Margot van Reyk
Born 2 December 1927, entered eternal life 5 September 2021
Eulogy by Trudie Balthazaar, Margot’s niece.
Margot really was a pioneer of the modern independent woman, especially for her times, and like most of us enjoyed a great movie. If ever there was a Hollywood movie to be made it would certainly be about the life of Margot and her siblings.
One of 12 children, two of her siblings – Horace and Rose – died as infants. Their father Aloysius was a lawyer and married Beda nee Caspersz. Sadly, in 1939 their mother died; Margot was only 12. Following their mother’s death, the family was separated and sent to live with various extended family members. When the eldest son graduated as a lawyer and was able to support them all financially, the family was able to rent a home and be reunited.
The Van Reyk family grew up in the hilly city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. They endured the war years and after the war ended, they began to live life again to the fullest. There was no technology, just a great love of being around people. They were surrounded by beautiful parks, beaches and enjoyed many ballroom dances with the big bands.
Margot attended the Good Shepherd Convent in Kandy, was a Girl Guide, and eventually the family all settled in Colombo. Whilst the family lived in Colombo, Margot ran the household, managed the finances, and arranged many memorable dinner parties. Margot was career-minded and held a very senior role in the Ceylon Tobacco Company where she was part of an Executive Group of Women who were picked up by the company van each day and driven to and from work. Her job gave her access to many benefits all of which she lovingly shared with her family.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the family was once again separated when they decided to each migrate overseas. Two of the sisters settled in the UK and the rest of the family migrated to Australia and once again, as in all great movies there was a great ending when in the 1990s the two sisters in the UK decided to retire to Australia. The Van Reyk 10 were once again reunited and shared many happy, memorable times together.
For most of her life in Australia, Margot lived in Camberwell, where she was a valued member of the church community here at Our Lady of Victories.
Margot loved shopping on Burke Road and was well known to many of the shop assistants, mainly because she would purchase something only to change her mind and return it the next day! She was always elegantly dressed, wearing her favorite local labels of Country Road, Sportscraft and Blue Illusion.
She also had a few ‘go to’ restaurants in Camberwell – Laurent for brunch, Ebony Quill for lunch, but her favorite at any time of day was Okra, where Freddie the waiter would pay her lovely compliments and entertain her and her guests with songs.
Margot was intelligent, witty, and fiercely independent, travelled the world and enjoyed the finer things in life including a nice drop of whisky – just one glass at night!
Margot was loyal and very supportive of her family. In return, her family loved her, admired her life and career.
In the last few months, as her health declined, Margot found it hard to comprehend that she was now the one to be cared for.
Margot’s family extend their thanks to the doctors and nurses who cared for her at Box Hill Hospital, St Vincent’s and Cabrini Hospital as well as all the staff at St Vincent’s Care Services in Hawthorn where Margot spent the last few years. Margot appreciated the care from the staff and the friendship of her fellow residents.
Margot will be sadly missed by all her family.
Forever in our hearts.