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Margaret Crichton

Sadly, we lost our dear friend and fellow Janeite, Margaret Crichton, on August 17, 2016. Margaret was an enthusiastic member of JASNA Calgary from the outset, joining the group soon after it formed in 2000. Over the next decade and a half, she actively participated in innumerable meetings.

Her favourites were those where members shared their passion and knowledge of Jane Austen by discussing a wide range of diverting topics like these.

  • Good and bad mothers and fathers in Jane's books
  • Regency manners and morals
  • Which hero did we think would make the best husband?

She led sessions as diverse as

  • researching and planning the food for a Regency banquet fit for Pemberley, and
  • examining the pre- and post-marital woes of some of Jane's less likeable couples.

She put her English degree to good use participating in sessions where we reviewed Jane's juvenilia, created endings for her unfinished works, and drew up lists of what to read after you've read Jane Austen. She took part in many of the plays and dramatic readings presented by fellow members, taking on the role of narrator Jane Austen in a costumed reading of "Lady Susan" at the joint Calgary-Edmonton Spring Gala in Red Deer in 2002.

She directed and played narrator Jane again in "A Small Diversion in Honour of Jane Austen" for Calgary's Birthday Tea in 2003. In 2005, she was one of several co-convenors who organized an excellent Birthday Tea where she convinced her husband, Colin, to appear as a Regency butler. Margaret loved to have fun. She always enjoyed quizzes and other fun activities at meetings.

She was one of Pat Barton's original dancers when the little troupe that became the Sprigged Muslin Dancers was formed to illustrate Pat's lecture on country dancing at the Calgary-Edmonton Spring Gala in Red Deer in 2004. She performed with Sprigged Muslin many times over the years.

It was Margaret who figured out how we could adapt men's suit jackets from second hand shops to create tailcoats for "gentlemen" dancers such as herself. She was delighted, however, when she finally got to dress up as a Regency woman for the closing ball of the JASNA annual meeting at Hotel Vancouver in 2007.

That same year, she became Program Committee chair for JASNA Calgary, a role for which she was admirably suited. Over the next three seasons, Margaret and her hard working team kept us well entertained with interesting lectures, wonderful dramatic readings, lovely Birthday Teas, and lots of amusing chat.

Although her involvement decreased slightly when Colin died in 2010 and her own health began to decline soon after, she kept on dancing as long as she could and attended meetings whenever possible. At the Birthday Tea in January 2016 she gamely participated in the JA version of "What's My Line". She joyfully attended our most recent meeting, the Quintessential Regency Picnic in May 2016.

Margaret was a Jane Austen fan her whole life. JASNA Calgary will truly miss her lively participation and whole-hearted support.