Margaret’s 99 year journey ended peacefully June 7th in the comfort of her home surrounded by loving family. One of 5 children born of Dutch immigrants who made their way to the United States through Ellis Island. Her mother came to America with her teakettle and a dime. Born and raised in Sodus, New York by hard-working immigrant parents. she developed a strong work ethic. Her parents were proud to be Americans instilling their spirit of American patriotism in all their children.
She picked cherries to pay for her school clothes. She worked at the canning factory, “tipping” the cans to jam the machine so they could take a break. She had her first apartment at 16. Later she became a switchboard operator for ATT, where she and the girls could sneak their mics open and listen in. She saved up her money and bought her first car a Model T Ford.
Mother’s first visit to Florida was in 1947. As fate would have it, she met my father Byron A. Fox a produce broker whose business took him to New York every summer. Dad charmed her into escaping the cold winters of upstate New York and whisked her away to sunny Florida. She became a Floridian in every sense of the word, loving every minute of it.
Strong in her faith she was active at First Presbyterian of Sanford for many years. Upon leaving First Presbyterian she joined St. Andrews Chapel a church that is located on property that had been in our family and close to her current home. She could hop on her scooter and ride through the gate they left open. She loved both of her churches and found strength and purpose by her attendance.
When Billy was born, the doctors told her he’d never walk. Mother proved them wrong with her strength, her faith and her determination. Our living room become an at home gym. With hard work and persistence, she and Billy overcame that temporary obstacle and went on to lead full active busy lives.
She was a woman of many talents. She spoke Dutch. She was a seamstress. Musically she could play the piano by ear. Artistically there wasn’t a craft she couldn’t master, toll art, miniatures doll houses, wood working and sculpting (a couple of stitches on that one). She and Billy spent many hours in their wood shop. That is….when they weren’t surf fishing at the beach, where they met lifelong friends. They would all fish together, catch the fish and deep fry them right there on the sand. She loved everything Disney.
A social butterfly, she didn’t meet a stranger. In her later years she’d go shopping with her little scooter and run into all kinds of people. She’d collect neighbors while she was out scooting about the hood. We were never sure who was going to show up at the front door. And she loved them all.
We named her cell phone “The Matriarch.” There was a reason for that. People used to ask me if she could still hear and I’d say…”Hear? I think she has my bedroom bugged.” I’m pretty sure she had eyes in the back of her head too!
As her health declined the last few months I’d go in her room and ask her…”what are you thinking?” And she’d say “pretty thoughts.”
She was a dedicated and loving mother, a grandmother, a loyal friend, a yankee turned steel magnolia. She leaves her family and friends with 99 years’ worth of smiles and memories that make us giggle. She made her mark.