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In Memory of

Maggie Walkuski

Margaret Mary Theresa Walkuski nee Hennessey was born in Manchester on 16th January 1933 the daughter of Thomas Patrick “Killer” Hennessey and Edith (known as Edi) Hennessey nee Martin. She was the sister of the late Billy Hennessey and Sheila Campbell. She was mother to what she called the Magnificent Seven, grandmother to 15 grandchildren and great grandmother to 6 great grandchildren.


Maggie's story

To her Manchester family she was “our Margaret”, to others she was Madge, some knew her as Maggie but to me, her husband, she was Mags, my dearest Mags. The name Margaret means Pearl but to me she was a diamond. Mary means beloved. So, she was and is my beloved diamond. But it’s the name Theresa that probably epitomises her best as it implies one who is destined to work hard, one who is pretty, cute, beautiful. humorous, talented. She was all of those things and more. Mother, daughter, sister, wife, nurse, restaurateur, singer, actress, performer, dancer, hostess and the ultimate party person. Family (especially her children) were important to her as were her friends. She was well under five foot two but certainly had eyes of blue. When we first met she described herself to me as “little but lethal” and, because she only came up to my chest, as “heart high”. I was introduced to Mags in the Prohibition Club on New Walk on a Friday night by her friend Jan. Mags was having a birthday party the next night at her London Road flat, and generous soul that she is, invited me thinking she was “doing Jan a favour” and the rest is history. The “Probe”, as we affectionately called it, was to be a regular Friday night out for us in our early days together. We would repair there with friends after a Friday night Jazz session with the Russ Merryfield Jazz Band at the Town Arms. It was at the Town Arms where I first saw Mags sing Jazz and at the “Probe” where I saw how good a dancer she was. She would do the jive with a friend of ours called Rex. They were the perfect couple for that because he was the same height as her. There was no jealousy on my part as I can’t dance and Rex was there with his boyfriend. I later learned that Mags had won jive competitions in Blackpool as a teenager! Fast forwarding a little to 1990 we had bought a house together in Anstey having got engaged while she was still at London Road and I somehow persuaded her to set a wedding date for June that year on the understanding that she be allowed to perform, with Jan as musical director, in the Old Time Music Hall at The Little Theatre in Leicester. So now I got to see her talents as a comedy performer. Whilst at Anstey we used to go with friends to see Alan Birkenhead’s Jazz Band on a Sunday Night at Worthington. Mags used to regularly perform guest vocals and earned the nickname from Alan of “The Anstey Nightingale”. It was in Anstey that Maggie went to work as Receptionist in the Anstey Dental Practice. We moved from there to Coalville in 2000 – Mags having retired in the meantime. At both Anstey and more especially at Coalville Mags was able to indulge in one of her other passions – home décor. Our house was built in the 1930’s during one of our favourite periods – the Art Deco period – and still has a number of original features. Over the years we have decorated and furnished the house in that style with one of our favourite pastimes being a trip to the Art Deco Fairs and dealers at Loughborough, Beaumanor Hall and various other places in the Midlands. Other favourite trips out have included, inevitably, more Jazz and other music, including eldest son Steve’s band The Roosters and watching granddaughter Polly perform , family parties (of which there have been many), cathedrals, garden centres and canals. There were lots of lighter times, like the time she excitedly called me into the room whilst reading an ad in the Leicester Mercury which read “Old Singer Wanted” only to discover that it was a sewing machine that was required. Or the time when someone asked her if she owned a computer to which she replied “No, technology combined with senility leads to impossibility!” Some of the tenderest moments in my life with Mags were spent in places we grew to love and returned to. Places we truly shared together like Cornwall, the Norfolk Broads, especially Venice and in more recent times The New Forest. She loved the Forest itself, the ponies, Lymington Harbour and High Street, or sitting for an afternoon watching the boats going back and forth at Hythe whilst eating Fish and Chips. Mags's personality has been transmitted to her family. Steve with his singing and acting, Pippa’s dancing, Jacquie’s larger than life outgoing nature, Matt’s sensitivity and seriousness coupled with a wry sense of humour, Mandy’s efforts to keep the family “together”, Tim’s ability to cope with problems and sort them out and Heather’s deeply caring approach and her baking ability. Of which the latter has lead to an ongoing family joke “Mam, there’ll be no cake for the Wake”. So we remember a mother, wife, grandmother, great grandmother, and friend. And I know we’ll miss her terribly whilst remembering her with extreme affection. I’ve lost my wife, lover, partner, close companion, inspiration, joy, mentor, comforter in sad times and above all my very best friend. I HAVE NO WORDS I have no words with which I can express My feeling of pervading emptiness. But I will travel onward in my mind And in shared places will her presence find. She lingers in the roses that we planted; Venice with her spirit is enchanted; Down by the quay she’s looking at the ships And on a bench we’re sharing fish and chips. I’m blessed with family who will help me cope And in my sadness they will bring me hope For each of them contains their own small part Of her character which once captured my heart So though the singer’s gone I’ll hear her song In memories and family loud and strong.

Remembered by Richard Walkuski, Husband

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