93-year-old grandmother, maker of thousands of hats for First Nations babies, dies in Sioux
A funeral is scheduled for Peggy Sanders on Monday morning in Sioux Lookout, Ont.
A 93-year-old woman who was known as a grandmother to many more than her 10 biological grandchildren is being remembered for her community service in Sioux Lookout, Ont.
Margaret Anne 'Peggy' Sanders, died on July 25. Her funeral is being held in Sioux Lookout on Monday.
She is perhaps best known for the hats she would knit for newborns at former federal hospital in Sioux Lookout, where expectant mothers from remote First Nations were sent, often alone, to deliver their babies.
"That was her gift to so many women in the north," says long-time Sioux Lookout resident and community activist Susan Barclay, who estimates Sanders made thousands of hats. "She is a grandma to so many people.
"She would get to know people —and that's all people, it didn't matter who you were — Peggy wanted to know about you, and was there to support you in whatever you were doing," she added.
Sanders was engaging in acts of reconciliation before the concept was in the common vernacular, Barclay said.
"She was building bridges more than 40 years ago, by visiting with, particularly the young women who were out having their babies, but just being a friend to people who were here in the hospital, lonely, " she said.
When the provincial and federal hospitals were amalgamated, Sanders played a key role in fundraising and bringing together different factions in the community, Barclay said.
"She had a very quiet gently way of going about it,"she said. "She could be quite insistent, but she wasn't overly pushy."
Sanders was also involved in many other acts of community service including volunteer work at the library and her church.
Her legacy lives on in others in Sioux Lookout whom she inspired to take up knitting for newborns.
"That's a gift of Peggy's that will keep going on," Barclay said.