February 3, 1929 – April 26, 2019
Margaret Lou (Laughlin) Guthrie passed away at age 90 in her Estes Park home on April 26, 2019. After spending three or so weeks in the hospital recovering from a head injury, she decided to stop receiving treatment and to enter hospice at home. Margaret was born February 3, 1929 in Eldora, Iowa, to Melvin and Edna (Hunt) Laughlin. She and her two brothers grew up on a 120-acre farm outside tiny New Providence, Iowa. Her mother had been a school teacher, and her father a baseball player (college), carpenter, and farmer. Margaret was raised as a Quaker (Religious Society of Friends, aka Friends). Although later embracing the Self- Realization Fellowship (SRF), she retained throughout her life Quaker values of peace and tolerance. After graduating from the New Providence high school in 1946, she attended William Penn College (IA) and met her future husband. They married on September 15, 1948. While George attended graduate school at the University of Chicago, Margaret worked, as well as bearing two sons, Steven and Mark. In the fall of 1957 George joined the faculty at Pacific University, Forest Grove. Margaret finished for her BA in English in 1959, before becoming a children’s social worker for the state of Oregon. In 1960, the family moved back to Chicago’s South Side so George could work on his PhD; meanwhile Margaret worked for the Cook Co. Welfare Department. Another move (Fall, 1962) took the family to Toledo, Ohio, for George to teach philosophy and religion at Toledo University (later, University of Toledo). During this time, Margaret worked first as a social worker licensing foster care homes, then later as a social worker at Toledo State Hospital (Toledo Mental Health Center). Attending night classes at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, Margaret received her MSW in 1970, then her ACSW state license. She worked as a counselor in the Out-Patient Clinic, (later Alzheimer’s and dementia patients), for the Toledo Mental Health Center until it was closed. Frustrated with work, she quit (1973), and started writing. Her first novel (unpublished) was about the deinstitutionalization experience. Moving to a summer cabin in the Big Thompson in 1975, they later retired to Estes Park. She developed her writing skills, attending workshops, writing classes, and a poetry class that got her started writing poetry. She began submitting to magazines. Beginning in 2003 she published three novels, and several books of poetry. Approaching her life’s end, she wrote poems on aging and on the dying process, sharing them with her Grief Group. Margaret was actively involved in local community and learning groups, including a writing and poetry group, a philosophy and religion group, a science group, and an SRF group. She volunteered with the National Park Service, and the Estes Park library. Margaret also enjoyed swimming, tennis, hiking (she and George leading trips for the local Colorado Mountain Club), backpacked, and climbed many mountains with her husband and friends. She and George also did some 4-wheeling in their Isuzu Trooper, exploring roads that took them to places such as the Canyonlands. In her later years, she enjoyed exercising at MedX. She was an avid environmentalist and humanitarian, donating to many environmental and peace/humanitarian groups such as Doctors without Borders, Humanity for Habitat, the Environmental Defense Club, Rocky Mountain Conservancy, Amnesty International, PBS, Women’s Rights groups, University of Toledo Philosophy Dept., and William Penn University. She recently received recognition from the Sierra Club for 55 years’ membership. She was active in the Boulder Meditation Circle, driving every Sunday from Estes Park to Boulder for over 35 years. She is survived by her two sons: Steven Guthrie (Janice Pycha) of Lock Haven, PA and Mark Guthrie of Portland, OR.; her older brother, Gerald Laughlin of Texas, sister-in-law, Joanne Henderson of Ohio, and nieces, nephews and cousins. Pre-deceased were her husband, George, and her brother, Don Laughlin. A Memorial Service will be held Thursday, May 30 at 2:00 pm, at Allnutt Funeral Chapel, 1302 Graves Avenue in Estes Park. Memorial contributions may be made to the Rocky Mountain Conservancy in care of Allnutt.
Allnutt Funeral Chapel
1302 Graves Avenue
May 21, 2019
Steve, Jan, and Mark, please accept our sympathy. Your mom was such an inspiring woman. She was so accomplished, such an advocate for the protection of our planet, such a spiritual person. She will be greatly missed. May you be comforted by the love of your family and may your memories bring you peace. Love you, Joyce Jeremy and Matthew Dauel