Margaret Maron
1938 - 2021
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Margaret Maron
August 25, 1938 - February 23, 2021
Raleigh, North Carolina - It is with great sadness that the family of mystery writer Margaret Brown Maron announces her death on February 23, 2021, from complications due to stroke.
Born in Greensboro, NC, in 1938 to C.O. and Claudia Stephenson Brown she grew up on her mother's family farm near McGee's Crossroads in Johnston County. A graduate of Cleveland High School, which inducted her into its Hall of Fame in 2016, she attended UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Brooklyn College, CUNY, yet managed not to graduate from any of them. In 1958, while working in the Pentagon for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, she met a young naval officer assigned to an adjoining office who proposed a week after their first date. They married six months later. After a three-year tour of duty in Naples, Italy, they returned to his home town of Brooklyn, NY, where their only son was born. It was during this time that she gave herself a writing course from books in the Brooklyn Public Library and it was here that she had her first short story published under her maiden name in 1968 in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine entitled, "The Death of Me."
They built a vacation home on a corner of the family farm in Johnston County and moved there permanently in 1972. All thirty of her books and most of her short stories were written there. Drawing heavily on her North Carolina roots, she was considered a forerunner in popularizing regional mysteries set far away from the mean streets of NY, LA, or Chicago.
One of the founders of Sisters in Crime, she served as its third president. She also served as president of Mystery Writers of America, which named her Grand Master in 2013. Her books won numerous national awards, including the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony and Macavity Awards, and have been taught in classes on contemporary culture and literature. In 2008, she received the North Carolina Award, her state's highest civilian honor. In 2010, she received an honorary doctorate from UNC-Greensboro and in 2016, she was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.
She is survived by Joseph John Maron, her much-loved husband of 61 years; their son John Maron and daughter-in-law Andrea Cumbee Maron, and their granddaughters Julia and Natalie, all of Raleigh; her sister Edna Brown Reynolds of Garner, NC; her sister-in-law, Margaret Quaranto of Calverton, NY; the whole Sue and Carl Honeycutt clan; several nieces and nephews, and dozens of close friends.
An avid Scrabble player, she was inordinately proud of scoring three seven-letter words in an epic game with writer friends Nancy Pickard and Susan Dunlap, and she never hesitated to brag about the time she earned 311 points for the word braziers.
Before she died, Margaret Maron said, "My epitaph should read, 'She knew what she had.' I have been supremely lucky with my husband, my family, my friends and my work. Nobody gets it all, but I came pretty damn close."
Her favorite charities were, in her words, "Doctors Without Borders; Harbor Inc. (PO Box 1903, Smithfield, NC 27577); and the Democratic Party, bless its heart." A donation to any of these would honor her memory.
Funeral arrangements are private.


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Published in The News & Observer on Feb. 26, 2021.
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Memories & Condolences
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18 entries
March 31, 2021
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Mona M Smith (fan)
March 15, 2021
I am so very sad to hear of Margaret Maron's passing. I am from NC, also born in Greensboro, and when I had to bring my Mom to GA to live with us after our Dad died, I discovered the Deborah Knott series. Mother loved reading her books set in NC and I always got her the new one in hard back. She spent many happy hours with Deborah Knott and so did I. I still have all the books. I hope the family can mourn and then celebrate a wonderful life lived.
Peggy Casey
March 13, 2021
I loved her writing. I discovered her Deborah Knott series, went back and read them all, eagerly awaiting each new publication. I, too, was a daughter of the "boot-legging" mountain drivers so I could so relate to her tales! I could relate to the setting of her Knott series as I grew up in an area in VA just like that and visited NC many times to see other relatives. I am so sorry for the loss of this great person to her family, many friends and fans. I wondered why I had not seen anything new in many years and mourn the loss of no new fresh adventures from her pen. Rest in Peace.
Hellen H Hoffman
March 4, 2021
I stumbled upon her Deborah Knott series and was hooked instantly. I will seek out all her others and spread the word. I had intended on sending her a piece of communication when I finished my most recent read, and tonight I found out that I am too late. But to her family, she will be missed by many, and I send my prayers to your family.
JEAN COLE
Acquaintance
March 2, 2021
Margart came into my life in the early 90's when she came to the New Hanover County courthouse asking to speak to a judge, stating that she was beginning a mystery series about a young female judge candidate named Debra knott. She spoke to one of the judges and new friendships formed. Such a lovely soul Margaret had. She will be missed.
Diane Geary
Friend
March 2, 2021
John and family,
Florence Catherine Kelsch, your cousin, though, passed, cared greatly for you and your mother. We her sons, John, Paul, Joe and Chris offer our condolences. God Bless
John W Kelsch Sr
Family
March 2, 2021
She was an awesome lady in the world of words and books! She will be missed greatly in NC!! RIP!
Alice Chavez
Acquaintance
March 2, 2021
One of my favorite authors - she could weave a story so well and leave you wanting more. So happy to have made her acquaintance while she gave a guest lecture at Peace College some 25 years ago. Deepest condolences to her family and close friends.
Cyndi Robinson
Acquaintance
March 1, 2021
She didn't know me but I feel as if I have lost a very dear friend. When I read Bootleggers Daughter, I thought it was about my family.
Shelby Battle
Acquaintance
March 1, 2021
She was a wonderful writer. I have read all her books, and my favorite is the Debra Knott series with all the NC settings (I am 73, NC born and raised), and I have the complete set in my library so I can read them over again. Through her books, I felt as if I knew the lady. I was so saddened to learn of her passing. May she RIP and may God bless her family during this difficult time.
Louise Wahl
Friend
March 1, 2021
I feel like I have been friends with the characters in her books. She brought them to life for me. Such a gift. May she rest in piece!
Robert DeWitt
February 26, 2021
As a native of Wake County and growing up in the 60's, I identified with many of the areas in Margaret's books. She really could weave a story. I know you will miss her but we who enjoyed her books have also lost a friend. God bless you and your family.
Nancy Edwards
Friend
February 26, 2021
As many others have, I have read and loved all her books! So proud that she lived and wrote about NC! She will be missed!
Betsy
Acquaintance
February 26, 2021
John, we just heard about your mom passing and wanted to sincerely offer our deepest condolences. I read the write-up from Quail Ridge Books, and was just amazed at her prolific success as an author. I had no idea! I also happen to know another author, Diane Chamberlain, and just found out that your mom was one of Diane's best friends. Small world. Anyways, again, deepest condolences for your loss.
Wayne and Sharon Mills
Friend
February 26, 2021
Margaret Maron was a giant in her field, an Edgar-winning author and the most fun to sit next to at any mystery-writers gathering. Some years ago, I had the great privilege of interviewing Margaret at Malice Domestic, where she imparted the best tip ever for writer's block. She said: "When you get stuck, step away from your typewriter, computer, whatever. Go get a deck of cards and play a game of Solitaire. It'll clear your mind." She was right--works every time. I will miss her wisdom and her warm wit.
Jane Dentinger
Friend
February 25, 2021
I was a longtime fan and reader of her work. Margaret Maron was a lovely author who always brought me to a world different from mine. She will be missed.
Jan Patzold
February 25, 2021
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Nancy Pickard
February 25, 2021
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Your cousin, Peggy Lasater
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