Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg calmly passed in the afternoon on 14 April 2023 in her home at her beloved Menhammar. She was engaged and deeply committed to the Soya Group, or what she referred to as ‘The Firm’ to the very end and often spoke of herself as the ‘Company Mother’ internally. Externally, she was also commonly known as ‘Redardrottningen’ or the ‘Shipping Queen’, as well as ‘Travdrottningen’ the ‘Queen of Horse Racing’. All three provide a lovely description of a woman who was strong, creative and was not afraid to speak her mind to get what she wanted, but also of a very kind, thoughtful, helpful and generous person.
Margareta was born and raised on Södermalm in Stockholm, in the very same building that during several years hosted the shipping headquarters, and whose business came to have a great effect on her whole life. When her father Olof Wallenius suddenly and unexpectedly passed in 1970 at the age of 68, Margareta together with her husband John Kleberg took charge of a company group with many different business areas. Together with a committed management and loyal co-workers, the company could be restructured and provide the foundation for the success story that today is Wallenius Lines’ comprehensive Ro/RO-business.
Margareta’s great care for her employees, both at sea and on land, is well-known within and beyond the Soya Group. Our ships are our employees’ ‘home away from home’, as she used to say when together with her ‘decoration team’ set off to the ships with lamps, cushions, teddy bears and 200 paintings (at the very least) by often unknown artists. This was a way for Margareta to help kick off their careers as artists.
The same care was received by everyone who had a connection to Menhammar. What her parents had started in the 1940s, Margareta carried on. The same legacy that Olof Wallenius left in the Swedish horse racing scene during his time, his daughter added to during more than 50 years, not the least for Swedish breeders.
Her love for horses and the entire horse racing world has also been a major support during difficult and sad times, as she explained in several interviews. Now it is up to us who she has left behind, to honor and carry on her legacy, remember all the joy she brought, and continue to develop businesses and relations in her spirit with a continued focus on the horse’s wellbeing.
/Jonas Kleberg, Annika Bootsman Kleberg with families, and life-companion Tore Erkén