It is with great sadness the Cockburn family announces the death of Marjorie (Mardi) Teresa Cockburn O.N.B., BA, DL on October 10, 2023 at her home.
Mardi was a devoted and loving wife of the late George William (Bill) Norman Cockburn, judge of the Provincial Court of NB and former Cabinet Minister of NB, whom she married on August 21, 1954 in St. Stephen's Presbyterian Church.
She is survived by her three children George William (Bill) Allan Cockburn of Fredericton, Beth Susanne Cockburn-Savoie of Sackville, NB and Richard Blair Cockburn of Fredericton. She is also survived by her son-in-law Emile Savoie, daughter-in-law Lisa, grandchildren Chelsey, Micaela and Katelin, and great grandchildren Rayna and Violet, nephews Michael, Sean, Jamie, Peter Ryan and several grand nephews and nieces. She was predeceased by her brother Patrick A. A. Ryan.
The love and support Mardi and Bill shared with their children and grandchildren will be a treasured memory and an important part of their families' lives. She was very devoted to her family.
Mardi was born April 10, 1931 in Fredericton the only daughter of Allan Ryan (1907-1952) and Marjorie Eleanor (Burden) Ryan (1911-1952) both of Fredericton.
She was a graduate of the University of New Brunswick in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. Mardi retained a lifelong interest with UNB sitting on the Board of Governors, the Senate, being President of Associated Alumnae culminating in receiving an honorary Doctorate Degree in 2014. While at UNB she was the Atlantic Intramural Mixed Badminton Champion.
Mardi suffered tragedy early in her life when her parents drowned in 1952. As a consequence all her children had to learn how to swim. She did not let this tragedy define her as she always remained optimistic.
She raised her family in St. Stephen before she and Bill moved to Fredericton. They were each other’s best friend.
Mardi was a lifelong activist starting in St. Stephen where she began as a volunteer at the St. Croix Public Library and worked her way through the regional, provincial and national library bodies to become President of the Canadian Library Trustee Association in 1985. She was a lifelong advocate of reading. She always wanted to better her communities and volunteered herself and her children in many activities.
She was full of energy and involved in many organizations. Some were the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire, The Playhouse, Region 3 Hospital Board (Fredericton), the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital Foundation Board, the Huntsman Marine Advisory Board, and the Progressive Conservative Party.
She received many awards for her activities some of which are;
The Order of New Brunswick. The highest award the province can give.
Honorary Doctorate Degree from UNB
Diamond Jubilee Medal awarded by Queen Elizabeth II
Golden Jubilee Medal awarded by Queen Elizabeth II
Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Confederation of Canada in recognition of significant contribution to compatriots, community and to Canada from the Government of Canada for outstanding service and contribution as a volunteer
Engraved tray from the Hon. Margaret Norrie McCain, Lt. Gov. of NB in appreciation for service during her term of office
Richard B. Hatfield Award for “Making a Difference” in New Brunswick
Paul Harris award given by the Rotary club of Fredericton for leadership in their community.
Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Fredericton in recognition of distinguished service to the enrichment of our community
Theatre New Brunswick presented annually a Mardi Cockburn Award at the High School Drama Festival, for a female demonstrating the most professional potential at the festival
Mardi also golfed, curled, played bridge earning her bronze life master, was a avid reader, monarchist, loved theatre, a world traveller and was always on the go. She never wanted to slow down and remained active to the end. She believed in the adage “It is better to wear out than rust out.”
She was an independent, loyal, hard working and a strong willed person. She was a fighter surviving two bouts of cancer and a major stroke. She fought other ailments, arthritis and aging. She never gave up. She never complained even when she was in great pain.
Mardi will be remembered for her kind heart and her love of family and friends. Her presence will be deeply missed but her memory will live on in the hearts of all those who had the privilege of knowing her.
Her support for family, friends and community were exceptional and is best summed up by author Wendy McLeod MacKnight who remarked one evening when she saw Mardi at an event, “Mardi Cockburn is here, she is legendary”.
A visitation will take place at McAdam’s Funeral Home on Tuesday, October 17, 2023 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. A Memorial Service will be held at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, October 18, 2023 at 2:00 pm. A recording of the service is available at the following link: https://vimeo.com/873098725
In lieu of flowers, as an expression of sympathy, donations may be made in memory of Mardi Cockburn to the University of New Brunswick. Please direct donations to the Alumnae Scholarships online at unb.ca/memorialgift, telephoned to 506-447-3122 or send to: Memorial Gifts c/o Development & Donor Relations, University of New Brunswick, P.O. Box 4400, Fredericton, NB E3B 5A3.