Margaret Towse Slaven
Feb. 18, 1928 – Jan. 6, 2012
Margaret Towse Slaven, 83, passed away on Jan. 6, 2012, from Alzheimer's Disease, in Fullerton. Margaret Ellen was born to O. Frank and Mary Watson Towse in Woodland on Feb. 18, 1928. Her beauty and grace will be sorely missed.
Margaret and her parents lived in a craftsman home on Fifth Street, built by her father and grandfather, Fred Watson. At the age of 5, she moved to the farm east of Woodland and attended Springlake Elementary School. It was a one-room schoolhouse, and is now a museum located at the Woodland Fairgrounds. She graduated from Woodland High School in 1946.
In 1948, while attending UC Davis, she was asked to be a contestant in the first Sugar Queen Contest after a hiatus during WWII. The contestants were asked to wear an outfit depicting the fashions of the mid-1800s. A talented seamstress and a student of fashion, she designed and sewed a gorgeous maroon velvet gown trimmed in lace.
After completing two years at UC Davis, Margaret transferred to UCLA , where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in fashion design. She went to work for a major department store in downtown Los Angeles where she met Neil Slaven. They were married Sept. 11, 1954 and established their home in Orange County.
Margaret loved music and played the piano beautifully. She designed and sewed many lovely quilts, some winning honors in shows throughout Orange County. Between tickling the ivories, sewing quilts, playing with her cat and working in the garden, as well as working for Hunt Wesson, she was a 20-year volunteer at St. Jude's Hospital in Fullerton, just a few blocks from her home. In 1964 she and her husband, along with his family, started the first Montessori School in Orange County. As a member of the AAUW she also helped design the gardens at the Heritage House Arboretum at CSUF.
Margaret is survived by her children Neil Timothy and wife Cathy Slaven of Fullerton; Francis E. Slaven of San Diego and Ellen Marie Slaven, M.D. of New Orleans, LA; sisters Eleanor Powell of Lake Havasu City, Ariz, Pat Harrison of Capay; brother Jerry (Priscilla) Towse of Arbuckle; nieces, Debby (Ed Cowan) Towse of Woodland, Renee (Jonathan Daniel) Powell of New York City, Paula (Jeremy) Wolfe of Granite Bay, Erin Harrison of San Francisco, Jennifer Harrison of Woodland; great niece Catherine Wolfe of Granite Bay; nephew Frank E. Towse of Rio Linda and grandnephew Curtis Towse of Rio Linda and her companion of many years Keith Meyers. Margaret was preceded in death by her parents O. Frank and Mary Towse and her husband Neil John Slaven.
A service was held at St. Angela Catholic Church, followed by interment at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Orange. The family requests that any memorials be made to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary of Kanab, Utah, bestfriends.org.
Published in Daily Democrat from May 16 to June 15, 2013