Remembering Marg Kerr-Lawson

Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Margaret Kerr-Lawson

We were sad to hear of the recent passing of Marg Kerr-Lawson, who worked at the School of Optometry from 1980 until her retirement in 1995. Between 1976 and 1980, she was on staff at the University of Waterloo’s graduate office. 

With a background in nursing, Marg started off as clinic administrator, then became the School administrator. Three former School directors wrote in with their fond memories of her.

“She once described herself as acting as the School’s ‘Den Mother,’” said Dr. Bill Bobier. “I found that a very suitable description not only for the event she was describing but overall, for the diligent and caring way she looked after all members of the School. She was a truly wise and lovely person.”

“In addition to being an excellent den mother, Marg was the consummate cat herder,” said Dr. Graham Strong. “In her capacity as clinic administrator, Marg was faced with the oft futile task of trying to control and manage six categorical entities that were inherently uncontrollable: regular faculty, clinic faculty, part-time clinic faculty, school staff, and optometry students. She managed to do this admirably and I’ve often speculated how.”

“In a way, it was an extension of her nursing career, only she nursed a whole school instead of single patients in a hospital,” said Dr. Jacob Sivak. “No one was more devoted to the welfare of the School of Optometry than Marg.”

Marg was married to late math professor Dr. Angus Kerr-Lawson and they had two daughters, Leslie and Kate. During sabbatical leaves in Kyoto, Japan, Marg came to embrace Japanese culture.

“I remember how strongly Marg was influenced by living in Japan,” said Strong. “’Shikitogai’ is a Japanese philosophy that describes the ‘four virtues of conduct’ that are considered essential for leading a life of integrity, compassion, and excellence. These virtues are wisdom, benevolence, courage, and sincerity. They are believed to be interconnected and interdependent, and one cannot exist without the others. In retrospect this describes the magic behind Marg – her wisdom, benevolence, courage, and sincerity – and the key to her cat-herding prowess.”

Read Margaret Kerr-Lawson’s obituary