Margaret and Peter at their wedding in 1990
Margaret Lammert (1921-1997) [#1340893] was my father’s second wife. He is now happily married to his third wife, Nola, but it’s good to take a few moments to remember those who have gone before us.
Margaret loved to cook and bake for large family gatherings or quiet visits. She probably developed her homemaking skills at the Mary Martha Girls’ Home, where she lived during the week when first working in Vancouver to help pay her family’s travel bill to Canada.
Margaret sewed all the drapes for their new house. She crocheted a beautiful lace tablecloth for me. Another memorable gift was a green fleece robe. Without taking measurements, Margaret created the only robe that ever fit me perfectly. I still have it as a keepsake (it’s also immortalized on YouTube by my cat’s affection for it).
Margaret told me about the difficult 1943 trek from Russia to Poland. Although there were horses to pull the wagons with everything they owned, the loads were heavy, and young people had to walk. That meant that she walked to Poland over two cold months, as did my father. As a young woman, Margaret found it especially difficult along the way to meet basic needs like sanitation.
My father shares a couple of personal stories of his time with Margaret below. Her obituary follows.
My second wife, Margaret
After my first wife, Ursula, died on 28 July 1989, I was alone, and “it’s not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). I married Margaret Koop, née Lammert, on February 3, 1990. She had been a widow for two years and was six years older than me. We came from the same village in Russia, Neu Schoensee, Sagradovka, so I already knew her almost all my life. She had two adult children who were already married.
When I had been married to Margaret for two years, one day she showed me a little photograph. She asked me, “Do you know this man?”
I said, “Yes, that’s my brother John! Where in the world did you get that?”
“He gave it to me!”
“Well, that was a long time ago.”
“I know. I used to see you coming to our house once in a while.” Margaret used to date John.
She added, “Your brother was a wonderful gentleman.”
A voice tells me to go back
One rainy day, I planned to go to Vancouver to pick up the rent from a property I owned there. Margaret and I lived in Langley. I told Margaret, “I’ll be back in a couple of hours.”
But when I was on 200th Street, about halfway from our house to the freeway, it was as if someone said to me, “Turn around! Go back!”
I said to myself, Why? Okay. I turned into a nearby driveway, turned around and went home.
When I got home, I went in the front door and called Margaret, but there was no reply. I found her outside the back door, lying on the steps. There were two steps down from the back door. She couldn’t reach the door to open it, and was drenched from the rain.
It was terrible to see her like that. She had gone out into the back yard and slipped and fell on the concrete. The soles of her leather slippers were kind of slippery. She dragged herself to the door but couldn’t get up the steps. It took her quite a while to get where I found her.
I opened the door, and told her I would call an ambulance. I got a couple of warm blankets and covered her up. I could tell that something was seriously wrong with her leg. She had broken her hip.
I believe that God called me and told me to go back. And I’m glad that I listened. Margaret would have probably died there before I returned from my planned trip.
Margaret had surgery on her hip and recovered. She used a walker after that, but was able to get around and do everything she wanted to do.
But eventually Margaret got sick with cancer. We didn’t know what it was at first, but she was in a lot of pain. We tried everything, even acupuncture treatments, to relieve the pain.
Margaret was always afraid of going to a hospital or care home for seniors. I said, “No, I’ll keep you at home.” I thank God that I was able to care for her at home until she died. It was a 24 hour a day job, and I lost a fair amount of weight in the last couple of months, but I’m glad I did it.
On July 15, 1997, Margaret was already unconscious when the ambulance took her to the hospital, and a couple of hours later she was gone.
Margaret’s grave marker at the Langley Lawn Cemetery says: “In loving memory of wife, mother, grandmother, Margaret Plett: Jan. 16, 1921-July 15, 1997, at peace forever.” Every word is true.
- Peter Plett
I’ve added GRANDMA numbers and other information from genealogical research to this obituary, which was read at Margaret’s funeral.
Margaret Lammert Koop Plett (1921-1997) [#1340893]
Margaret was born on 16 Jan. 1921 in a small Siberian village, Sverolovsk, Sverdlovskaya Oblast, Russia, to Jakob Lammert [#1022722] and Margaretha Dyck [#1022715]. The family soon moved to Neu Schoensee, Sagradovka, which was her home for many years.
On 30 October 1943, the village was forced to evacuate with the German army. They packed all they could into covered wagons pulled by horses and left their homes. They made their way to Poland, where she and her parents lived for about a year. Margaret worked for wealthy families as a nanny and housekeeper, and later worked in a military hospital for the German army.
Soon the Russian front approached and they had to leave again. Because Margaret’s brother, John [#791749], was serving in the army, the family was able to move to western Germany. During this trip they encountered the Russians. Margaret and her parents escaped, but her brother was captured by the Russians. John was only 17 years old, and spent the next ten years as a prisoner of war.
On 4 June 1948, Margaret and her parents came to Canada. They were sponsored by Margaret’s uncle Frank Dyck (1897-1970) [#641811]. They started out in Yarrow, B.C., but soon managed to buy some land on 240th Street in Langley, B.C.
Margaret immediately went to work in Vancouver, first as a housekeeper and nanny, then in a fish cannery. During the week, she stayed at the Mary Martha Girls’ home, a Mennonite residence that provided mentoring and fellowship that yielded lifelong friends. Margaret returned home on weekends to help at the farm.
In July, 1954, Margaret married Thomas Koop (1912-1988) [#751559].
Thomas tragically lost both his parents, David Koop [#751562] and Anna Paul [#1069992], at a young age in Muensterberg, Molotschna. Thomas was then taken in by his uncle Paul Thomas Koop [#751569], while his siblings went to other relatives (Katya #751560 went to Paul Paul Koop #711812 and Frank #751561 went to Peter Paul Koop #751576 in Ekaterinoslav). All were reunited when the three families came to Canada on the S.S. Montroyal on 28 Nov. 1928. Thomas and his siblings were then identified as children of their new families.
The Koops settled in Saskatchewan, but Thomas’ new family later made their way to British Columbia, where he met and married Margaret.
In the 1950s, Thomas and Margaret had two children, John and Kathy. Thomas worked at a variety of occupations, including strawberry farming, prospecting and municipal work. He and Margaret were members of Bethel Mennonite Church in Langley.
Thomas suffered a stroke in about 1978. Margaret became his full-time caregiver, and served her husband lovingly until his death on 11 January 1988.
In the fall of 1989, Margaret found love again. Peter Plett [#809854] had lived in the same village of Neu Schoensee, Sagradovka. They met again in Canada and were friends for years. After the death of Peter’s first wife, they were engaged by Christmas and married on 3 Feb. 1990 in the Bethel Mennonite Church in Langley, B.C.
The couple enjoyed cruises to Alaska and the Carribean. For several years they spent one winter month in Hawaii, joined by other couples from their church. They also travelled to Germany, and saw Margaret’s brother, John [#791749], right after he immigrated from Russia.
About a year before her death, Margaret became ill, and in the spring of 1997 was diagnosed with cancer. Before her passing, she accepted her fate and was at peace with God. She passed away quietly on 15 July 1997.
Margaret was survived by her husband Peter Plett [#809854], son John Koop and his wife Charlene, daughter Kathy Gore and her husband Mike; stepchildren, Rudy Plett [#1079810] and his wife Diane [Chenery #1081001], Kathy Plett [#1079811] and her husband Paul Seens [#1409869], Peter Plett [#1079812] and his wife Debbie, Irene Plett [#809855], John Plett [#1080997] and his wife Aleesha; and fourteen grandchildren.
She will live in our hearts forever.
Flowers in Peter and Margaret's garden
Irene Plett is a writer, poet and animal lover living in South Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.