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Posted: Monday, December 1, 2003


University Mourns Death of Miss Marjorie McLean Oliver

Trent University is mourning the passing of Miss. Marjorie McLean Oliver, a friend of the University and generous donor.

Miss. Oliver passed away on November 28 at Princess Gardens Retirement Home. Predeceased by parents James McLean Oliver, Margaret Chase and sister Margaret Elizabeth Thurston, Miss Oliver was a long time resident of Bobcaygeon. She will be remembered by the many students she taught at Prince of Wales Public School, Peterborough.

"Marjorie was a great friend to Trent University and to many local educators," said Bonnie Patterson, President of Trent University, "and her many students will remember her fondly. In October, 1998 she honored her family name by generously donating her family's property on Pigeon Lake to Trent, providing our students and faculty access to an ecosystem that complements our focus on the natural sciences. With her passing, we are honored and grateful that her estate has designated the James McLean Oliver Ecological Centre at Trent University as the recipient of memorial gifts in Marjorie's memory."

The James McLean Oliver Ecological Centre is located on Pigeon Lake, 45 minutes north of Trent's main campus. The 270-acre waterfront property serves as an ecological field station and was established as a national focus for long term ecological and environmental research, in collaboration with other universities, government agencies, and local groups. At the time of the donation, Miss Oliver said, "I am so pleased to see how happy and interested the professors are at using the farm for environmental research. I think my father would be proud of the farm's new future."

The first of Marjorie Oliver's family to come to Canada was her great-grandfather, William Oliver, who emigrated from Scotland shortly after 1855. What is now the James McLean Oliver Ecological Centre has been in the Oliver family since 1868 when it was acquired by William Oliver's eldest son George Oliver (Marjorie Oliver's grandfather).

This property was used for mixed farming: hay, grains, vegetables, cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, chickens, and turkeys. They also planted an orchard. James McLean Oliver, his wife Margaret and two children Margaret and Marjorie, operated a tourist summer establishment which started in 1906 and continued until 1986. The brick house was built in 1903, and as the tourist operation expanded more buildings were added; two annexes, two sleeping cabins, two house keeping cottages, a sand beach and a cement slip for boats were added to accommodate visiting tourists. Farming and tourism continued for some years until farming gave way to simple pasturing of cattle on both parcels, east and west of Mill Line Road, this lasting until 1989.

Miss Marjorie Oliver had very fond memories of growing up on the shores of Pigeon Lake, particularly of helping her father with the evening chores, tapping trees to make maple syrup, and swimming in Pigeon Lake. Marjorie was schooled at Nogies Creek Public School before attending High School in Lindsay, Ontario. She then went on to Queen's University in Kingston where she obtained her teaching degree and later taught for the majority of her career in Peterborough at Prince of Wales Public School. The gift of the James McLean Oliver Ecological Centre to Trent has allowed teaching and learning to continue to be a part of the Oliver's legacy.

Visitation for Miss Oliver will be Tuesday, December 2 at Knox Presbyterian Church, Joseph Street, Bobcaygeon, from 1 pm until the time of the funeral service at 2 pm. Internment will take place at Verulam Cemetary. As expressions of sympathy donations to Trent University, James McLean Oliver Centre or a charity of choice would be appreciated by the estate. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the Mackey Funeral Home, Lindsay, (705) 328-2721.

To honor Miss Oliver the flag atop the Bata Library has been lowered to the half- mast position.

For more information about the James McLean Oliver Ecological Centre visit Trent's web site at:

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For more information contact:

Susan Mackle, Vice President, Advancement, (705) 748-1011, ext. 1207

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Last Updated December 10, 2003