On September 29, 1933, Marguerite Elouise McTaggart was born in Grand Cayman to loving parents Malcolm and Lillie McTaggart. Her parents doted on her and she always joked about how she slept in their room for so long that her daddy had to remove the end of the crib so that her feet could hang off the edge.
They finally fixed up a room to try to encourage her to move into her own room and this only worked because the two rooms were directly across from each other and they could still talk to each other from room to room. Although Marguerite was an only child, she grew up in Maryland (Mary Street) next door to her cousins of which there were 11 children. The families were very close and it was if they were one big family. To this day, Marguerite was very close with her cousins who were more like brothers and sisters.
After Marguerite’s Aunt Goldie died in childbirth, her daughter, Marguerite’s cousin Mary (Bowerman) lived with them for a while and Mary became the closest thing she had to a sister and Marguerite always referred to Mary as her little sister.
Marguerite attended school in Cayman together with a period of study in Staten Island New York. Her father operated a pharmacy and acted as the registrar of births and deaths for the Island. Her parents were both widely loved and respected by all who knew them.
Marguerite would accompany Mr. Mally on his visits to people who were ill. Older Caymanians remember these visits and held a special fondness for her, many referring to her as Cayman’s princess. Mr. Mally, as her father was known, helped to educate his younger brother, Dr. Roy McTaggart and together they formed R.E. McTaggart and brothers.
This was to become one of the major business groups in Cayman.
When Marguerite was only 12, her father died suddenly of a massive heart attack. She and all who knew him were devastated. Her strong religious upbringing was a major factor in how she and her mother, Miss Lillie, faced this tragedy. Dr. Roy became a strong father figure in her life and they remained close until his death in 1983.
Marguerite grew into a beautiful young woman and was a runner up in the Miss Cayman competition. She began to teach on a part time basis and many Caymanians recall being taught by Miss Marguerite as children. It was while she was a teacher that she met the love of her life, Derek Wight.
Derek had just been transferred to Barclays Bank in Cayman when Marguerite’s cousin told her to go into the bank in order to see the handsome young man who had just started to work there. Although Marguerite denies it was her intention, she decided to go to the bank to cash her pay cheque. It was not long before the wife of the bank manager arrived at the McTaggart home and told Marguerite that Derek would like to ask her out on a date.
The rest is history.
Many people felt that Derek looked like royalty and felt it was fitting that Cayman’s princess had met her prince.
Derek was then transferred to the branch in May Pen, Jamaica. It was while he was in Jamaica that Derek and Marguerite were married on February 24th, 1956; a marriage which only ended on Derek’s death 56 years later. They spent four very happy years in Jamaica during which time the first four of their ten children were born. Brian was born on March 4th, 1957, Deborah was born on August 7th, 1958, David and Christopher were born on July 3rd, 1959. Although surrounded by a large family when growing up, Marguerite was an only child and having four children under the age of three took some getting used to. She remembered standing by a window when the children were fussy and simply saying to herself ‘This too shall pass’!
Back to Cayman
Dr. Roy McTaggart then asked Derek to return to Cayman to help in the operating of the family business. Marguerite returned to Cayman with Derek and their four children in 1961. After their move back to Cayman, six more children were born to Derek and Marguerite. Sandra was born on July 17th, 1962, Michael was born on November 21st, 1964, Phillip was born on December 12th 1966, Ann-Marie was born on March 8th, 1968, Wendy was born on February 4th, 1971 and Jennifer was born on January 21st, 1972.
Although she was very busy as a mother of 10 children, Marguerite was instrumental in the growth of the family businesses. She was very active in the By-Rite Supermarket helping it to grow into the first and largest supermarket on the Island at the time. However, her real love was the Treasure Cove duty free store they started. She quickly developed a reputation of being able to search out very unusual and interesting items for the store. When the property in George Town was sold, she started The Sand Dollar store in the new Eden Centre, which she and Derek developed.
Marguerite continued to search and find interesting items to be sold in the store and even now many people still tell the family how much they enjoyed going into the Sand Dollar to explore what Marguerite had found and to spend time with her. She finally closed the Sand Dollar in 2004 after Hurricane Ivan devastated the store.
Marguerite continued to be very active in the family business, doing the bookkeeping for the Walkers Road Texaco station. She and Derek worked together with David, Christopher and Michael to build this business into one of the top stations on the Island.
Marguerite had a strong religious upbringing, being raised as a devout Presbyterian. After she married Derek, she had many questions regarding his Catholic faith as there was no Catholic Church on Cayman at the time. She later told her children that what impressed her was that Derek was able to answer all her questions or get answers to any questions she had regarding the faith. The more she learned the more she became enthused and this did not change right up until her death. After they had been married for a few years, Marguerite surprised Derek when she told him she had been taking instructions and was converting to the Catholic faith.
Everyone who knew her will attest to the passion she had for her faith. She continued to research and study all aspects of the Catholic faith. Anyone who visited with her would leave with information on the latest discovery she had made about her faith. She was continuously placing information in the church regarding various aspects of her religion in a never-ending effort to educate anyone she could about what she had found. It continued to amaze her family how many people loved to visit and simply sit and chat about all aspects of the Church. Not one left without being enriched in some way and all continued to return to visit with her. We will probably never know how many people she profoundly affected, but her family continue to be told inspiring stories by those of all walks of life who came to her for guidance and information.
She brought this passion to the job of raising her 10 children and they were all raised in the Catholic faith. She shared her ever increasing knowledge of the faith with her children and continued to share with them all the new discoveries she made through her research. She would not miss any opportunity to pass on to her family all that she learned. Maybe it was her teaching background, but she was able to bring this passion to discussions without causing those listening to feel pressured. She seemed to know whether someone wanted to know more or not. However, once you gave her an indication that you wanted to know more about a subject, just be prepared because she would bring her passion and knowledge to the discussion.
Marguerite made many trips to various religious sites including trips to Rome, The Holy Land, Rue-De-Bac, Lourdes and Betania. All had a profound effect on her, but her trips and research regarding Betania held a special place in her heart. She had many personal experiences and signs that only served to reinforce her faith.
She very recently tol
d her children that she had been keeping a prayer in her Bible since her children were young. It was a prayer asking our Lord that one of her children would receive the calling and become a priest. Needless to say, it was one of her greatest sources of pride when her grandson, Joseph Kirkconnell, decided to become a priest. On the Saturday after she was admitted to the Emergency at the hospital and had been stabilised, she said ‘I wanted to live to see Joe’s ordination but I thought I was going to see Derek tonight!’ It was only a few days later when she did.
Marguerite was a guiding light to many people throughout her life. She lived a humble life and her passion was to educate anyone who would listen about her beloved Catholic faith. She will be missed by many who simply enjoyed being able to go and sit with her to seek guidance and information.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Derek and leaves to mourn her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, close family and friends.