Margaret Elizabeth Kooken (1928 - 2019)

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  • "Kevin, My sincere condolences to you and your family. Your..."
    - Dan Pendley
  • "I am truly saddened by the loss of such a beautiful person...."
    - Karen Wade
  • "Margaret was a fellow teacher and we met Tuesday mornings..."
    - Darlene Deering
  • "Margaret's time at Van Mall was short but her sweet spirit..."
    - Fred Rogers
  • "I'm sorry to hear about your loss.. Margaret was a very..."
    - Tina Heiser
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Service Information
Layne's Battle Ground Funeral Home
16 NE Clark Ave.
Battle Ground, WA
Celebration of Life
Saturday, Jun. 1, 2019
2:00 PM
Layne's Battle Ground Funeral Home
16 NE Clark Ave.
Battle Ground, WA 98604
View Map

July 3, 1928 ˜ May 12, 2019

Margaret Elizabeth Aerni spent her early childhood in Trout Lake, WA, where her father, Jakob “Jack” Aerni, operated a dairy farm. He was born in Oregon after his parents had emigrated to America from Switzerland, and after a few years living in Oregon, the Aerni family found the Trout Lake, WA area more to their liking. Jack sold his milk and cheese in White Salmon and it was not surprising that his customers knew he was coming when they heard his yodeling from several blocks away.
Jack died when Margaret was eight. Gracie, their mother, moved to Vancouver with Margaret and her younger brother, Albert. Difficult times followed. Margaret and her brother were removed from their dangerous environment by welfare authorities and placed in a succession of foster homes. She overcame poverty, abuse and being a welfare system child by working her way through college. A Central Washington University graduate, Margaret taught in Colorado before becoming a career first grade teacher in the Evergreen system where she was honored as Teacher of the Year by her fellow educators. While teaching at Orchards Elementary, she completed her Master’s degree at the University of Portland.
When Margaret, at age 67, married Dave, at age 72, they shared with family and friends their hope for five good years. It was 15 good years later that declining health began disrupting their lives. During the 22 years they were married they enjoyed a lifetime together.
At the time they married in 1997, Margaret already had an attractive house and flower garden. Working together they improved both to the point where passersby would stop by to express compliments. Even so, they found time to travel extensively. They flew to Hawaii in 1998 and by 2007 had visited all other states by car, airplane or RV, many of them multiple times. Margaret loved adventure. She dove in a submarine off Maui, traversed the glass skybridge 5,000 feet above the Grand Canyon floor, walked across the Capilano swinging bridge in Canada without holding the side rails, and loved flying into remote lakes in Canada to go trout fishing.
In 2004, they started construction of their garden railroad which gave Margaret new incentives to find miniature plants. By 2005 the railroad was operating. As members of the Rose City Garden Railroad Society they were often open for public viewing and sometimes hosted visiting groups from nursing homes. Margaret developed health issues in 2012 that required them to give up their RV and their garden railroad. Of the railroad plantings, she said, “I can still stoop down but can no longer stoop up!” Margaret and Dave continued to do some traveling when they found suitable care givers to accompany them. With professional help some memorable trips were made to Bandon, Crater Lake, and the High Desert Museum.
Margaret is survived by three sons from her previous marriage to Reverend Ron Hummel of Castle Rock, four grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter: Brent; Bruce (wife Naoko), children Keith and Sara (daughter Mikkara); Kevin (wife Shelly), children Elana and Josiah. She is also survived by her husband, Dave Kooken.
A Celebration of Life is planned for 2:00 PM, June 1, at Layne’s Funeral Home in Battle Ground. At some future time, at a date to be determined by her family, her ashes will be placed in the Aerni plot at the Trout Lake Pioneer Cemetery.
No flowers, please. Instead, please plant a rose bush, or if you prefer to donate, her favorite charities were Reading is Fundamental, Glaucoma Research (San Francisco) and Open House Ministries.
Please sign her guest book @

Published in The Columbian on May 19, 2019
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