Margaret S. Engelson

October 17, 1917January 2, 2019

Margaret S. Engelson, beloved wife and mother, entered the presence of the Lord from her home in Peekskill, New York, on Wednesday, January 2, 2019. She was 101 years old. Margaret was born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 17, 1917. Her husband of nearly 70 years, Murray M. Engelson, parents Julius and Anna Safren, and brother Sidney, predeceased her.

Margaret met her husband when she was a teenager, while attending university French language activities with her big brother. Murray and Margaret were married soon after she graduated from Hunter College. They summered at the Colonial Terrace Hotel in Van Cortlandtville, subsequently building a summer home on a large tract of land nearby. After 2 years, they made that their year-round home, living in what is now Cortlandt Manor for more than a half century. On Y2K eve they moved to Peekskill Towers.

As a college graduate during the Great Depression, there were few jobs. Margaret attended a business school following her bachelor's degree in Spanish, and was immediately hired as bilingual stenographer for an import/export firm owned by a family from Spain. Some years after moving to Van Cortlandtville, Murray sold his CPA practice in NYC, and both began teaching in the Lakeland District, each doing graduate studies in Education at New York University. Many years later, they spent four summers in France, studying at four different universities. Margaret taught for 20 years, first at the Little Red Schoolhouse until it closed, then at the main Van Cortlandtville Elementary building, now Town Hall.

Margaret and Murray were both active members of the Van Cortlandtville Community Methodist Church and, in recent decades, at Trinity-Boscobel United Methodist Church in Buchanan. When Margaret was 89, she and Murray were honored in a special service as Trinity-Boscobel's "Christian Role Models of the Year." During their 20 winters of retirement in Spain, they also enjoyed active involvement at the Malaga Baptist Church.

Margaret Engelson is survived by daughter Ellen F. Ruggles and her husband David, retired high school teachers residing in Braintree, Massachusetts. Ellen followed in her mother's footsteps, majoring in Spanish, but in her father's as high school teacher and world language chairperson. She is blessed to have had parents who led exemplary lives of spirituality, generosity, and intellectual acuity, with a love for the varied peoples of the world, both here and abroad. Margaret and Murray lived out their faith by reaching out in friendship to some whom many might not. They loved America as a land that took in families--including their own in the 19th century--from the poorest, most dangerous places in the world, eventually accepting them fully as true Americans.

A service celebrating the life of Margaret S. Engelson will be held on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 10:00 a.m., at the Trinity-Boscobel United Methodist Church, Buchanan, NY, with a graveside service immediately following at Hillside Cemetery in Cortlandt Manor. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Trinity-Boscobel United Methodist Church.


  • Funeral Service Tuesday, January 15, 2019
  • Burial Following Funeral Service Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Margaret S. Engelson

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Jane (Croft)Fetchko

January 14, 2019

Marge was my kindergarten teacher at the Little Red School House. She taught me many wonderful things-how to read, make and keep friends, share, problem solve, question, and wonder. Long after I was not longer a wide-eyed five year old, she still called me, "Janie." She will be greatly missed.