Surrounded by family, Martha Watt died peacefully, on her own terms and with a Drambuie toast, on January 20, 2023 at the age of 71.
Martha was the strongest woman, and exceptional until the end. It took a rare complication of CLL to end her life, one of the few times anything has succeeded in overtaking her.
Martha's life was about defying expectations and pushing boundaries. A talented mathematician, she chose to become a computer scientist in the days when few women could see this path as an option, and was the only woman on her team in CSIS. In her retirement, she was the most generous and loving mother and grandmother imaginable. This extended to the broader community as she happily opened her home, and especially her pool, to all the neighbourhood families, and was always ready to share freshly baked treats and new toys.
We will remember her indomitable spirit and extraordinary resilience from beneath one of the cozy crocheted blankets she so generously made for her loved ones, and every new baby her community welcomed. She also crocheted blankets to donate to charity auctions for her favourite local animal rescue. Her kindness and generosity were matched only by her math and puzzle-loving brain. Her siblings will always remember her as a rock of a big sister, always having their backs and offering loving support, through tough times and good.
Martha was predeceased by her loving husband Michael Gareau and is survived by her three children, Leah Jurkovic (David Clements), Lucas Jurkovic (Laura Blair), Rebecca Jurkovic (Jeffrey Ireson); her three siblings, Laura (Ken) , PaulaLynn, Graham (Denise); grandchildren Rebecca, Benjamin, Jack; and a loving extended family of both Watts and Gareaus.
Join us at the Beechwood National Memorial Centre, 280 Beechwood Avenue on Saturday, February 11, 2023 between 1-3pm to celebrate Martha.
Please do NOT send flowers, but instead donate in her honour to her favourite dog rescue Sit With Me or to the incredible team that supported her at the Ottawa General Hospital Foundation.
Judy and Paul Meyer
Great chats, sharing laughter, good food and wine, these are the moments I will so dearly miss my dear friend. Our time together was always quality time!
A truly wonderful, generous woman: great friend and colleague; fine mother, grandmother and mother-in-law. And so, you will be missed immensely.
May your journey to Michael, who waits for you with open arms, be a peaceful one.
My heartfelt condolences to Leah, Lucas and Rebecca and all your families. I can only imagine the depth of your loss, God bless, XO.
I miss you immensely Martha?
You were the most patient person I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I’m wish we lived closer so I could see you often, but you were always in my heart and never far from my thoughts.
Give Uncle Michael my love you when you’re reunited with him. You will always be remembered.
Dear Leah, Lucas, and Rebecca,
You may not remember me, but I did get to meet you decades ago when you were children when I and Irene, my wife then, visited your family in Ottawa. Martha was my first Canadian friend when I immigrated to Waterloo in 1969. I don’t remember how we first met, probably because of the connection between her and my fathers, who were both professors at the University there. But I distinctly remember Martha inviting me to play tennis, and our friendship grew from there. Later we attended some computer science classes together, and later again, when Martha worked in the Computer Center, and I had a job programming at the EE department, she sometimes shared a special code to get my executions done faster. Funny the details one remembers. We remained connected friends, seeing each other often in Waterloo, and later less frequently in Ottawa, until I moved to the US in 1986. That was well before the internet, and I was never good at letter writing/phone conversations, so we lost touch. Much later, while on a business trip to Ottawa in June 2012, I contacted Martha and more or less invited myself to dinner. That’s when I met Michael, who was at first very suspicious of this Czech from Martha’s past, but I must have turned out OK. Martha and Michael invited me and my wife Laurie to their house, and we did spend a few nights with them while on our vacation touring Ontario and Quebec in July 2015. I don’t remember any Drambuie, but I do remember the red wine that Martha loved and we shared, along with great conversations, in the evenings.
My deep condolences on the loss of your Mom. She truly was an extraordinary woman.
Auntie Martha was a wonderful, generous, loving person. Sending all my love as you all as you grieve.
Gilles and Lise Ranger
Our deepest condolences to all of Martha’s family. It was very nice running into Martha and chatting with her during our walks around the neighbourhood. Martha was a very nice person and will be missed.
Arpad (Ari) Abonyi & Ann Ericsson
Dear Leah, Lucas and Rebecca,
Please accept our deepest condolences. We are extremely sad to hear about Martha’s passing. While this is a painful time for all, there is much to remember and celebrate about a life, well lived and full of accomplishments. Ari has known Martha since 1974--as a friend, confidant, mother and a spirited independent woman who was a trailblazer, showing the way in balancing a cutting edge carrier while building a family, and doing it on her own terms. Ann has met Martha several times since we returned to Canada.
Martha was a woman of extraordinary qualities, a sharp mind and quick wit, making hard routines of daily life look easy. Martha was always setting clear examples for women in what can be achieved. She was a doer. She came out of the 60s with a university degree in an area where there were few women. She converted her knowledge to state of the art math/software consulting work. At the same time she focused and nurtured a family, ran the household and travelled, while being true to her independent calling.
Over the years she was a wonderful friend; a woman who you could confide in on a personal level as single/married male. And she was not afraid to share her own concerns and personal challenges freely in friendship. She was reassuring, confident and a role model.
She will be fondly remembered the many times spent together through visits, parties, dinners, private conversations and so much more. We will always admire her and look back to the good times--and there were many--that were spent together.
Ari & Ann
Leah, Lucas and Rebecca, I’m so sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. My sincere condolences to all of you and your families. She was a great woman. Well loved by all.
Dear Leah, Lucas and Rebecca, Our heartfelt condolences to you and the whole family at this difficult time.
We remember with warmth the many holidays, visits and outings the Meyer family shared with your family.
It's obvious from the beautiful obituary you wrote how much you appreciate your mother's contribution to your lives. I treasure our long friendship and admire her courage. She faced the many challenges life imposed with grace and a clear-eyed reality.
May your mother's memory be an inspiration and a blessing.