Margarete Mrak: A gift that transcends time

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Margarete with children Vincent, Michael, Liza, and Andreas at Liza's wedding to Gary Zed in the NAC's O'Born Room.
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Margarete Mrak walks her daughter Liza down the aisle at her wedding in the NAC’s O’Born Room.

Margarete Mrak, the beloved matriarch of the Mark Motors Group, passed away on October 30, 2023, eleven years after her husband, Louis. Among the many gifts she leaves her children, including the qualities of grace, integrity and acceptance of people and circumstances, is an appreciation for music.

Margarete grew up surrounded by song. Her father had a flair for the violin and piano and was the “go-to” entertainer in Braunschweig, Germany, where Margarete was born in 1932.

“In war-torn Europe, music was a safe haven, a place of peace,” Margarete’s daughter Liza shares. “This special power of music is something that both my parents carried with them to Canada when they immigrated here in the 1950s.”

Margarete and her husband Louis instilled an appreciation for music in Liza and her brothers, Andreas, Michael, and Vincent. “Musical education was very important to them,” Liza says, “and they made sure that we received lessons. Two of my brothers played accordion, another played guitar, and I played piano.”

The timeless compositions of Mozart, Bach, and other greats rotated on the record player every Sunday morning during their childhood; a peaceful time when Margarete and Louis rested from running their successful family business, Mark Motors Group, and a “no television” rule was enforced.

Over the years, there were countless outings to the NAC. “Growing up, attending the NAC was a family affair,” Liza says. “For my parents, the NAC was a peaceful place, a place that held the spirit of music and the arts.”

In gratitude for the music that brought their family solace, joy and cherished memories throughout their lives, Margarete and Louis began a generous partnership between Mark Motors and the NAC Orchestra 26 years ago.

And those music lessons? “We all stopped playing,” Liza confides, “But my mom left us with some great memories of our times with music. Maybe, one day we will get back at it”

The December 21, 2023 performance of Handel’s Messiah was dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Margarete Mrak, whose unwavering devotion to her family and community was an inspiration to all. We are grateful for Mrs. Mrak’s dedication to live music and for the Mrak Family for continuing her legacy. 

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