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Margery L. Dickinson (nee Hurst) died peacefully in her home on September 15, while looking out at the river view that she enjoyed so much. She was 75.
Margery was born to George and Alice Hurst in Great Falls, Montana, in 1938, the second-eldest of four daughters. At age 7, her family moved to Richland. The following Sunday, they went to their first service at Central United Protestant church. Margery attended Central Church for the rest of her life (except when she was away from Richland), and sang in the choir for 39 years.
It was at Central where Margery met Dean Dickinson, her future husband. But before they got together, Margery moved to Seattle. She worked as a secretary and then earned a degree in occupational therapy from the University of Washington. She also found time to get her pilot's license, and to take up folk dancing and target shooting.
Ten years after they first met, Margery and Dean re-connected. They married in 1972, and Margery moved back to Richland. Six years later, they had a son, Evan.
In 1979, Margery joined the League of Women Voters. Her interest in public policy grew, and she returned to the University of Washington, receiving a master's in public administration in 1988. Margery hoped to get a job changing how health care is delivered. Although that did not work out, Margery firmly believed that "when God closes a door, he opens a window." She soon found other uses for her new degree.
In 1993, Margery ran for Richland City Council, promising to reign in give-aways to developers and better environmental stewardship. She received 40% of the vote. After retirement, Margery found her largest passion in life and her calling from God, advocating for prisoners. She started out helping inmates with their legal needs, and with abuses they faced from guards. This led her to work towards structural reforms: improving current practices in prisons while encouraging alternatives to incarceration. And she did all of this while lovingly caring for Dean, who faced a prolonged illness.
Margery is survived by her son, Evan Dickinson, and two of her sisters, Mary Palmquist and Susan Hurst. Dean passed away two years ago. Her eldest sister, Leslie, passed in 1991.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 5, at Central Church in Richland. Donations in Margery's name can be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Published in Tri-City Herald on Sept. 25, 2013