Margaret Stevenson passed from this life into eternal life on Aug. 4, 2010, surrounded by loved ones in her Bonanza home. She was 93.
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Margaret Elizabeth (Ferguson) was born to Neal and Calla (Sines) Ferguson, Jan. 31, 1917, in Wapato, Wash. She was the youngest of two children.
In 1931, her family moved to Merrill, where Margaret attended Merrill High School and was involved in many activities.
She was in the journalism club, head cheerleader, ran hurdles on the track team, played basketball, played mandolin and sang in the glee club. Richard Anderson was captain of the football team and active in the glee club. They were married in January 1934. Margaret continued her education, earning her high school diploma from Tulelake High School, where she took journalism and bookkeeping courses. Journalism was her passion. Divorce was not common in those days, but due to irreconcilable differences, Margaret and Richard divorced in 1936.
The Stevenson family leased land near what became the Japanese Internment Camp and owned a homestead on Hill Road, near what became the German POW camp. James "Bud" Stevenson met Margaret while attending Merrill High School. The Ferguson home was on the way to the Tulelake lease land and Bud felt it was important to check on Margaret and the girls. Love blossomed and Margaret and Bud were married Jan. 23, 1937, in Reno, Nev.
During World War II, Margaret worked in the fields when needed and ran a cookhouse for the hired crews for the Stevenson operation. Margaret found time to use her organizational skills and musical talents as a volunteer with the USO. She and two other women from the community ran the USO Canteen at Tulelake for the soldiers stationed in this area. She became a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. Margaret worked for Dr. Drader after passing all her practical nursing tests, providing in-home care for people in the community. She attended and taught Sunday school at Tulelake Presbyterian Church.
When the Stevensons sold their holdings in Tulelake in 1945, they moved to the Meiss Ranch outside of Macdoel, Calif. At the time, it was one of the largest working ranches on the West Coast. Margaret worked in many capacities to support her husband in his endeavors as a farmer with his family. At this time, she led the establishment of the Butte Valley Community Church and started a choir. She also led a Girl Scout troop. She continued to develop her singing voice by taking vocal lessons from a professional voice coach. Over the years, Margaret sang for weddings, funerals and all kinds of events in the area. She wrote articles on events and happenings in the area for five newspapers: Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Examiner, Tulelake Reporter, Butte Valley Star and Klamath Falls Herald and News. One of her biggest and best was on the history and development of the Meiss Ranch.
For one year, Margaret left the area while Bud established his own farming business. She worked at a hospital in Portola, Nev., and waited tables at Beldon Springs Resort. Upon returning to Macdoel, she worked as a weigh master in a truck weigh station for the Stevenson family. Margaret was also a cook at Butte Valley High School for two years. She briefly worked as a waitress at the 40 Club in Dorris and then became a waitress and pie maker for a truck stop there. At one time, she and her daughter Barbara worked there together. Margaret used her bookkeeping skills working at the First Western Bank in Dorris. Upon retirement from the bank, Margaret became pregnant with her youngest daughter, Mary Ann. Bud was employed by the new owners of the Meiss Ranch as foreman.
They moved to Langell Valley (the old Caldwell Ranch) in 1959, then to the old Rice Ranch on West Langell Valley Road in 1962. Margaret was the bookkeeper and cooked for the hired men while Bud ran the ranches in Langell Valley. She was very active with St. Barnabas Episcopal Church and the choir there. She was a member of Bonanza Schools PTA.
After Bud's nearly fatal heart attack in 1966, they leased out the ranch until it sold in 1971. They moved to Malin and then moved to Bonanza in the fall of 1976. Margaret and Bud were both active on the city council, ambulance and park boards. She helped Bud with his work as secretary and sight and hearing chair of the Lions Club. She was an active member of the Bonanza Women's Club and Garden Club. For a number of years, she was in the annual musical cantata in Bonanza. Most recently, she volunteered with the SMART program in the Bonanza School. She often remarked that she thought she would have been a good teacher because of her love for children.
Margaret Stevenson was a woman of many talents. Over her 93 years, she did many things. She always gave her very best. Margaret lived through the invention of many things and witnessed some of the world's greatest feats. She said that, while all those things were amazing, nothing was as life changing and profound as her relationship with Jesus Christ. She learned to serve God faithfully and to love and forgive people. Her life was not without struggles, but it was a life lived with passion and commitment to her family and her husband of 64 years (Bud passed away on Aug. 4, 2001). She was always committed to be the best person she could be by reading, studying and being involved with her community. She was a woman of incredible strength and perseverance. She set high standards for herself and others. There was nothing she could not do. We could all learn something from the life of this woman of excellence. She walked her talk.
While her lifelong goal to be a journalist and travel the world reporting on interesting subjects was never realized, Margaret had many adventures in her long life. She didn't know a stranger. Her mischievous nature and her love of fun made even the most tedious task interesting. (That is what attracted Bud to her. With a chuckle and a grin he called her an "Imp".) She loved her family and friends and was faithful. In her last years, she was unable to do many physical things. That did not stop her from being a prayer warrior and counselor to anyone who needed a listening ear. She loved each one of us with everything she had. Her presence here will be missed.
Margaret was preceded in death by her husband of 64 years; daughter, Barbara; brother Joe; her parents, step-mother Arlene (Brown) Ferguson and many close friends. She is survived by daughters D. J. Sackett of Port Angeles, Wash., and Mary Ann Stevenson of Eugene, Ore.; sister-in-law Juanita Stevenson of Klamath Falls; brother-in-law Harold Stevenson of Yreka, Calif.; grandchildren Raymond Randall of Redding, Calif., Chester Randall of Seattle, Wash., John Rallston of Port Angeles, Wash., Christine Hulstein of Bend, Ore., Dan Asher of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Bob Asher of Ellon, Scotland, Tiffany and Shane Thomas of Eugene, Ore.; 12 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren; many nieces, nephews and cousins; caregivers Annette McClellan, Jerry Brown, Karen Weatherbie, Vicki Beck, Pam Wiersma, Julie Thomas, Annie Metcalf, Carolyn Mitchell, and Mark and Marcia Miles; and many wonderful friends.
The family wishes to sincerely thank the workers of Klamath Hospice, Dr. Glen Gailis, and Sr. and Disabled Services for their care for Margaret. Donations may be made to Klamath Hospice 4745 S. Sixth St., Klamath Falls, OR 97603, or Bonanza Ambulance, P.O. Box 363, Bonanza, OR 97623. A celebration of life will be held at Bonanza Community Church at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15. There will be a potluck following the service at the church. For more information regarding the potluck, call 541-545-6315.
Davenport's Chapel of the Good S
Davenport's Chapel of the Good Shepherd
2680 Memorial Drive Klamath Falls, OR 97601
Published in Herald And News on Aug. 10, 2010