Margaret Stiell Bio

Margaret was born in Kelowna, B.C., in the den of the house her father built. Her mother, a piano teacher and bridge whiz, memorably once knocked down a chandelier while practising her golf swing. Her father was a creative, skilled jeweller, talented sportsman and ardent gardener with a yard full of grape arbours, fruit trees and prize-winning dahlias. Margaret’s love of the outdoors was instilled in her by her father. She spent hours hiking and biking around the Okanagan and weeks of each summer camping and fishing there and further afield.

As a teenager, dancing became a passion and many evenings were spent attending dances, frequently to help entertain soldiers at the nearby army camp “Hostess Club”.

Margaret’s academic claim to fame was becoming the first girl President in Junior High and High School. An early feminist!

Margaret met her husband, Will, on a date on the local tennis courts, and they married after he returned from service overseas in WWII. They moved to Vancouver briefly, then on to Ottawa and Syracuse, N.Y. where children Ian and Jennifer, respectively, were born.

The young family spent idyllic summers at the rustic cottage on Corry Lake despite black flies, snapping turtles and leeches. Notably Will and Margaret, pregnant with Ian, lived in a tent until just two month before Ian was born. Friends were concerned but they loved it!

In 1961 the family moved to Deep River and became immersed in all the activities the town had to offer. Margaret had previously studied at the Ottawa School of Art, and now took several night school Art courses. She was most influenced by acclaimed artist, Rena Purdy, who taught and mentored a weekly group of fellow artists. Rena became a dear friend and after her weekly sessions ended, Margaret “retired” from painting.

Her children, Ian and Jennifer, attended Mackenzie High School and now both reside in Ottawa. Ian is married to Kathy Stiell, nee Muff, who is also from Deep River.

Margaret is an avid reader and you will usually find her reading two or three books at a time, remarkably able to keep straight the storylines of each one. Her favourite pastime would be visiting with her family including grandchildren, Andrew and Michael, their partners, Laura and Joasia, and she now delights in her one-year old great-grandson, William. When she can, she loves to sit on the lawn of her riverfront house, gazing at the river and the trees, the subjects of so many of her paintings over the years.