Margaret Elizabeth Swanson
March 16, 1924 – May 12, 2020
All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16 (NIV)
Margaret Elizabeth Cook was born March 16, 1924 to Doc John ("DJ") Mays Cook and Noca Elizabeth (Epling) Cook. Her brother Jim was born 16 months later.
When the stock market crashed in 1929, her father lost his job at the bank and the family lived with various relatives, in West Virginia, for several years. By the time Margaret was eleven years old, she had attended eleven different schools. These were tough times for the family. While they were staying with family in Charleston, Noca would make candy, and have young Margaret and Jim go stand on the steps of the Capitol to sell it. DJ finally got a job with the Army Corps of Engineers Finance Division in Portland, Oregon. The family took a cross-country trip to Portland and bought a house in the Rose City Park neighborhood; shortly thereafter DJ was transferred to Los Angeles. He went ahead of the family to start his job. Before the rest of the family could join him, DJ died unexpectedly of a heart condition. He had been a very loving father, and Margaret described that day as "the worst day of my life."
The family remained in Portland. Margaret attended Grant High School. She was active in school government and in the youth group at Rose City Park Methodist Episcopal Church. After graduation Margaret worked various office jobs and took some classes at the University of Oregon, living with other women in a fraternity house, which was empty due to World War II. When the war was over, a handsome young soldier named Richard "Dick" Swanson came home and gave Margaret a call. They had met but did not know each other well. He asked her out and the rest is history. Margaret and Dick married on September 7, 1947. The newlyweds moved to Corvallis, where Margaret worked to support the household and Dick finished his industrial engineering degree at Oregon State College on the GI Bill.
After a short time in San Leandro, California the young couple moved back to Portland. In the next few years they had three daughters -- Mardi, Karen, and Nancy. They enjoyed family gatherings, camping, rooting for the Oregon State Beavers, socializing with neighbors and treasured friends, and travelling the world. Together they built a beautiful home in the woods in southwest Portland, where they lived for 38 years, making many wonderful memories with family and friends.This house became known as the "Swanson B&B" when their daughters and their families would use it as a home base while visiting Portland. Dick and Margaret's hospitality gave the family a chance to be together, including the grandchildren, who have many fond memories of time with Gram and Grandpa and their cousins. The grandchildren continued visiting later in Newberg as well.
Margaret was one of the original "foodies" and made delicious meals for family and friends. She loved any occasion with good food and people enjoying being together.
Margaret enjoyed reading and making her home beautiful. She was smart and financially savvy, demonstrated by having her own bank account and stock portfolio. She had great style, and could strike up a conversation with just about anyone. She also became quite a comedienne in her later years, commenting to a visiting family member, "Aren't you lucky that you get to see me!"
When Margaret and Dick were 80 years old, they lived in their trailer for several months while a new home was being built in Newberg. They moved in 2006, and enjoyed their new location and neighbors for several years before Margaret fell ill in 2013. She never lived at home again, eventually moving into an Adult Foster Home in Newberg in September of 2014. Here she received excellent care from Daniel and Simona Dan.They and their son Ethan were like family to Margaret. She was very happy there.
Margaret lost Dick in September 2014, days after their 68th wedding anniversary. Margaret died peacefully in the loving care of Simona and Daniel on May 12, 2020.