Marguerite May Eakin passed away at the age of 97 on Friday, October 25, 2013 at Guardian Angel Homes in Richland, WA. Son David Eakin and daughter-in-law Sue were at her side throughout the day reminding Marg that each member of her family loved her. They did everything they could to ensure Marg passed into Heaven with her heart and soul at peace.
Marg was born August 13, 1916 in Portland, Oregon. Her father’s – Paul Herzberg - family was German and her mother’s – Georgette Dangoise - family was French. However, her Mother never wanted her and her sister to learn French or German. She said they were in America and needed to speak English. Both Paul and Georgette were artistic. They met when they were students at the Portland Art Museum. Paul Herzberg worked in a meat market in the Fulton neighborhood of Portland but spent most of his free time painting. Marg often shared that they had pictures their father had painted in all of the closets and under all of the beds. These pictures are now shared by her children’s families Louise and Jack Baldwin of Crooked River Ranch, OR, David and Sue Eakin of Richland, WA, Gene and Twila Eakin of Lebanon, OR, and her sister Louise Wakefield’s two sons Dick Wakefield and Bill Wakefield. Her sister Louise preceded her in death.
Marg always referred to herself as the tomboy of the two sisters. She loved to play ball. She told her children on many occasions that she and her friend Jane were the only girls that the boys in the Fulton neighborhood of Portland allowed on their team! She also enjoyed walking through the woods in the hills above the Fulton neighborhood. Among her favorite memories were the times she and her father would walk through the woods from their house to the Portland Zoo and back on Sunday afternoons - about ten miles roundtrip.
Marg met her husband, Vernon Eakin, in Portland when he was attending Behnke-Walker Business School after graduating from high school in Grass Valley, Oregon. Marg and Vernon met through Marg’s close friend and neighbor Ruth Bush Sylvester who was also Vernon’s cousin. They married September 17, 1937 in Portland and were married for 54 years when Vernon passed away in November, 1991. After living a year in Portland they moved to farm on his family’s homesteaded land east of Grass Valley. Their first three homes had no running water, no electricity, and no inside plumbing! They didn’t get electricity until 1952. Even though Marg did not know how to cook when she first married, she quickly learned which was a good thing for the summer wheat harvest crews of fifteen that Marg prepared meals for three times a day. Marg had a tremendous spirit of adventure. That spirit of adventure, her faith in God, and Grandma Faye Eakin and many very good friends helped her survive and thrive as a farmer’s wife and mother of three in spite of all of these challenges. She loved learning about life on the wheat and cattle ranch. She loved being a farmer’s wife and raising her children on the farm. Marg had three sons (the first – George - died in infancy) and one daughter and was proud of all of them.
Spending time with her children and grandchildren and watching her children and grandchildren perform in music recitals and/or compete in athletic events were also among her favorite memories. For a number of years she and Vernon and the three families with the six grandchildren would gather at daughter Louise’s and son-in-law Jack’s cabin at Cannon Beach. Though these gatherings occurred over thirty years ago, these memories remained the ones she and her family frequently reminisced about.
Music was always an important part of Marg’s life. She learned to play the violin at a young age. She played at dances and various events in Portland during her teen years. She attended Lincoln High School in downtown Portland in order to play in the orchestra and then after graduating played in the Portland junior symphony. Marg also attend the Portland Art Museum after high school. After she married and moved to Grass Valley, Oregon, she played her violin at church and lodge events and anytime someone wanted her to play!
In addition to music and family, church and reading the Bible were always an important part of Marg’s life. She and Vernon attended the Grass Valley Baptist Church for the twenty-eight years they lived in Sherman County and then attended church in the three communities of Alsea, Dallas, and St. Helens where they lived after leaving Sherman County. Marg then attended Sodaville Evangelical Church outside of Lebanon following Vernon’s death. Marg was very clear that death meant she was going home to be with family and friends and God.
Marg at the age of 97 certainly faced all of the ravages of aging. She had very limited vision and hearing. She spent most of her waking hours in a wheelchair as failing joints and diminishing leg strength had long since restricted her mobility. Her family still gives thanks, however, that during her last years she had a see-food diet - she typically ate everything she could see; she always noted she was able to sleep well at night; and, she always gave thanks she did not experience the pain that many others her age experienced. When son David once asked her, “Mom, how are you doing?” she replied, “Well, I am in pretty good shape for the shape I am in.” Son Gene would often tell her, “Mom, you are a tough old bird: You have outlived almost all of those of your generation you knew in Sherman County.” The adage that those adversities that do not kill you make you tougher applied well to Marg’s life. As a child, she survived both typhoid and diphtheria when some of the other children in the Fulton neighborhood did not. She survived breast cancer during the 60s when many women of that era did not.
Marg’s service will be at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at Spencer, Libby, and Powell Funeral Home located at 1100 Kelly Avenue in The Dalles, Oregon. Marg’s three children and her grandchildren invite you to come celebrate the special spirit that God created when God placed Marguerite May Herzberg Eakin on the planet. The family requests you not send flowers but rather, if you are so inclined, you send a donation in her name to your favorite charity
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