Margery Winkler refused to let breast cancer change her lifestyle, especially her travelling habits.
“My wife battled with cancer for about 11 years, going into remission and then getting it again,” says Vladimir Winkler. “But we still went everywhere, when we could.”
The States, Russia, Cuba. The Winklers and their children — Alexandra, 21, Michael, 20 and Jackie, 18 — were a team of voyagers.
As a landscape architect, Winkler’s eyes would quickly take note of any garden they passed by.
“She was always taking pictures of gardens … When we went to Russia, she was enchanted by the gardens in the Summer Palace (of Peter the Great) in St. Petersburg,” says Winkler’s husband, as he describes their final months together.
The couple went to Russia in June of 2009. Six months later, after returning from their trip to the Dominican Republic, Winkler died in her Davisville home at the age of 57.
Two years later, her memory remains among those who knew her. In January, Winkler’s family, friends, neighbours and colleagues from Ryerson University — where she taught Landscape Architecture for over 20 years — raised over $4,400 to create a memorial bench in her name.
Perla Riesenbach, Winkler’s friend and one of the coordinators of fundraising, says that getting people involved has been an easy process.
“We sent out request for donations via e-mail and people were able to donate online,” saus Riesenbach. “It wasn’t hard to do because people in the neighbourhood and the Ryerson community loved her and were waiting for something like this.”
Vladimir says that residents of Davisville would remember Winkler’s input 17 years ago concerning a traffic calming on Balliol Street.
“She made sure it was designed in an aesthetic way, with islands that reach out onto the road to slow traffic,” he says. “That allowed the opportunity to put in more vegetation and trees into those islands.”
The memorial bench will be placed in Hodgson Senior Public School, where Winkler led the re-development of landscaping in 2004.
“Margery was instrumental in redesigning the front of the school, which was broken down,” he says. “She worked on it for two to three years, making sure it looked more welcoming with benches, a walk path, a garden and a little theatre.”
With the support of the school board trustee, the principal and Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow, Riesenbach says that Winkler’s memorial bench is expected to be unveiled sometime in September, during the new school year.
“Now people in the neighbourhood will be able to go somewhere and feel a real tangible, connection to her,” Riesenbach says.
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