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Life Story / Obituary
She lived in the United States for over 63 years, but the first thing that everyone noticed about Margaret was her Scottish accent. It was the open door to conversations with first time acquaintances. Invariably these acquaintances went away charmed by her kind nature and her love of socializing.
Margaret was born on July 18, 1924 in Glasgow, Scotland, the second child to John and Margaret Dickson. She was one of six children growing up during the depression and WWII. Glasgow was a center of shipbuilding, and her tales of the nighttime bombing raids were fascinating. Her stories of different times captivated us, and illustrated the incredibly strong character of those family members.
During WWII, Margaret was a member of the Land Girls. These women took over farming duties that were needed due to men having gone to war. She met her good friend, Anne (Gillis) Baxter, during this time and kept up a lifelong friendship. She had wonderful stories of her years as a Land Girl, and was featured in an article in the Kalamazoo Gazette recounting her adventures.
On her 20th birthday, Margaret met James Evans at a dance in Balfron, Scotland. They married two years later and went on to have three children: Lindsay, Eileen and Gordon. In 1953, they followed her sister and brother in law, Annabella and Clyde Clark, to the United States. She always referred to her new home as “God’s country” because if its abundance and opportunity. They eventually became naturalized citizens.
Margaret and Jim were the original HGTV “fixer uppers”. They bought and improved a series of homes in Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Saline, Brooklyn and Kalamazoo. They fulfilled a dream when they bought an old log cabin up by the Silver Lake Sand Dunes that provided a wealth of wonderful memories throughout the years.
They took our family back to Great Britain several times for visits, and we were generously hosted by their siblings. Those trips gave us a better idea of who our parents were, and they were some of our happiest times as a family. A special thank you to Dugald and Margaret Dickson and to the family of Rose and Reg Mitchell.
Margaret worked for many years at the University of Michigan Hospital as a Unit Supervisor for two floors in Mott Children’s Hospital. She was known as a dynamo, and was voted the second ever Employee of the Year. Both Margaret and Jim retired in 1986 and had many good years of travel, gardening and spending time with family. In 1996 they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at a family gathering that included a dinner, a bagpiper, and a renewal of their vows.
In 2014, the family gathered once more to celebrate Margaret’s 90th birthday with a bagpiper, kilts, and Drambuie. It was a memorable day to honor a memorable lady, and she enjoyed herself immensely.
Among the many lessons she taught us is the importance of family. It was the core value of everything she did and believed. She loved nothing more than getting together with family for a “wee blether”, and enjoying one another’s company around the dinner table. Cups of tea were not optional.
Margaret has been preceded in death by her husband, Jim; her parents; sisters: Annabella Clark and Betty Trotter; brother, John Dickson; and daughter, Lindsay Millemann. She is survived by her children: Eileen Schoenfeld (children Andrew and Robbie), Gordon Evans (children Ainslie and Caitlin) and Lindsay’s children, Amber and Toby; as well as her sister, Katie Murray; and brother and sister-in-law, Dugald and Margaret Dickson; and by her brother-in-law, David Evans. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews, with special nieces: Margie (Dave) Conlon and Carolyn Cruz.
Cremation has taken place, and the family is planning a private gathering to celebrate the life of this remarkable lady. Should you feel inclined, please make a donation in her name to your favorite charity. Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269-375-2900). www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com