The funeral service was held on Thursday 11th February 2021 at Kensal Green Cemetery
Due to limited capacity, attendance was by invitation only. However, personal tributes are shared below – and you are welcome to add yours.
I am Margie’s niece Sue, middle daughter of her sister Muriel who died 16 years ago. My sisters Janet and Hazel and I always loved visiting Aunty Margie and Uncle Duscan when we were children because they were always so much fun. After my mum died I thought of Margie as my surrogate mum and tried to see her as much as possible. My deep regret is that my sisters and I had to cancel our last get together because of Covid. She will be remembered by me as being the most beautiful and funny lady, loved by everyone who knew her. God bless her.
Our families first met when I started Primary school with Ana and we lived in the same road. Margaret always made me feel so welcome with her kindness, wonderful cooking and infectious energy, and the Novakovic house quickly became my second home. In the early 60’s Margaret took Ana & Sara to Yugoslavia for the first time and I remember turning up daily to help Dušan build a play house in the garden for their return. Looking back I must have been in the way but was made to feel indispensable, and Margaret even bought me a thank you present!
Sara & I arranged for our Mothers to meet up for a lovely lunch together just before lockdown. We couldn’t get a word in but watching them laughing together was enough!
Margaret had a rare balance of strength and compassion and will be missed by everyone blessed to have known her.
Auntie Margie was my favourite auntie by far. Growing up , I thought she was so cool. Who wouldn’t want an auntie who could do handstands and cartwheels with ease?
It was very clear to me that she was a wonderful mum and passionately adored my cousins, Ana and Sara, and my Uncle Dusan. I always looked forward to our visits, the delicious meals and the fun games we used to play, especially at Christmas. She was such fun and would often break into song such as traditional Christmas carols, songs from musicals but in particular i remember her rendition of ‘ Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill’. She had such a beautiful voice.
I used to love rifling through her bookcase too. She always had so many interesting books.
I loved the many visits to Kew Gardens with my auntie Margie too.
Just before my dad’s funeral in 1992 she came to stay with my mum, Muriel. She was an absolute tonic for mum who was really struggling. She was so kind and calm and it was so evident of the love that she had for her older sister.
When i look back at the times spent with my dear auntie, they are genuinely filled with love and happiness.
It’s hard to convey the sheer awe I experienced around Margaret. In that secret contest of your favorite friends’ mothers, she easily remained my solid number one throughout the decades. I was a mere slip of a lad from Dublin at college in Reading, and Sara would sometimes bring me to 46 The Avenue for visits (and the fabulous annual slava), and Margaret would always be in the middle of something fascinating (like yet another Open University course) or involved in some local collective doing quite mad stuff. I’d never met a mom like her. She’d already be in the middle of reading books that Melvyn Bragg had just discovered, had seen theater shows long before the public paid attention, and was genuinely interested in people from all walks and slithers of life. Curious to a fault – the only person I knew who ever named (most if not all) the Stan countries west of India. But what I loved most was her rare calm ability to hear people (which is very different from listening). She saw them for who they were, not for what they were, and invisibly asked their souls to dance with hers. As often as possible, on my trips home from California, I’d urge Sara to carve out a visit with Margaret, and we’d all sit on the sofa and catch up with enthusiasm and laughter over utterly inelegant gin & tonics on a wet afternoon. And I’ll miss that so very much. The end of a golden era. She was an adventurer at heart, a jolly joker at home, a damn good laugh, and was the exquisite glue that made this family so wonderful and blessed.
Maggie was my beloved cousin through marriage. Her late husband Dusan was my father’s nephew. My father lived in London for a short while after immigrating from Serbia and was very close to Dusan, Maggie and Dusan’s father. When I was 14 years old my parents sent me to London for a month to stay with them and our close friendship began. During that month Dusan and Maggie took me to all of the sites that London has to offer and I also grew very close to Sara and Ana even though I was a few years older. They came to Toronto Canada to stay with my family when I was about 20 and I continued to visit them many times over the years. In recent years I visited more often and am so happy that I did since the memories with Maggie will be forever cherished. Dinners and lunches in Kew Village and elsewhere. Sara held annual Easter lunches for the family. I had time with Maggie when Sara was working and enjoyed my chats, a few sherrys, and talking about our respective families and life. Maggie was a modern, intelligent, passionate and fun person and I gravitated towards her warmth and energy. I will miss everything about her and would be in London if it was not for COVID and travel restrictions. Rest in peace my beautiful friend and cousin. I am sure you have been reunited with Dusan.
I first met Maggie many years ago when we were both studying with the Open University and went on to work together in a voluntary group helping Open University students with their studies. I have many happy memories of visits we would make taking students to museums, galleries and walks around London and beyond. Foreign trips were a highlight and Maggie’s curiosity to look inside an out of the way church or explore a local market was infectious. As a group we also had many happy hours at Maggie’s home, either mailing out our programme or at the Christmas parties she would kindly host for the tutors and lecturers we worked with during the year. Her home was always warm and friendly and Maggie a joy to be with. She was a wonderful friend to both me and Val.
To our dearest Maggie. We all got together through the Open University and that was the beginning of nearly 30 years of friendship, laughter and tears, holidays at home and abroad, parties, your wonderful and generous hospitality, many happy lunches and quite a few glasses raised. You were an inspiration to us all and we promise to carry on misbehaving together, as you would expect, as soon as possible! Sleep well darling.
Lots of love from the VMRs – Nita, Della, Pat, Mary, Jenny and Karen (in the Emerald Isle).
I first knew Maggie through the Open University. I had been an OU student and then became an OU tutor, and Maggie was a student and then worked for the OU arts society. She would come every year to speak to my students about the society and tell them what fun they would have if they joined. And Maggie always had fun. She was so lovely to be with – interested in everything, joyful, full of life. Ted and I went to her 80th birthday party at the Avenue Centre in Kew, where there was folk dancing, eating and drinking and, as always, lots of fun. She was the first person to start a scrabble group in the Richmond U3A and I went every fortnight to her house to play scrabble and we all laughed such a lot. She won quite often too! We were in the same yoga group and Maggie was there until it had to close because of Covid. The last time I saw her was after a yoga session when I went back to her flat and we had soup and played a game of scrabble, which she won! I shall always treasure her friendship, and the welcoming atmosphere she created in her lovely home.
Maggie was a dear friend and a good neighbour. She woke up earlier than us and the light in her kitchen window was like a daily greeting. She organised the Fabyc Singing Group (which even did the occasional performance), insisting that we did proper ‘warm-ups’ . She found us songs to enjoy – always ambitious and discretely encouraging us to do better. A challenge and great fun. John and I will miss her very much.
Mona and I only got to know Maggie (never Margaret to us) about fifteen years ago. The two ‘M’s were in the Barnes choir together and I suspect they found that they were kindred spirits — rebelling against authority and hugely enjoying various European trips with The Really Big Chorus. They would often share a room and I know there were issues over snoring: Mona believed she slept soundlessly, Maggie knew otherwise and was prepared to admit that occasionally she herself emitted involuntary sounds at night. Friendship triumphed in the end — although late-sleeper Mona was never quite reconciled herself to her room-mate’s early-rising habit. Despite these differences, together they happily sang, ate and drank their way around wonderful choral venues — like Sarajevo and Handel’s christening church in Halle.
Mona introduced the doughty eighty-year-old Maggie to badminton, which she played very enthusiastically for several years. The pair would go on long shopping exhibitions which would often finish up with enjoyable afternoon teas in our garden in Sheen. I loved Maggie’s visits — she was always so elegant, so positive, such good fun.
Mona departed nearly two years ago now. Maggie saw her a little time before she died. They were very close. Rest in peace, Maggie.
I first knew Maggie through an Open University Study Tour to Italy and knew her even better within the group which became known as the VMR – the Venetian Marathon Runners – so- called because of a serious run to catch a train. We continued to meet for holidays, study days and lunches. We all loved her and thought of her as our role model because she was so youthful, ‘up’ for anything interesting or unusual and full of energy at any time of the day or night. Being with Maggie guaranteed not only fun but help and compassion when it was needed. We loved her openness, her cheerfulness, her generous hospitality – and insistence on hot hot hot coffee.
Thank you, Maggie, you enriched my life and the life of those who knew you. I shall miss you.
We met on an Open University trip to Italy in 1997 and six of us, ‘The Trotters – Jack, Ted, Mary, Maggie, Gill and me,’ continued to get together for short holidays abroad, and lunches in London, until 2019. Our foreign city visits were always filled with culture and art (thanks to Mary) but there was also much fun and laughter.
A particular memory of Maggie, on an LRAC group trip to New York in May 2000, was when at Gatwick she mentioned at check-in that it was her birthday. The result was that she and I were given an upgrade to 1st class, and we laughed all the way there, enjoying the champagne, nicer food and luxurious seats. While we were in New York, she organised a celebratory helicopter flight over the city and Hudson River for four of us, which was amazing. Typical Maggie – doing everything in style – an example to us all. I shall miss her.
Thanks to the Serbian tradition of extended families, I have an enormous number of aunts. But Margaret always stood out – in the best possible way. She was married to my father’s cousin Dusan, and my father – like everyone else – absolutely adored her. He never forgot the immense kindness and affection she had shown him when he arrived in London from Yugoslavia after the Second World War. And I’ll never forget this marvellous, warm-hearted, clever, hilarious, fun-loving woman with a huge heart and an even bigger laugh. Margaret was always such a joy to be with, and brought so much life to everything she touched.
I am Margaret’s distant niece. Dearest uncle Dušan was our granny Sofia’s cousin. We got to know both Dušan and Margaret in Knin-Croatia when they used to come yearly in their Volvo caravan full of interesting and, at the time, exotic things for so many of their friends and relatives. We loved having them with us and looked forward to every summer when they would bring their joyous characters, love and happiness in heaps to share. Dearest Maggie would correct our basic English at the time and we would help her learn Serbo-Croatian. She was a fast learner and interested in our culture, country and history. Through her we learned to appreciate where we came from. I loved her eagerness to learn different foods, music, dance and, above all, her ability to blend into any crowd with such ease. She was the best hostess one could imagine. Every visit and stay with her was memorable. I was happy she got to meet my husband and girls, Simona and Sofia. It didn’t take long for all of them to realise what an incredible woman Maggie was. We loved family gatherings whenever we would visit London, because she always made sure to clear her schedule, to be there with us. I am so grateful for having gotten to know you dear Maggie and sad that we hadn’t managed to meet up with you for the past couple of years. Please know, however, that you will continue to live in our hearts and memories. Enjoy your after life, united with the love of your life, Dušan. I am sure, as Sarah said, you’re having a ball together and continuing where you stopped. Love you forever.
Kensal Green Cemetery
Directions by car:
The entrance to the cemetery is in Harrow Road, only 15 minutes drive from the West End via Edgware Road, and 5 minutes from M40/Westway via Scrubs Lane.
Enter via the West Gate on Harrow Road and follow the route shown in yellow on the map opposite. Parking is along the verges, or there is a tarmac area near the pedestrian entry East Gate. Please be mindful the hearse will need to park as near to the graveside as possible so to leave room.
The grave details are:
Grave no: 63327, Section 21, Row: P5