Margaret Jean Cruickshank

May 13th, 2021


(nee Alexander)

Aug 10, 1928 – May 13, 2021


The world was a brighter place with Jean in it. She passed peacefully at Bethany Airdrie after more than 92 well lived extraordinary years.

First born to Cecil & Edythe Alexander (nee Pockett) in Vancouver BC, Jean was mother to 5 children Tammy Cruickshank & Bob Menard (Cochrane AB), Doug Cruickshank & Elaine Kaga (Calgary AB), Cheryl Cruickshank-Topping & Jim Topping (Guelph ON), and Bruce & Theresa Cruickshank (Airdrie AB). Jean’s heart was broken by the loss of her beloved daughter Robin (1955-2012 – Hudson QC).  She is also survived by her dear younger sister Susan Barillaro (Langley BC) & nephews Scott (Victoria BC) & Mark (Penticton BC).

Cherished grandchildren are Erin Roberts (David Megan), Nora Cruickshank, Brendan, Cameron & Aiden Topping, Eric (Madison), Kajsa & Madison Cruickshank. Special great grandchildren are Mya Megan & Chase Cruickshank. Very special daughters-in-law Krista Fidler (North Hatley QC) & Kim Cruickshank (nee Smith) of Cochrane AB were much cherished members of Jean’s family circle.

Jean loved so many/so much passionately - people, family, friends, animals, fashion, style, jewelry, art, current affairs, the Royals, old & new movies, cooking & baking, travel, adventure, driving, cars, architecture, furniture, the Navy life, the ocean, the mountains etc. She was an optimist by nature & so aware of geography, humanity, life & lifestyles. Quintessential Jean was well dressed as a lady with style, jewelry, sunglasses & umbrellas. Her many cherished dogs from Cleo, Tammie the beagle, Bear, Yoda, Oscar, Marshmellow, Missy to the occasional cat were her constant companions thoughout the years. She also always took care of Libby & Sadie for Doug & Tammy.

She was always up for any adventure – short or long! As a youngster she especially loved driving with her adored grandparents (Alexanders & Pocketts) in their Packards to Agassiz & then with time to the rest of BC & down the coast to California. She recounted when visiting the San Diego Zoo in 2016, that she recognized being there in 1952 pregnant with Tammy! No I-5 back then! There is no doubt Jean was a member of the million+ mile driving club!

Not surprisingly, she married (1952 - 1970) naval officer Robert (Bob) D Cruickshank & as the quintessential navy wife, followed him across Canada several times – Cornwallis, Dartmouth & Chester NS, Ottawa ON, Winnipeg MB, Esquimalt BC. When Bob was at sea (often 6 months at a time) Jean would load the car with very young children & drive across country in the late 1950’s from NS to her parents in Vancouver BC – always by herself!

As her children reached high school & university age, moved for careers and/or marriages, Jean followed; first in the east 1970 – 1994  (Montreal & Hudson QC, Toronto ON) then moving out west (Banff 1993, Canmore 1994, & Cochrane 2005); she shared many occasions individually & together with her children, their families & her friends. With Robin in St Lazare & then Hudson, she enjoyed the local french culture, antiquing, and her 1st grandchild – Erin. She visited Bishops University in Lennoxville QC many times as Doug, Cheryl & Bruce all did their undergrad degrees there. With Cheryl & the Cruickshank-Topping family, favourite quaint places to visit were St Jacobs Village & Kleinburg ON with the McMichael Canadian Art Gallery.

Once she moved to the west, the Kaga family members (through daughter-in-law Elaine) were very dear to Jean, and she spent many holidays & special visits to their homes in Alberta, greater Vancouver & occasionally Van Nuys CA. Jean especially adored Elaine’s mother Betty, and joined many family dinners, temple suppers & events, and New Years Eve celebrations. Bob’s family in greater Vancouver – the Menards & Knotts – always welcomed her back to familiar roots in Vancouver.

She took many trips abroad with family & friends – coast to coast in the USA, Norway, Britain, Ireland, Europe; she adored her cruises – Alaska, Bermuda, Caribbean, Mediterranean & New England – all occasions to dress grandly with her jewelry, purses & furs while seeing the world. One favourite trip was for Erin’s 16th birthday – with Tammy & Robin - flying to Scotland & touring by car to Wales, Ireland & back to Scotland. The Waterford Crystal factory, Irish Stud Farm & Edinburgh were highlights for Jean. Another special trip was NYC just after the 9/11 attack – Cheryl, Tammy & Jean stayed near Central Park & toured ground zero, several fire stations as well as other iconic NYC sites & events.

Many of Jean’s trips were with Robin, Tammy, and sometimes Cheryl – supporting their horse passions. Jean attended a plethora of horse shows that they either competed in, or as spectators to high profile events like the 1984 Olympic Eventing qualifier at Lexington KY, the FEI World Cup Dressage & Showjumping Finals in Las Vegas, many The Royal Winter Fairs in Toronto, polo games from Hudson QC to Wellington FL, Appaloosa breed shows from QC to MB & the US, horse trials in Tallahassee FL to Temecula CA to Kalispell MT & more.

Jean had a big heart, was generous to a fault & always lending a helping hand. She would strike up a conversation with anyone – often complete strangers. This intrinsic character lead to great & life long friendships wherever she went. This included a first time mother – Victoria Campbell in Toronto, who Jean not only helped with house work & nanny responsibilities, but became great godmother to Victoria’s 2 children (now adults) Ruth & James. Jean also worked for Bev & Dick Keller of Banff AB for many years as a housekeeper, organizer extraordinaire & pet sitter.  Paulette Murphy was her hairdresser for over 30 year – first in Canmore AB when Jean lived in her condo (1994 – 2005) & later when she moved to Cochrane (2005 - 2021). There are just so many lives Jean touched beyond her family – Lottie, Mamie, Joyce, Mabel, Vida, Irene & Tom, Linda Smith & family, Beau & Allister, Dot & Andy, Toki & Percy, Daryl, Grammers, Norma, Marsha, the Bergers, Susanne & Jackie, Johanne & Ron, Ken & Pam and so many many more; we hope you will share your stories here online.

Family meant everything to Jean - she was so proud of her children, grandchildren and was always hosting dinners for special holidays & birthdays, or attending high school & university graduations, sports events, temple services or suppers. And if the miles prevented in person visits, the greeting cards & gifts were always sent on time. She was blessed to have visited her great granddaughter Mya (Erin & David’s daughter) in Riqaud QC & again in Orangeville ON at Eric & Madison Cruickshank’s wedding. She also held her great grandson Chase when Eric & Madison (Mount Forest ON) visited her home in Glensummit Cochrane in Nov 2019. While in LTC when visitations weren't permitted, she loved to see pictures of all the kids, pets & horses on Facebook, and make lots of phone calls

The family’s heartfelt thanks goes to Jean’s extended community in Cochrane AB - the amazing Cochrane Home Care team; the staff at TB Bank, No Frills, Walmart pharmacy, Evolve Medical Clinic & Dr Trevor Cook, the members of The Seniors on the Bow, and finally her Glensummit Close neighbours - from 2005 -2020 your friendship & watchful eyes kept her happy & safe in her much beloved home overlooking the Rocky Mountains.

The family would also like to acknowledge & thank the Bethany Calgary and the Bethany Airdrie staff for their compassionate care & medical support during the toughest of times with Covid. She preferred being called Margaret there – despite 8 decades of being Jean! Thanks so much for engaging & humouring her!

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. A donation to the Cochrane Humane Society would honour Jean’s love of animals


I first met Mrs. Cruickshank in the early eighties, when a customer referred her to me. I remember from that moment, this little lady with the biggest smile that radiated such genuine warmth, that the idea of a client/creator relationship immediately flew out the window, as we became instant friends. She loved jewellery and together, we would have the most wonderful time, both of us excited like kids in a candy shop, as we’d pick up and admired individual pieces. I absolutely loved collaborating with her. She was involved and enthusiastic every step of the way and was a true inspiration to me. I am honoured to say Mrs. Cruickshank was one of my biggest fans and somehow, we had formed this incredible bond with jewellery being the medium that brought us together. We would laugh and talk about all kinds of things in life, especially family. I had the privilege of being invited to her home, meeting her family and as well, introducing her to my wife Susan and our children. The first Christmas, Mrs. Cruickshank brought me a beautiful red poinsettia; little did I know it would turn into an annual tradition for many more years. Even when she moved and would come back to visit her daughter Cheryl, she would surprise me with a visit and bring me a red poinsettia. We would simply pick up our conversation where it had left off. She never forgot me and I will never forget her. Her endearing friendship and beautiful quality lives deep within my heart. My sincere condolences to the entire Cruickshank family. Varouj Tabakian, Toronto, Ontario

What a lovely tribute to Margaret aka Jean and a life well lived. Our condolences to all the family. Dianne and Clay

Sincere condolences to the family of Jean Cruikshank. She was a lovely lady whom I was privileged to get to know when she came to Calgary Buddhist Temple services and events. She always had a smile on her face which was infectious. She will be missed.

Our deepest condolences to you, Cheryl, and the Cruikshank family. I will always remember Jean for her cheery smiles, sunny disposition and ever-welcoming warmth. It was clearly obvious that she loved her family, her friends, her pets and so much more. This love came back to her in droves. And for that, she will be forever cherished and fondly remembered. Not just a life well lived, Jean Cruikshank had a life well loved. Forever Rest In Peace, Jean!

Our deepest sympathies to the Cruickshand family and particularly to Tammy. Your mother seemed to have lived a great life.

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