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Margaret Anne Wolf–Artist, Educator, Librarian, Writer, and Friend

 Margaret Anne Wolf

Margaret Anne Wolf, 59, Bloomington, died at 8:35 p.m. on August 13, 2012 at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Normal, where she had been hospitalized since August 8.

Margaret was born February 7, 1953 at Chippewa Falls, WI, daughter of Elizabeth Margaret Roys Wolf and Lloyd Lester Wolf. Her early childhood years were spent in Chippewa Falls; Urbana, IL; Cincinnati, OH; and Lincoln, IL, before the family moved to Mt. Pulaski.

Margaret graduated from Mt. Pulaski Grade School in 1967 and Mt. Pulaski Township High School in 1971, where she was in the National Honor Society, along with participating in band and numerous other extracurricular activities. She was a member of the United Methodist Church, Mt. Pulaski.

She attended MacMurray College, Jacksonville, IL, majoring in art and English literature; then Eureka College, Eureka, IL, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Education.  She received a Master of Science degree in Counselor Education from Illinois State University, Normal. Margaret also completed advanced coursework in English composition, research, and publishing from St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN; Illinois State University; and Heartland Community College.  She studied, too, with nationally renowned communications and relationships facilitator Selwa Said in Monterey, CA.

Margaret’s career life included employment in libraries for over fifteen years; providing mental health counseling services to individuals and couples at a community mental health center; child care; research assistance; and teaching.  From 1992-2004, she was a K-12 teacher, including art instruction and teaching and tutoring English composition to junior high through college students. Her volunteerism over the years included serving on a community peer counseling hotline and as a PATH/Providing Access to Help volunteer.

Since childhood, Margaret had a personal practice of writing short stories, reading extensively, and painting, drawing, and participating in other artistic endeavors.   These contributed to a rich vocabulary and keen eye for detail.  In 2010, Margaret applied these gifts to establishing Maggie’s Magic editing services.  Following several interruptions due to healthcare crises and hospitalizations, she revitalized her business in July 2012 and added original art, reproductions, and note cards to her offerings.

Both parents preceded Margaret in death. She is survived by beloved family members, including brother William (Cyndy) Wolf, Wake Forest, NC; sisters Teresa Wolf (Robert) Bestvina, Indianapolis, IN, and Janet Wolf, Sidney, IL; and seven nieces and nephews: Melissa Phillips (Richard) Schofield, Brandon Phillips, Tyler Wolf; Christine Bestvina, Michael Bestvina; Mary (Terrill) Hare, and Mikhail Williams.  Margaret’s death is also mourned by many cherished friends.

In addition to her professional roles, Margaret was an encourager and loving friend.  She had a special affection for children, be they the offspring of her siblings and friends, or other youth she came into contact with along the way.  She was an advocate for and encouragement to people less fortunate, no matter their circumstance.  Her positive attitude and strength through adversity were inspirational and humbling. One of two dreams Margaret had was “to live an encouraging life,” and indeed she did.

As an avid reader, when her vision failed, she shifted her focus to other interests. Upon returning to painting, she found her art much appreciated, and one of her last original watercolors is housed in Japan.  Other pleasures included cats, cooking and baking, growing houseplants, corresponding with relatives and friends, and attending movies and concerts.

Margaret’s many talents, and her knowledge of and respect for literature, music, and the arts added to the joy she brought to all who knew her.  Friends often described her as a “shining person,” and her sweet nature and beautiful smile made that quickly visible to others as well. And Maggie, as she was known by some, had a sharp sense of humor and a mischievous laugh!

A memorial service was held at Noon on August 25 at Jacob’s Well Community Church, Normal. Pastor Dave Berry officiated.  Scripture readings were II Corinthians 1:3-4, John 11:25, Psalm 116:15, Psalm 23, and Revelation 21:2-7.

Pastor Berry referred to the service as a “Concert of Joy,” carried out according to Margaret’s wishes under the direction of the pastor and longtime close friends Karen Catt and Mary Lou Nelson of Bloomington.  Included was some of Margaret’s favorite music:  a medley of Fernando Ortega song recordings; live string quartet performances of Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and selections from “Lord of the Rings”; a vocal solo by Ms. Nelson of “Mary, Did You Know”; Handel’s Dank sei Dir, Herr, rendered by Daniel Schuetz and Dave Getz; “What Wondrous Love Is This” delivered by Jen Schuetz and Dave Getz; and congregational singing of “It Is Well with My Soul.”

Poems, “The Traveler” by James Dillet Freeman and “Safely Home,” author unknown, were read by friend Jodie Faulkner.  Slides of Randy Alcorn’s observations on the Resurrection were shown.  Gandalf’s farewell address from “The Return of the King” by J. R. R. Tolkien completed the service.

As a lifelong artist, Margaret’s work ranged from “Peace with Nature,” a frontispiece for the Mt. Pulaski High School 1971 yearbook, to a current collection of watercolor paintings of songbirds, barns, lavender fields, fairies, and more.  A sampling of her art was available for viewing in the Jacob’s Well fellowship hall during the luncheon that followed the memorial service.

Beck Memorial Home was in charge of cremation.  A spreading of the ashes ceremony will take place in early September on untilled ground of the Hamilton Centennial farm between Dixon and Polo, Illinois.  There Margaret had picked wild black raspberries with the children of her Eureka College roommate and friend, Jane Cunningham Hamilton.  Margaret loved to travel, including trips to London, England and Seattle, WA. Posthumously, she will make trips once more to the homes of two friends she had visited—her ashes will also be scattered by her friend of many years, Pam Ramsey, near Pam’s home in Cleveland, TN; and by her longtime friend Mari Lynch, near Mari’s home in Monterey, CA.

On August 2, six days before her sudden hospitalization and eleven days before her death, Margaret wrote on her business website’s blog, “I will have much to share in my Christmas letter this year!”  Now the year’s stories are for those who loved her to tell.

Margaret Wolf was one of those rare people who loved without condition. She left a gentle and beautiful mark on the hearts of many and will be deeply missed.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Mt. Pulaski Library for their children’s book collection, or to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Jacob’s Well, or Silent Unity.

Condolences may be sent to the family c/o Janet Wolf, PO Box 135, Sidney, IL 61877.

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This obituarywas also  published in the Mt. Pulaski Times, September 6, 2012.

You may download a PDF by clicking the link below:

Margaret Anne Wolf obituary in Mt. Pulaski Times

You may view the obituary published in the Bloomington Pantagraph on 8/19/12 by clicking here.

An audio of the memorial service for Margaret Anne Wolf

may be accessed online.  The service took place at Jacob’s Well Community Church, Normal, Illinois on August 25, 2012.

The audio is posted on the Jacob’s Well website, www.thejake.cc. As of 9/7/12, it is at the top of the website’s main page.  In the future, as new updates to the church website are posted, it will drop down.  However, it will continue to be searchable from the search bar in thejake.cc website’s top right-hand corner.

Thank you to Micah Stickling and Pastor Dave Berry for making this audio available.

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What’s Margaret’s association with the Bicycling Monterey website?

Margaret Anne Wolf was a longtime close friend of Mari Lynch.  Margaret had visited Monterey County and was also a supporter of the Bicycling Monterey projects.

Have you ever noticed this on the Bicycling Monterey acknowledgements page?

Margaret Wolf -  research and support for HER Helmet Thursdays participant listings

Or perhaps this in the Serious Cyclists section of the Tips for Tourists Bicycling Monterey County guide?

On the bike-pedestrian path, when I’m the one on the bike, I feel confident of the way I can zigzag safely between groups of pedestrians.  But if were walking the path with my one-year-old friend Mira, or guiding my friend Margaret in her wheelchair, I know either could be frightened by zooming cyclists darting in-and-out of pedestrian traffic.   So I remind myself, and you:  please be a courteous cyclist and slow it down near people who are walking, pushing babies in strollers, and the like.

If you are blessed to have a similarly extraordinary friend, consider yourself fortunate. And savor every moment!

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