Margaret Meyer

Obituary of Margaret Meyer

Margaret Elizabeth Bock (Hulse) Meyer (96) passed away on Sunday, July 19, 2020. She passed after a long struggle with chronic illness, in the loving care of her longtime friend and caregiver, Ms. Sharon Severson. She said she came into this world quietly and that was how she wanted to go out. Therefore, there will be no wake or funeral service. Her ashes will be spread on the mountain on the family land in Colorado, while a bag pipe plays. Margaret is survived by her daughter, Katherine, and son-in-law, Gregory; Her granddaughters, Kathryn (Mike) Clark), Michelle (Steve) Ball, Tara Dahman and Megan Hair; her grandson, Ryan Hulse; her great-grandsons, Joseph Ball, Joshua Ehinger and James Ball, and her great-great granddaughters, Ezra and Aurora. Margaret is predeceased by her husband, Marlan (Red) Meyer; her son, John Hulse, Jr. and daughter-in-law, Marta McCallum Hulse; her daughter, Barbara Jeanne Hulse Kasiewicz and son-in-law, Bernie Kasiewicz; and brothers, Gordon Bock, Frank Bock and James Bock; and brother-in-law, Michael Cimino. Anyone wishing to honor Margaret’s memory can make a donation to one of the following charities: ASPCA, St. Joseph’s Indian School, Susan G. Komen. This is her eulogy as we know it. Margaret was born in Romeo, Michigan, on March 25, 1924, to Margaret (McGrew) Bock (homemaker) and Frank Bock (dairy farmer). Margaret was the oldest of five children, two girls and three boys. Margaret witnessed a lot of history in her life and shared her remembrances with her children. Margaret’s parents weren’t wealthy, but they did have one advantage during the depression; they were farmers and they had food, so the family never went hungry. In fact, Margaret told her own family about people coming to the farm, begging for food, and how her parents never turned anyone away. This experience, along with her parents’ teachings, shaped Margaret’s attitude towards others during her long life. If you can help someone, give them your hand. Margaret was United Methodist and was a member of the Clearview Methodist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida. She believed that service to people was service to God, and instilled that same belief in her own children, as her parents had done for her. She also showed her children how strong and brave she was, and that if you put your mind to it, with hard work and perseverance you can accomplish anything! One of the most defining events of Margaret’s young life occurred when she was 12 years old. Her family had moved from Michigan to upper-state New York near Yonkers. Her mother, an epileptic, had a grand mal seizure in the kitchen while cooking. While she was in the hospital, the doctor told Margaret’s father his wife needed care 24/7, since at that time epilepsy was considered a form of mental illness. The doctor told Mr. Bock his wife needed institutional care and would need it for the rest of her life. After Margaret’s mother was institutionalized, the county came and took the children, since her father couldn’t manage the farm and the children. The children were placed in a foster home in town and Margaret was put in charge of her younger siblings. Later they were placed in a children’s home. This continued until Margaret turned 16 and aged out of the system. She would have liked to have continued her schooling, but had no money or support to do so. After Margaret turned 16, she was sent to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and took a job waitressing. It was while living with a roommate in Philadelphia, that she met her first husband, John Hulse. He was on leave from the Marines, and he came to her apartment one night for a blind date with her roommate, but her roommate had gone out with someone else. He and Margaret spent the next few hours talking until her roommate returned. Before He left, he asked her out on a date. This was the beginning of a romance that led to 22 years of marriage. Margaret and John had three children, one son (John Jr. [born at Ft. Benjamin Harrison]), and two daughters (Barbara Jeanne [Norfolk] and Katherine Elizabeth [Quantico]). John wasn’t able to be present for any of the births, so Margaret relied on John’s grandmother and aunt to help her through her pregnancies. She knew as a Marine wife, that she had to be strong and independent, because in times of war, soldiers aren’t available to their families. She served as Mother and Father during a great portion of her children’s lives when John was away. She had a way of parenting that didn’t involve, yelling, raising her voice, cursing, hitting, or a lot of punishment. She just asked you to do something and explained why, and somehow you did it. She didn’t post chore charts because she didn’t need to. Her children didn’t want to disappoint her or let her down, because they loved her. Margaret also loved animals, a love she inherited from her father Frank, who would take in any stray animal others abandoned, like lame horses, unwanted peacocks, geese, ducks, etc. Her love, though, was mainly cats and dogs; and by dogs, make that large dogs, as in large German Shepherds! She always allowed her children to have pets, and it was a given they would be inside pets, not kept outside. This included even the guinea pig, only the snakes weren’t allowed in the house! When other women would ask her how she could not trip over the Shepherd rugs in the middle of the kitchen floor, she would tell them that they were easy because they didn’t move, unlike small dogs! Margaret was also an avid reader, and ensured that her three children caught the reading ‘bug’ as well! She then continued to encourage this passion in all her grandchildren. They all knew Nana’s lap was always a good place to sit and read a book! Altogether John served 22 years in the Marines, before finally retiring from the Corp. The family then moved to La Fayette, Indiana, where John went to college at Purdue University on the GI Bill, while Margaret worked, and took care of the house and the children. While John was in the Marines, his salary wasn’t sufficient to make ends meet. Margaret had always had a flair with colors, materials and textures, and her mother had taught her how to sew. Margaret had always sewed most of her children’s and her clothes, and her daughters looked forward to pretty new matching flannel nightgowns every Christmas! She took all those skills, and did tailoring and made draperies from their home, so she could keep watch over her children. In 1954 she opened her own upholstery shop while they lived in Virginia. Both she and John loved to square dance and were very good at it. Margaret made her own outfits and made John matching shirts. Both her daughters remembered watching their mother get ready to go out dancing, and thinking how pretty their mother looked in her swishy skirts and wanting to dress like her! She continued later on to sew pretty flannel nightgowns for her granddaughters for Christmas. When the granddaughters grew out of them, they were loving put away for the next generation to grow into! In later years, “Nana” also sewed another square-dancing outfit, although this time it was for her granddaughter, Michelle, in middle school; and she made costumes for her granddaughter, Megan, to dress like girls did in the time of her ancestor, John Howland, one of the original pilgrims. She did almost all her sewing in later years with no patterns. She could take newspaper and the measurements from a chair, and create a slipcover in a matter of hours, complete with a hidden zipper in the back! Again, she had the expertise and “The Eye.” Margaret could also paint, though she was self-taught. At first, over the years, it was a house paint brush, painting many walls in the old houses the family would get that needed work badly. They knew they wouldn’t be there for a long period, so everyone in the family pitched in, with even the baby of the family, Katy, painting baseboards! It was the early version of flipping houses military style. Later in her life, after Margaret moved to Colorado, her painting skills grew, until she finally tried water colors and then a few oils. She seemed surprised when anyone liked them and wanted them. She also became an amateur landscape photographer and was again surprised when people wanted them. She had “The Eye.” She saw what others didn’t. Margaret was also interested in history, especially early American history, and the family genealogy. She researched not only her own family and John’s genealogy, but helped several others. She corresponded with people all over the world, sharing information she looked up locally for them, in the hopes it would bring families closer together no matter where they were. She was a member of The Daughters of the American Revolution, a member of the Eastern Stars, and a member of the John Howland Society. While they were living in Layette, their son John, Jr., after graduating high school, enlisted in the Army. Before he left, he married his sweetheart, Marta, and Margaret helped sew the wedding dresses. She announced to everyone that she had another daughter now. Then Margaret, after 22 years of marriage, made one of the hardest decision’s in her life. At a time when society viewed divorced women as “loose women” and not respectable, Margaret filed for divorce. She hadn’t told her family, but for years she had been a battered wife. Her husband came back from the war changed and became an alcoholic. She didn’t tell her family for fear of what they might do. Finally, after being hospitalized and suffering a nervous breakdown, she filed for divorce. Because she couldn’t be present at the custody hearing, even though the evidence showed why, the judge still awarded full custody to John. Margaret worked for three years to build a new life for herself and saw her daughters the one weekend a month the court allowed, even though that meant driving over five hours each way from Indiana to Michigan, to see the girls. She also met her second husband, Morris Zachary, during this time. Finally, after three years, she was able to petition the court and win full custody of her daughters. She then moved her daughters to Ft. Wayne, Indiana. During the next six years, she worked in banking. During this time, she rediscovered her love of gardening and her Green Thumb. She still sewed, making the bridesmaids’ and matron of honor’s dresses for her oldest daughter’s wedding. Everyone entering her home remarked on the color scheme, the draperies, the furniture, etc. Because this was the late 60’s and early 70’s. people were decorating in avocado green, bright yellow, orange and lots and lots of brown. When they walked into Margaret’s house, though, they saw muted peach/coral, antiqued dark greens and bare tile floors, with no shag carpet in site. The wooden sideboard and hutch that people admired so much had been purchased for 50 cents in a barn because of damaged drawers and doors. Margaret fixed the damage, stripped off eight layers of paint and rubbed layers of linseed oil into the wood until it came back to life. Nothing was purchased new unless absolutely necessary, not just because there was no money, but because she could look at something and see the beauty within. Margaret was the original “picker,” “recycler,” “restorer.” She was pure Pioneer Woman before the current trend! After six years in Indiana, Margaret divorced Morris, and moved with her youngest daughter to Tampa, Florida, where Margaret’s sister, Bea, lived. Margaret first worked as an accountant for the Sheridan Hotel in downtown Tampa, but was soon asked to take on the role of Executive Housekeeper. From that point on, until her mid 80’s, Margaret continued to work for several hotels as Executive Housekeeper. During the next few years Margaret worked two-three jobs, so her youngest daughter could focus on school. Both of them planned on her going to college. Margaret’s hard work paid off when Katy won a scholarship and was accepted at two universities’ music departments. Even with a scholarship and grants, Margaret still worked hard to cover the costs that weren’t covered. Katy became the second person in their family to go to college, after her father. It took some persuading, but finally Margaret signed up for a college night class (Marine Biology). Much to her surprise she made an A! Her children weren’t surprised because they knew she could do anything! Just before Katy’s senior year in high school, Margaret met what would be her third, and last, husband, Marlan (Red) Meyer. He proposed shortly after they began dating, but she refused to marry him. She told him she didn’t know if she wanted to get married again, and if she did, it wouldn’t be until after Katy was done with school. Marlan didn’t give up and continued to pursue her. It took many years before she finally said yes. Her job in hotels took her from Tampa to The Lodge at Vail in Vail, Colorado, where she met several celebrities. Some of these celebrities included President Gerald Ford and his wife, Betty Ford, and Mr. Kurt Douglas. Some celebrities owned condos at The Lodge, so Margaret saw them on a regular basis, and worked on their behalf with interior decorators/contractors/repairmen. She used to have tea with Mrs. Ford when she was in Vail, and both she and Red would share a laugh with Mr. Douglas over a drink at the piano bar (until people started recognizing him and crowding him). Some of her other hotels included The Lodge at Beaver Creek and the historic Hotel Colorado. She encountered many people from all over the world and made friends with several, later visiting them in their homes. She was even known as Nana by some of the Green Bay Packers football team, when they stayed at her hotel during spring training every year in Florida. She would spoil them by making them homemade food and treats, and they told her it helped them to be less homesick. Margaret and Marlan loved living in Colorado in the mountains. Everywhere you looked at the countryside there was so much beauty and it never got old for them. They not only loved the green mountains of Vail, they also liked the mountains further out that were more brown and tan. They later traveled over the western states when they got the chance, especially where the Navajo and Hopi tribes lived. They were befriended by a few Navajo artists, and they prodded Margaret to try exploring her artistic side, despite her protests that she was too old and had no training. It was during this period that Margaret, and later her daughter, Barbara, became admirers of DeGrazia’s work. Eventually, health reasons caused Margaret and Marlan to leave their beloved Colorado mountains and move back to their house in St. Petersburg, Florida. She continued to work until her mid 80’s (people always thought she was much younger than she looked), but finally had to retire to help take care of Marlan. She missed working and interacting with everyone. She still continued to make her homemade soups and take them in on employee pot luck luncheon days. Marlan passed away shortly after Margaret retired, due to complications from a fall resulting in a broken hip. Margaret continued to live in her house in Florida, although her children and grandchildren all asked her to come live with them. She was very independent and liked having her own space. She said it didn’t mean she loved her family less, but that she liked her own house. When she could no longer live at home, she moved into a nursing home. She wasn’t happy, though, so when a friend of the family, Sharon Severson, offered to care for her in her own home she said yes. Sharon lived with her father Larry, who had been friends with Margaret and Marlan for years. Margaret lived there until she passed. Besides looking at painted over furniture and recognizing the worth underneath, Margaret could also look at people and see the beauty within. She was criticized by others during her lifetime for having friends who weren’t white, straight, Christian, or male/female. When her youngest daughter asked her how she had gotten so loving and accepting of everyone, despite the era she was born in, her religion in her childhood, etc., she explained that she didn’t believe God made mistakes, and that it wasn’t up to her to judge people. That was how she raised her children, and how they lived their lives. She would have been ashamed if they had done any differently. This made her warm and open to people, and they couldn’t help but respond to her accordingly. Margaret helped so many people in her lifetime, that’s it’s hard to say how many. Her mother was a quilter and had taught her to quilt. She used those skills to make quilts for church auctions & raffles, and for other fundraising raffles. She even sent quilts to her granddaughter, Michelle, and daughter, Barbara, to sell in craft shows and to donate to fund raising raffles for the local schoolhouse library and other worthy causes. She made comfort quilt throws for children in children’s hospitals and for cancer patients. She offered her couch and floor to people who needed a place to sleep. She made pots of her delicious homemade soups for several events. There is a young girl with a heart, alive, because Margaret researched the information about Doctors Without Borders and called many, many people, until the child and her mother were airlifted out of Bosnia to Texas, where the surgery was performed for free. When the family tried to give her an expensive gift, they had saved up for to thank her, she refused. She asked them to sell it and put it in their daughter’s college fund. She was devout in her faith, but didn’t push it on people. She prayed for a lot of people who probable never knew. This was Margaret Elizabeth Bock Hulse Zachary Meyer, our Mother, our Sister and Sister-in-law, our Nana, our Great Nana and our Great-Great Nana. We love and miss you! We will always remember you! The world is a better place because you were here, but the stars don’t seem as bright without you.
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