Martin Houlding Meggait
January 2nd, 2023
Born to William (Bill) Meggait and Leonore (Leo) née Houlding, Martin Houlding Meggait came into this world at 1152 Mountain View Rd, Spallumcheen BC on March 9th, 1927 as the second of four children to his parents.
Leonore had her first son, Lawrie, in the Armstrong Hospital, decided it wasn’t to her liking, and had the rest of her babies at home. The source of some of Martin’s strength of character (ie stubbornness) may have been due to this intrepid woman.
Martin attended the then brand new brick school (AES), where he was on the day his home burned down from a chimney fire in 1937. It was rebuilt in exactly the same location and he lived in the new house with his family. He left school early to go to work full time on the Meggait farm and homestead, though his working life had included farm chores before and after school long before that.
Having spent years homesteading in the Chilcotin, Martin’s father, Bill, drove a stagecoach from Ashcroft to Alkali Lake delivering supplies to remote communities before marrying Leonore.
Martin was forever fascinated by the stories of his father; of pioneers and trading, remote indigenous communities, and the BC landscape of the early 1900s.
Grandpa Bill was a very sweet man, but also known for his temper, which he carefully expressed to the cows and forest with incredible displays of his vocal strength and dexterity.
Soon after leaving school Martin went to the Three Hills region of Alberta and worked on the grain harvest, moving on to trucking for farmers. All his life he remembered that area with great fondness, but came home to Armstrong when called on by his father to help with the farm; the Meggait family’s livelihood at that time. He worked half days for Bert Fletcher, a local garage owner who contracted trucking services, delivering milk to the Armstrong Cheese Factory.
Martin met and married the love of his life (after a botched first date) in 1952. Gerry waited, without luck for Martin to pick her up on New Year’s Eve, but his crank-start car wouldn’t start in the cold, despite the hours he spent trying! They went on to have four sons, nine grandchildren, and a whopping 25 great grandchildren, lucky since he was such a fan of snuggling babies. In addition to his biological family, Martin cared for and was loved by many foster children, and unofficially adopted children and grandchildren.
He observed innumerable important dates with his extensive community and family. Most notably he and Gerry celebrated 70 years of marriage on August 14th, 2022.
Together Gerry and Martin experienced many joys, and also indescribable sorrows, losing their second son, Billy, to leukemia when he was just nine years old. As a father he took great pride in all his children, their families and their various accomplishments; Gord as an electrician and woodworker; Tony as a farmer and gravel pit operator; and Jim as a minister, teacher, and lover of adventure.
Once married, Martin worked for the Motor Transfer doing trucking of various types. Next he moved into a career in lumber and forestry, working first for Ganzeveld Brothers and then for the
Armstrong Sawmill, which eventually became Riverside for whom he did grading and logging road construction. At the age of 34 when working for the Armstrong Sawmill he bored straight into three unexploded sticks of dynamite with a drill in an attempt to clear unexploded rock.
Fortunately he survived, but was left with lifelong injuries. Not one to be deterred, Martin continued to be a hard worker all his life, retiring after more than 35 years in the logging and lumber industry, forever proud of his position as a grader operator.
Gerry and Martin owned and rented homes in Armstrong, so were nearby when Bill Meggait passed away in 1972. Martin’s two sisters and his brother were all living elsewhere with families of their own by that time so he was his mother’s primary help and farmhand. He and Gerry moved back onto the farm of his birth in 1979, which Leo passed on to her son, moving into a more manageable home in town.
More than a family farm, the property became a community centre. Martin and his wife Gerry provided space for Cub Scouts, aiding in the construction of a permanent roofed facility for the Cubs to use on the farm. They additionally hosted church picnics, community ball games, weddings, memorials, and of course, reunions of their ever-growing family. He led by example demonstrating honesty in all of his actions, even being recognized as a citizen of the year, with his wife Gerry, in 1978.
Martin was proud to say that he had been a member of the congregation of the Armstrong First Baptist Church since before his birth! He attended services until mobility made it too difficult, and he and Gerry continued to show their faith through a consistent love for community and family, always. The family is grateful to have been able to spend his 95th Christmas with him at home, 1152 Mountain View Rd, where he passed away January 2nd, 2023.
Martin was predeceased by his parents, Leonore and Bill; his brother Lawrie, son Billy, daughter-in-law, Ginny; grandchildren, Michael and Morgan; and great grandson Kohen. He is survived by his wife, Gerry, sisters Ann, and Mary, sons Jim (Nellie), Tony (Robin), Gord (Karen) and too many more to name.
There will be a small family service now, with a memorial in late spring open to the community.
Date and location are TBD.
So sorry to hear of Mr. Martin Meggait's passing, you are in our thoughts.
Martin was always a gentleman. A kind person and a helping hand to all. Many years ago I transported logs and Martin and others always kept the roads in safe and passable condition for the truckers. Martin had a smile and a kind word at all times. My sincere condolences at this difficult time, rest easy knowing Martin lived a full and good life. Peace David Fletcher
I would like to offer our condolences to you and your family in this time. Wow, thanks for sharing this obit with us. What an incredible life to have lived. Such an inspiration for us all. Rob and Heather Kjarsgaard
I am sorry for your loss of someone so near and dear to your hearts. I'm sending our condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Meggait. He touched the lives of many. May the memories you have become your treasures.
My deepest condolences. Such a wonderful man. So thankful he was a part of my life. Sending much love to you Gerry and your family.