Mary McGregor

Mary McGregor
Mary McGregor - A Special Family Bond Prompts the Creation of a Music Legacy

A Special Family Bond Prompts the Creation of a Music Legacy

“Pay it forward” wasn't an expression used when Mary McGregor was a girl, but that's what she did and UVic music students are the better for it. 

Mary was born on a family farm in Manitoba. Her father was a gambler and plagued by debt, eventually losing all the land which had been in his family for three generations. That was the last straw for Olive, Mary's mother, so she left, taking Mary and her younger brother Claude to a small town in Saskatchewan, where they lived with Olive's sister.  

Olive eventually had to move away to Regina to find a job and left her kids behind. However, she visited often and provided monetary support for their upbringing. Mary said, “Through those years, my mother, brother and I remained a close and pretty self-sufficient circle.”

As Mary matured, her mother encouraged her to set aside funds to go to university. Mary slogged away at various jobs until finally, as a mature student supported by scholarships, she was able to go to Michigan and study psychology at Wayne State University.  

She became a child psychologist, working most of her life in the gargantuan Northville Psychiatric Institution outside Detroit. 

Claude was only 17 when WW II began and enlisted in the army when he became old enough. He was shipped to Ontario for training but the war ended before he could be sent overseas. There he married a widow with two daughters and became a travelling salesman; moving his family west across Canada and finally ending up in Sidney where they lived for many years.

Mary and Claude remained close and she visited his family often. Her great niece attended UVic and Mary toured the campus, admiring what she saw. She decided to establish the Olive, Mary and Claude McGregor Bursary in Music to commemorate their old family bond, the music they all loved and the value of education instilled in her by her mother. 

Mary supported this gift in perpetuity with the proceeds from a charitable remainder trust and told us that part of her motivation for setting up the scholarship at UVic was because she had been given scholarships while at Wayne State.

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