Margie Mae Harto
June 20, 1923 – July 3, 2019
Margie Mae (Hansen) Harto
Daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother; grandmother, great grandmother, and most recently great-great grandmother. These are all words that describe Margie; but no matter the name or the title, everyone who met her felt that that knew her, and everyone who knew her was forever changed by her kindness, laughter, and fierce love for her family.
Born a country girl in the heart of Iowa to Callie and Harvey Hansen; Margie was one of three children. Her brother Virgil married Leala and she and “Tootie” as Leala was always known, were lifelong sisters and confidants, even after Virgil’s passing.
Her sister Eileen also married and had a family of her own. She lives now in a quiet community in Northern California and she and Margie spoke often by phone. Their last visit was a happy one, only a few days before Margie’s passing.
At the tender age of eighteen Margie married the love of her life, Ray Harto. They met simply enough, when Margie went looking for her first job. She went into the local soda shop where Ray was working behind the counter. Margie came home that day knowing that Ray would be the love of her life; and Ray, for his part, did give her a job… as his wife. Not long after getting married, the couple moved to California where Margie’s parents and brother had already settled. Margie wanted to be nearer to her family so Ray bought her an acre of land next to Virgil and her parents, in the middle of the beautiful rural community of El Cajon, and Ray (along with Virgil, his father-in-law Harvey and a local contractor) built his bride a home where they would live, love, and raise their children.
Life at the ‘Harto Rancho’ was always filled with family and friends; laughter and joy. Ray and Margie, along with Virgil and Tootie, were an active and busy pair. They would often go dancing together, or stay in and play cribbage or other card games over food with friends. Ray was wonderfully gregarious, and Margie for her part, was content spinning in the orbit of his love and passion for life. Both Margie and Ray had a love for bowling and it was not uncommon for them to be on three or more teams/leagues at any given time. Margie also had an intensely keen mind for numbers and organization, and she used these skills to run her own ‘averages’ business for many years until the advent and mainstreaming of digital score keeping and league averaging.
Margie gave Ray a total of five children. Connie, Dennis, Mike, Ken and Joe. When asked about the number of children they had or if they planned for more, Margie would tell the story that; ‘We never really planned the kids, but every time Ray and I went square dancing, I got pregnant, so after Joe, we decided to stop square dancing.’ And so it was, these early years were filled with many blessings, but they were also not without hardship and tragedy. Ray joined the Army during the Korean War and was sent overseas for a time. While Ray served his country proudly, Margie was at home with her infant daughter Connie. It was a difficult time for the new wife and first time mother, but with her home to tend, her daughter to care for, and her parents nearby, Margie was safe and had plenty to keep her busy until her beloved Ray came home.
By the time the conflict was over and Ray did indeed come home, Connie was well into toddlerhood. The family was whole and safe once again, but tragedy would soon strike when Margie’s second child, Dennis, passed away shortly after birth. While he is rarely spoken of, Margie was keenly aware of his loss all her life; even to the point of telling her great granddaughter Mariah about him one afternoon not so long ago, while Mariah was trimming her great grandmother’s nails.
After time to recover, both physically and emotionally, from the loss of Dennis, Margie gave birth to her third child, Michael. Mike is like his mom in his quiet nature and love of reading. Like Margie, he always has a book at hand and in a group situation, can usually be found listening to the comings and goings of the family from a quiet corner. Margie, for her part, was intensely proud of her eldest son. He had an honorable Air Force career, and while he and his wife and daughter traveled often in the service, Mike always came home to be near his mom and other family members. Through Mike, Margie has a granddaughter Bethany, a great granddaughter Michele, and a great-great grandson that is due in a few short weeks.
Ken and Joe, unlike Mike, are much more like their dad Ray in personality and temperament. Happy, gregarious, and always busy; these are some of the best words to describe both of Margie’s younger boys. Ken worked as a roofer and tradesman for most of his career. He was a free spirited youth, and tried his hand at many things growing up, (including possible car restoration that Ray apparently talked him out of) as well as carpet installation for a time. But, no matter his wanderings, Ken’s defining trait has always been his love for family that he learned every day growing up under Margie’s watchful eye. Through Ken, Margie was blessed with two granddaughters (Elena and Karrie) and two great grandchildren (Tyler and Brittany); all of whom were present upon her passing.
Joe is the youngest of the family, and to say that he was devoted to his mother is beyond understatement. When Ray passed, after over forty years of marriage, Margie was devastated. She and Ray loved their children and families, but to each other, their love and commitment always came first. Joe knew this (as did all the children I think) and without a word or thought, he stepped into his father’s shoes as her rock, protector and provider. Nothing touched Margie without going through Joe first. As a young man, Joe followed in his father’s footsteps and started his career in the Air Force. He married and gave Margie two beautiful grandchildren, Tonya and ‘Little Joe’. After the service he worked many trades from Buck Knives, to landscaping, but no matter the trade, he was never far from home, and always available for his mom.
As noted above, Connie was the eldest child and only daughter born to Margie and Ray. Connie held a special place in the hearts of both her parents. For Ray, she was the spitting image of his beloved Margie; and for Margie she was her precious little girl who was strong willed and determined in her youth but grew to become the level headed, stabilizing force and trusted caretaker to Margie in her final years. Through Connie, Margie was blessed with three grandchildren (Linda, Chris, and Denise) and four great grandchildren (AJ, Mariah, Scott, and Ruby Ann).
On paper, as I write these words, it doesn’t seem like a particularly amazing or noteworthy life. Margie was born, grew up, married and raised a family. She loved and lost, laughed and cried. It was an adventure, to be sure, but not particularly amazing. That is, until you consider that she was also a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. She read His Word and followed His commands to the best of her ability and by this she lived her life; ‘Love the Lord your God with all you heart, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.’ ~Matthew 22:37-38 And it was this attitude of peace and love above all else that set Margie apart and made her life extraordinary. She was my hero, my example of Christ on earth, and I will miss her every day as I strive to ‘grow up and be just like her.'
- Visitation Thursday, July 11, 2019
- Funeral Service Thursday, July 11, 2019
- Graveside Service Thursday, July 11, 2019
Margie Mae Harto
July 11, 2019
What a beautiful person she is and made everyone feel welcome. She helped me as a young mother cope with understanding a child's cry, she always made me feel welcome even after Joe and I divorced. I admired her in life and will remember her in death. Praying for the Harto family for my daughter as she loses yet another family member. Hearts are broken but God still with you.