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Margaret Payne Snow Coburn


1922 - 2011 Obituary Condolences
Margaret Payne Snow Coburn Obituary
Margaret Payne Snow Coburn of Norfolk, Virginia was born on January 15, 1922 in Montclair, New Jersey to parents William Arthur Snow and Margaret Snow and grandparents General and Mrs. William Josiah Snow (Isabel Locke) and Mrs. Charles L. Payne. She had one brother, William Josiah Snow II.
Margaret is survived by her two children, Margaret Tucker Corprew of Norfolk, Virginia, and John Harrell Hill of Virginia Beach, Virginia; her grandchildren Allan Young and wife Teresa of Mechanicsville, Virginia, Charles Harrison Kirkwood and wife Tara of Norfolk, Virginia, Cameron Wyche Jones and husband Jack of Alexandria, Virginia, Beau Walker Kirkwood of Denver, Colorado, and Norman Hunter Wyche, III of Raleigh, North Carolina; and her great-grandson Paige Young of Mechanicsville, Virginia. She was preceded in death by her daughter Jacquelyn Hill Turner.
Margaret Payne Snow proudly came from a long line of distinguished military family. Her grandfather, William Josiah Snow was a Major-General in the United States Army. He was the First Chief of the Field Artillery, U.S. Army, and World War and Chief for ten years after the war. He established the Replacement Depot at Camp Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina and founded Fort Bragg. He was a decorated war hero with honors including the Distinguished Service Medal (United States), Commander Legion of Honor (France), and the Companion Order of the Bath (British Empire).
Her father, William Arthur Snow ("Tuppy") was born April 21, 1894 at Fort Hamilton in New York Harbor. He was a graduate of West Point Military Academy with the Class of 1916. As a Major, he was a fearless fighter and leader to his troops and received many honors including the Distinguished Service Cross. During the war, American artist Joseph Cummings Chase visited the American Expeditionary Force where Major Snow was stationed because he wanted to paint a "fighting Engineer". He was told to paint "young Snow" and that portrait now hangs in the Smithsonian Gallery in Washington, D.C. After serving his duty, he attended M.I.T. and graduated in 1921 where he then served two years as Assistant to the District Engineer at Washington, D.C. during which time he completed the Key Bridge across the Potomac and had charge of the installation of the new water system for the District of Columbia. On July 1, 1926 he became District Engineer of the Wilmington, North Carolina District. While there he made arrangements for completing the section of the Intracoastal Waterways in his district and that portion of the waterway is now designated as "Snow's Cut." He served as an Engineer in many other high profile capacities until his death at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. on September 25, 1940 "and there passed out of this world one of the finest and ablest officers the army had ever known."
Because of her father's career, Margaret was raised as an "army brat" and moved frequently. She spent time in Wilmington, North Carolina for five years and then to Saint Louis where they lived in Weheter Groves, Missouri. From there they moved to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas in 1936. Following that her father was once again stationed in Washington, D.C. While in Washington, Margaret attended the National Cathedral School for five years. After graduation she attended night school at George Washington University and taught kindergarten at the Reservoir School during the day. She also ran the high school tennis program and served as an assistant at the Army War College Day School. She then taught kindergarten for a year at Holton Arms School.
Her teaching days ended after she joined the Red Cross and spent a year on Okinawa – one of her most loved and memorable experiences. Afterwards, she returned home to Washington, D.C. and on April 3, 1948 she married Dr. John Harrell Hill. They moved to Norfolk, Virginia where he was an Urologist and they had three children – Margaret ("Tucker"), Jacquelyn ("Jackie"), and John. Dr. Hill died in 1980.
In 1982, Margaret remarried to General Melville ("Mel") B. Coburn, an old friend and longtime acquaintance. They moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina where they lived on Port Royal Plantation for many years – a favorite vacationing spot for the family. Mel passed away in 1992 but Margaret remained in Hilton head for ten years afterwards until she ultimately returned to Norfolk, Virginia.
Margaret "Ma" or "Peggy" was a loving mother, grandmother and friend to many who adored her. Her smile and spirit will remain with us always.
A graveside funeral service will be held at Monticello Memorial Gardens in Charlottesville, Virginia on Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 11:00 am with the Rev. Dr. David Johnson.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the EVMS Foundation at Eastern Virginia Medical School in the memory of Margaret Coburn.
Friends may sign the register book at www.hillandwood.com
Published in The Virginian Pilot on Nov. 16, 2011
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