The Brydons

Scotland to Canada

Margaret Jean Marie Armstrong

Female 1930 - 2019  (88 years)


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  • Name Margaret Jean Marie Armstrong 
    Born 12 Jul 1930 
    Gender Female 
    Died 12 Mar 2019 
    Person ID I1965  Brydon family tree
    Last Modified 29 Apr 2019 

    Father Clark Armstrong,   b. Northern Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Mother Ellen,   b. Northern Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Family ID F433  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family James Arthur Brydon,   b. Jan 1927,   d. 11 Mar 1969, Toronto, York Co., Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 42 years) 
    Married 9 May 1956  St. Albans Anglican Church, Beamsville, Lincoln Co., Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. William James Clarke Brydon
     2. Jo Ellen Brydon
    Last Modified 14 Apr 2010 
    Family ID F650  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 9 May 1956 - St. Albans Anglican Church, Beamsville, Lincoln Co., Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Weddings
    Brydon - Armstrong marriage
    Brydon - Armstrong marriage
    James Arthur Brydon marries Margaret Armstrong

    Globe and Mail

  • Notes 
    • Ms. Brien was always able to deliver a snappy one liner, even in her final years. Not long before Ms. Brien's death on March 12 at the age of 88, JoEllen was speaking to her mother's doctor about how she no longer needed to stay hydrated and should only drink for pleasure. "Don't let it out that I only drink for pleasure!" she wisecracked from her nearby bed.
      Margaret Jean Armstrong was born on July 12, 1930, the youngest with two older brothers. Her parents, Clarke and Ellen Armstrong, had immigrated from Northern Ireland in the 1920s and grew grapes and peaches at their farm in Beamsville, Ont.
      Ms. Brien did her BA in journalism at Western University, graduating in 1951, and then travelled west to work for the government of Saskatchewan's publications division. There, she became a fan of premier Tommy Douglas and a lifelong devotee of the NDP party.
      She briefly worked at the London Free Press and then got hired to work at The Globe in Toronto. Her work there included producing profiles of a British politician, a woman who ran a large cleaning business and a VON nurse. "Yesterday, I walked with an angel,"
      was her opening line for that story.
      At The Globe, she met Arthur Brydon, who covered labour and then headed the Queen's Park bureau. The two married in 1956 and, because of a company policy that forbade married couples to work together, she had to resign. "I don't think she was happy about it. I think she was jealous of dad being able to work," JoEllen says.
      The couple had two children, but Ms. Brien kept writing on a freelance basis for The Globe and had a regular column in Quill & Quire, reviewing children's books. In 1966, she took over the Elizabeth Thompson Advises column, which began as a five-daya-week column and reduced in frequency as the years passed.
      In 1969, Arthur died of complications related to his Type 1 diabetes. "She was a survivor," recalls Ms. Ashton of how Ms. Brien coped at the time. For money to support her family, she got a job for a few years, working in communications for the Children's Aid Society, but then returned to freelancing and began teaching part time at
      Ryerson.
      Through a teaching colleague, she met Joseph Benoit Brien everyone called him Ben ? a former businessman, and the two married in 1971 and moved to a farm in Bailieboro, Ont., outside Peterborough. She kept writing and teaching, but in 1978, her managing editor at The Globe decided that staff members would open her Elizabeth Thompson letters and only allow her to reply to those that were signed and they could verify. "She was very angry about that," says JoEllen, as Ms. Brien believed the most in need of
      support could not turn to friends and needed to stay anonymous. When she resigned, The Globe discontinued the column.
      In her later years, now living in Peterborough, Ms. Brien volunteered at the Peterborough Art Gallery and then was hired towork weekends. Ben also volunteered at the gallery until close to his death in 2012 at the age of 96. Ms. Brien kept in close touch with her class from Western and maintained lifelong friendships. "She was a staunch friend. If you needed anything she'd give you the proverbial shirt off her back,"
      Ms. Ashton says.
      Her Irish heritage was a huge part of her identity. Friends could tell when she'd just had a phone call from a family member, as she'd slip into an Irish accent for a short while after. She used Irish idioms and would often break out in traditional Irish songs. Ms. Ashton herself still knows the words to The Wild Colonial Boy, she heard
      her friend sing it so many times.
      Jean Brien leaves her brother, Cyril; son and daughter; two stepsons; two grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.