Margaret M. Markuson

by John Markuson

Born on April 30, 1916, Margaret died on April 1, 2011 after having led a very long and productive life.

Devoted to her loving husband, Aaron, of nearly 70 years, she was, in his words, “the perfect preacher’s wife.” She missed his companionship terribly after he died last year in February, a few months short of 100 years.

Mom found more time for her arts and crafts as well as gardening on their five-acre plot after she and Aaron “retired” to Vashon Island, Wash. in 1975. Their retirement proved elusive in a sense, since several times a week they were aboard the Seattle-bound ferry on their way to visit church members and others in hospitals and nursing homes. They often traveled to celebrate the autumn foliage on the East Coast and overseas to Europe and the Middle East, sponsoring tours for friends and acquaintances. It is difficult to imagine her sitting on a camel, but Kodak has documented just that. Another point about “elusive retirement” is that they really had a hard time doing it: They served in interim pastorates at Covenant churches in Minneapolis, Santa Barbara, and Seattle, as well as established the chaplaincy at Covenant Shores Retirement Community, Mercer Island, Wash.

Mom was a gifted gal. Brought up on the farm outside Brandon, South Dakota during difficult years after her dad died suddenly when she was 12, she excelled in grammar school (a one-room schoolhouse) — so much so that when the opportunity opened to attend high school in the big city, Sioux Falls, and live in an apartment with some of her girlfriends, she leapt at the chance. There her innate talents blossomed. Designing, sewing and modeling her wardrobe, she won First Prize in South Dakota State competitions: an all-expenses-paid trip to the National 4H Convention in Chicago with a room at the Conrad Hilton Hotel! (Throughout her life, she loved working with her hands: sewing, painting miniatures, wood-carving, calligraphy, designing cards, making floral arrangements, even haircutting.) She met Aaron at North Park Junior College in Chicago, and that was that…

We miss her and her talents, her wit, her smiles and her grace.