Inducted: November 16, 2010
Margaret Nauta had the example of hard-working and selfless parents to inspire her to serve agriculture and her community in ways that have won her recognition and praise.
In 2003, she received a Volunteer Service Award from the Province of Ontario. The following year, she was chosen Blenheim Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, and in 2005, she won a Chatham-Kent Achievement Award for 25 years of hard work in 4-H.
Her parents set her a shining example. Her father, Peter Lugtigheid, with the support of his wife, the former Edith Russell, helped hundreds of Dutch immigrants push down roots in Canada, using his experience to guide the newcomers. This labour of love won for Peter, a Netherlands Knighthood, along with a place in the Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Margaret was born in Kent, and attended S.S. 2 ½ Harwich Township and Blenheim District High School before graduating in 1958 from London Teachers' College, and in 1978, she graduated from the University of Windsor. She taught first Grades 2 ,3, 4 and 5 at Lochiel School, Sarnia, until her marriage in 1962 to Ralph Nauta. They farmed on the A.D. Shadd Road.
After her marriage, she taught from 1962 – 1964 at John N. Given School in Chatham; then from 1965 – 1967, at Cedar Springs Public School. In both Chatham and Cedar Springs, she was involved with the early grades 2-4, the formative years when children first develop their attitudes to school and education. She was a wonderful influence on her young pupils.
Margaret's next challenge was teaching at the Southwest Regional Centre School from 1968 – 1985. This was followed by three years at Wyoming Public School; and four years in Special Education and Resources at Lambton Centennial School. For the next five years, three schools, East Sombra Central, Brooke Central Public School and Brigden Public School shared her talents. There she worked with Grade 5 Math, Grade 6 English, and Resource.
This was followed by a six-month stint at Cottam Christian School, and from 1998 – 2005, she did supply teaching.
With typical energy, Marg decided in 1978 to breathe new life into the Merlin Community 4-H Club. This was inspired by her conviction that 4-H activities are a good preparation for life, and she wanted her children to experience them. She threw herself, whole-heartedly, into 4-H. In a typical week, her 4-H members would attend a Judging Night, where they would have the challenge of judging meat, livestock and vegetables, after preparation at regular club meetings.
Each fall, her 4-H Club sends samples of soybeans, wheat and corn to the Royal Ontario Winter Fair, in Toronto, for judging; and she arranged a bus trip to the fair. She served as a member and Chairperson of the 4-H Awards Committee; and she organized a 4-H Achievement Night in her community.
Associates in 4-H are enthusiastic in their praise of her dedication. "She is interested in each 4-H member, and anxious to see them all do their best", one of them said.
Marg has worked hard for Census Canada; in 2001 and 2005, as a Crew Leader and in 2006, as Supervisor. She has acted as a kindly Judge for Public Speaking Contests.
In 1973, she became a canvasser for the Canadian Cancer Society, and, with typical energy and enthusiasm, she became a Captain, and has since continued in that fund-raising role.
In the tradition of her parents, she helps senior citizens with their bookkeeping, with their shopping, with their income tax, or with anything where help is needed. This has extended to a kind of loving interest. As one friend said, "Marg lives the Golden Rule."
As her father did, she prizes her Canadian citizenship and she has worked in municipal, provincial and federal elections.
The Nautas have three children: Nancy (Dan) Rowland, of Cheltenham, near Brampton, who is following her mother's career choice, and teaches for the Peel County Board of Education; Brenda (Rob) Koldyk, Ridgetown, a Special Constable with the Chatham-Kent Police Services; and Randy, Chatham, with the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority. There are six grandchildren.
"Marg", according to a friend, "has never said 'no' to someone in need. She is a good neighbour, a good friend, and a good citizen."