was recognition by her peers.
Margaret was a spiritual woman and she was very active in the United Church, both in Thompson and in Penticton. She worked on committees and church boards, and cherished her involvement in UCW, but her first love was singing in the choir. Music was an important part of Margaret’s life; from the time she was a child she sang, and had a beautiful voice. She did solos for weddings and funerals, belonged to the Aurora Singers in Manitoba, and the Tune Agers choir in Penticton. One of the hardest things for Margaret when she learned of her illness was the knowledge that she would no longer be able to sing.BPW Manitoba and Canada were fortunate to be the benefactors of Margaret's ability to work through difficult situations and pull people together for the good of the organization and what it stood for. A BPW mentor has physically left us but her legacy will live on.
Submitted by Peggy Whitley, BPW Penticton,