Magda’s early life with her parents William and Ruby (née Hull) and brother Bob Paterson in Hornchurch, Essex, was a happy one, if interrupted by the Blitz, and noise of the military base near the local cinema and bomb shelter, where her father was an air raid warden. A bright child, Magda won a scholarship to the Ursuline Convent Grammar School in Brentwood and, upon graduation, like many young women of her generation, went to secretarial school, in Oxford. Hired immediately by the Westminster Bank in Threadneedle Street, Magda worked in their Foreign Office, a very happy time in her life.
At 17, she also started to teach ballroom dance, where one of her callow students was a young John Moyes. Eight years later, they married and moved to Newfoundland for John’s work in the marine business. They were quickly brought into the fold of the St. John’s Players, where they made many fast and lifelong friends, and soon thereafter with theatre people as well as fishermen and their wives throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
Adopted second Mum to many, maker of muffins with secret ingredients (coconut and chocolate chips) whose amazing smell, combined with Magda’s quiet giggle and hospitality, kept our family friends, young and old, coming back. Elegant and beautiful, Magda created a home with John that reflected all her qualities. Social gatherings always involved excellent food, conversation – and lots of dancing. All were welcome and invited to be their true and best selves at Forest Road.
Boxing Day curries, 56 years and counting, are now her grandchildren’s favourite Christmas event too. And dancing around the dining room table afterwards!
Magda had a long career as personal secretary at the university, working on contract in several Departments, always irreplaceable. Her favourite was Folklore, with Herbert Halpert and John Widdowson. She transcribed and typed two seminal books, More Than 50%, on women’s work in Newfoundland, by Hilda Murray, and Folktales of Newfoundland (Halpert and Widdowson).
Magda leaves to mourn her loving husband of 58 years, John Moyes; her children Louise (Mark), Jonathan, and Rebecca (Terry), and grandchildren Stella & Ava (mother Ann), Gabriel, Kate, and Ash; Sister and brother-in-law Marie and Peter Garner, niece Deb Paterson and extended Paterson and Moyes family in the UK; Special friends Lisa and Donald Hurd, Pauline Sadler and Catherine Maret.
Many thanks to Drs Al Assaed and McIsaac at the Bliss Murphy Centre and their team as well as the nurses and staff at 4 North B HSC.
A private funeral will be held. Interment will be at the Forest Rd Cemetery. A celebration of Magda’s life will follow, in the garden at Forest Road in the summer. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to attend. In lieu of flowers, donations in Magda’s memory may be made to the Dr. H Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation or the Salvation Army.