Margaret Cowger Kightlinger

COLUMBIA – Margaret Cowger Kightlinger, 85, a devoted wife and mother full of love and grace passed away on Tuesday, December 26, 2017, in her home with family who loved her so dearly by her side. A graveside service will be held 2:00 p.m. Sunday, December 31, 2017, in Greenlawn Memorial Park, a memorial service will follow at 3:00 p.m. at Shandon United Methodist Church. Immediately following the service, the family will host a visitation reception. Dunbar Funeral Home on Devine Street is assisting the family with arrangements. Margaret was born in DesArc, Arkansas to Johnnie and Alice Edwards Cowger. As a young child, she moved to Shreveport, La. and attended C.E. Byrd High School, where she met her future husband, Ray Kightlinger. Ray’s job required a number of moves early on in the marriage. Whenever a college or university was nearby, Margaret continued her studies and completed her BA and Master’s in Education from USC. She began teaching at E.L. Wright Middle School where she was teacher of the year 1976-1977. Margaret continued teaching social studies at Dent Middle School until her retirement in 1994. After retirement, Margaret began working with stained glass and took great joy in making crosses that she would give to friends and family. Her other passions included Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and her grandchildren. Margaret had a special passion of teaching adults to read in cooperation with the Columbia Literacy Council. She was a faithful member of Shandon UMC since 1970. She served on numerous commissions and served for many years as a caregiver in the church’s Stephen Ministry Outreach. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her brothers, Charles and Billy Cowger. She is survived by her husband of 66 years, Ray Milton Kightlinger; two sons, Gary M. Kightlinger (Lorraine) of Coral Springs, Fla., Steve E. Kightlinger (Karon) of Summerfield, N.C.; a daughter, Jana K. Spell (Ronnie) of Blythewood, S.C.; eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made in Margaret’s honor to Shandon UMC, 2407 Devine Street, Columbia, SC 29205. Please sign the online guestbook at


  • Committal Service

    Sunday, December 31, 2017

  • Memorial Service

    Sunday, December 31, 2017

  • Reception

    Sunday, December 31, 2017


Margaret Cowger Kightlinger

have a memory or condolence to add?

Thomas Terrill

January 25, 2018

Our sincere condolences to Ray and his family.

Lorraine Kightlinger

January 10, 2018

26 years ago, Margaret an Ray welcomed me into the family. I grew to love both of them. Margaret was a loving, caring person who saw the good in everyone. Margaret will be missed by everyone that knew her. As the gates to Heaven opened for her, waiting to receive Margaret was her parents an siblings. Now a new journey begins for her. Until we all meet again may you RIP. We all love you.

The Vicini family

January 5, 2018

Our sincere condolences to the Kightlinger family. Margaret was a gracious lady full of compassion and sympathy. She will be missed by all those who had the privilege to know her.

Alison Barber Mullison

December 31, 2017

Dear Ray,
We are so sorry to hear of Margaret's passing - My dad and mother loved her (and you!) very much and enjoyed the many years of friendship you had. We wish you and your family peace and comfort during this very sad time.
Alison Barber Mullison for Mary Frances Barber

Jean Turner Brown

December 31, 2017

Ray, I was so sorry to read that Margaret had passed away. You have been such a courageous caregiver over the past years.
I know that the family will really miss her.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family.

December 30, 2017

Mr and Mrs Ralph W White


December 30, 2017

To live a full life and find enjoyment for your hard work in assisting others is truly a reward (Ecclesiastes 3:12,13). To family and friends, may you find comfort in your memories.

Allen Burns

December 30, 2017

Mrs.K meant so much to me, she was a beautiful lady with the biggest heart and a great sense of humor. She always looked for the best in people. I still remember playing putt putt in her living room and breaking the vase, her classic response was

Kent Fiedor

December 30, 2017

Mrs Kightlinger was my 6th grade teacher back in 75-76. I do not remember many teachers but i will always remember her She was a fantastic teacher and person. I am so sorry to hear of your loss but know that Mrs. Kightlinger impacted many lives.

Phyllis Brown

December 30, 2017

Mrs. Kightlinger was my teacher at ELWright she was a loving and caring person she did so much for me I always kept in touch with her she Will always have a place in my heart she Will truly be missed