As I write this article, we have just returned from the hospital, where we said goodbye to my mother-in-law, Marvina’s mom, Margie Whittaker. She passed away peacefully at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, January 23, 2019. She was surround by family and loved ones. The funeral is scheduled for Saturday, January 26, and by the time most of you read this, that will have occurred. I wanted to share some written thoughts in tribute to Margie, which I hope will be inspiring to us all.
Margie was born January 13, 1929 in rugged eastern Kentucky, and grew up as a child in Puncheon Hollow. There was no electricity, inadequate heat, a lot of hungry children, and the great depression was well underway. Her mother died of a massive stroke when Margie was 8 years old, and her father married yet again. Her new step-mother already had several children, plus more after the marriage, so Margie learned to be “on her own.” When she was able to get out of that environment, she worked for a short time in Ohio before moving to Aberdeen, Maryland. Her husband, “Whit” was a mess cook in the Army, and suffered poor health for much of his life. He died at the age of 53, and Margie raised 2 children, Marvina and John. Margie worked for a time as a machine operator at Bata Shoe Factory in Belcamp, Maryland (pictured at right), then at Perry Point Veteran’s Hospital as a nursing assistant, caring for mental patients in a locked ward (pictured at left). Despite a very limited income, she was extremely generous to others.
Margie obeyed the gospel during a gospel meeting, and never looked back. She faithfully attended the Aberdeen church of Christ, and played guitar with some of the elders of that congregation in a home-made country/bluegrass group, known as the Country Ramblers (see picture). After retiring from Perry Point and moving to Hagerstown in September, 1989, she lived in an apartment in Bob & Marvina’s home for almost 30 years. She loved her grandchildren, and spent as much time with them as she could.
She had over 50 eye surgeries, and due to decreasing eye sight she had to give up driving in around 1995. For the last 11 years she was a faithful member of the Central church of Christ in Martinsburg. She seldom missed services, despite blindness, which became total in her last years. For the last 10 years of her life, she was on continuous oxygen at home, and had to carry a portable tank whenever she went out.
She was good about regularly calling family members and friends on the phone, until she became unable to dial the numbers anymore. He had a sharp mind right up to the end, and could recall names, dates and events. She loved hearing from her friends by phone, but it became increasingly difficult for her to go out and eat or socialize. Margie had a great sense of humor, and enjoyed writing poems and telling stories about her past to anyone who wanted to hear them. She had a rich store of almost unbelievable experiences. I frequently had coffee with her in the early mornings. I will miss her always being there for me. She is the best mother-in-law I could have hoped for. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord..that they may rest from their labors, for their works follow with them,(Rev. 14:13).
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.