Margaret Fogel, aks Mildred Margaret Findlay, Scientist, Environmentalist, Bioremediation Pioneer Margaret Fogel, aka Mildred Margaret Findlay, passed away peacefully at her Newton home on February 13, 2021 after suffering her second stroke. She was 79. She leaves behind her loving husband of 56 years, Samuel Fogel, sons David and Michael Fogel, daughters-in-law Melissa Wendt and Alexis Schmid, grandsons Griffin and Mason Fogel and many close family and friends. Margaret was born on January 10, 1942 in Buffalo, N.Y., the only child of Scottish and English immigrants George Findlay and Mildred Griffiths Findlay. She graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelors degree in Chemistry and then began her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana. While there she met her husband Sam Fogel and lifelong friend Laura McMurry. She followed her advisor to Harvard where she finished her PhD and then was hired as an assistant professor of Biology at Wellesley College. In the 1970s she worked with ecologist Abby Rockefeller at her company Clivus Multrum, followed by several years working with her husband at a Cambridge-based environmental consulting firm. In 1996 she founded her own company, Bioremediation Consulting. Sam joined her soon after and they worked side-by-side for the next 20 years, becoming pioneers in the field of bioremediation (the use of specialized bacteria to clean up toxic waste in soil and groundwater). After retiring in 2017, she became an expert in home solar panels and energy efficient heat pumps and continued her environmental activities through support of many local, national and international organizations. Margarets passions included gardening, hiking, canoeing, music, folk-dancing, the environment, and caring for her grandchildren. She played the piano and was the driving force behind both her sons taking music lessons from the age of 5, giving them the gift of becoming life-long musicians. In her 50s she defied gender and age stereotypes and began studying karate, earning her black belt at the age of 62. Another of her great passions was the family summer home in Vermont and the surrounding Wilderness Community. The couple purchased their land in 1969 and with the help of friends and family designed and built their own cabin by hand, creating a wilderness retreat that has passed down their love of nature to their children and grandchildren. Margaret was a fierce individualist, an independent thinker, and feminist-by-example. Her bright intelligence, sharp wit and gentle warmth enriched the lives of all those around her. She was loved deeply and will be missed greatly by her family and friends. Those who wish to make a contribution in Margarets memory are encouraged to donate to: The Environmental Defense Fund, or the Newton Community Farm. Memorial services will be held in the future.
Published in The Needham Times from Feb. 23 to Feb. 25, 2021.