Margaret Elizabeth Edgerton Price, 79, of Seattle, Washington, died as a result of the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease on 19 December 2021.
Margaret was preceded in death by her parents and her brother. She is survived by her husband of fifty-two years, William; her daughter, Jennifer (Christopher); and her granddaughter, Orianna, who loves creating art, hugging bunnies, and reading books as passionately as her grandmother.
Margaret was born on 29 October 1942 in Washington, D. C. Her father, Justin, was a lawyer who was appointed a judge of the District of Columbia in 1966. Her mother, Catherine Adams Griffith, worked as a public school teacher before her marriage.
Margaret often told her family about her antics as a younger sister to her brother, Justin Richard or “Ricky,” such as locking him in his room by unscrewing the doorknob. Both siblings adored their pet collie, Pal.
Margaret was especially close to her maternal aunt, Elizabeth, Catherine’s twin sister. Aunt Libby or “Bootie” as she was known to Margaret was also a Washington, D.C. school teacher, as well as an adventurer who loved travel and brought back many intriguing souvenirs still treasured by her great-niece. During summers, the family often would drive north to join Libby in Maine.
Born and raised a United Methodist, Margaret attended Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, where she was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1964. After graduation, she embarked on her first trip to Europe. She found these experiences inspirational, and for the rest of her life she would return each year.
Margaret returned to the United States and relocated to New York City, where she worked as a clothes buyer for Lord and Taylor, made frequent trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and enjoyed the hustle and bustle of city life.
Several years later Margaret returned to the Washington, D.C. area to teach art in the Alexandria, Virginia, school district. She purchased a Corvair with her earnings (though her father had to co-sign because she was an unmarried woman). She was always stylishly attired in the mini-skirts and bright colors that defined fashion in the mid-1960s. She lived with her parents in Bethesda, Maryland, and attended St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, where she would meet Bill Price, a student at Wesley Theological Seminary, who was serving as a youth pastor. He was impressed by her beauty, her smile, her smarts, and – most of all – her kindness. They fell in love, and after a year-long engagement, Margaret married Bill in June 1969.
One of the first things Margaret wanted to do was to take her new husband on an adventure, so in 1970 they took their first trip together, a whistle-stop tour of Europe, followed by a vacation in Bill’s native Southern California.
Bill was ordained a UMC pastor in 1969. After serving at churches in College Park and Bethesda, Margaret and Bill moved to Washington State in 1972. Over the next twenty years Margaret and Bill worked alongside each other at church appointments in Pomeroy, Anacortes, Issaquah, Puyallup and Ephrata. Her belief in a loving and just God was unwavering. There is no better monument to her belief than the fact that the church and congregation she and Bill established in Issaquah in 1983 was christened Faith United Methodist Church.
Margaret loved children and delighted in their creativity, to the great benefit of her and Bill’s only child, Jennifer. Margaret loved her daughter deeply, which manifested in a variety of ways including, but not limited to: Reading aloud increasingly complicated stories every night for at least a decade; building a dollhouse and sewing an entire wardrobe of doll clothes; driving to Canada to transport her teenage goth daughter to a Depeche Mode concert; relinquishing control of the car stereo every time mother and daughter were in the car together; and, sending a 16 year-old off to the suburbs of London for a year’s study abroad. Margaret offered the best advice: Make sure you never slam the door shut. Even when Margaret no longer knew who she or Jenny was, hearing Jenny’s voice made her open her eyes and, at lucky moments, provoked a smile. So did Prince’s Raspberry Beret and Cat Stevens’ Morning Has Broken.
In 1977, Margaret and Bill bought a piece of property on Alpensee Strasse in Leavenworth, Washington, and built an Alpine style vacation-retirement home which they decorated with objects they collected on their yearly jaunts to Bavaria and the Tyrol. Leavenworth was where the family recharged on days off and during school vacations. Close to ten years later, after selling their first home, they repeated the process on a 20-acre plot of Mountain Home Road. Margaret made sure this home had a hot tub. Over the next twenty-five winters, Margaret laced on her Sorrels and held on tight to Bill as they traversed up and down the mountain on a snowmobile. She made a valiant attempt to plant a flower garden; the chipmunks, ground squirrels, and deer had different ideas.
Margaret truly enjoyed her career as an elementary school teacher. In Anacortes she taught art and then went on to occasionally substitute teach in Puyallup and Ephrata. Eventually, her passion for children, books, and art came together as a full-time school librarian position at Grant Elementary School in Ephrata, where she taught for nearly ten years. While Bill retired early to live full-time in Leavenworth and work at Marston & Marston, Margaret spent the week in Ephrata teaching. This stint of teaching represented the only time Margaret and Bill were apart until her admittance to a nursing home in the spring of 2019.
At some point in the mid-1990s, the annual trips Margaret and Bill took to Europe shifted from the winter to summer and from Germany and Austria to France. Once Margaret retired in 2004, these trips became extended to span months rather than weeks. Eventually, they decided to buy a second home in France. Their seaside apartment was located a short walk from the beach in La Tranche-sur-Mer, a resort town on the Atlantic Coast. Here was where they spent most of the summer and early autumn, going on adventures near and far in their yellow Peugeot. Normandy, Brittany, Provence, and Tuscany were frequent destinations. With her time in retirement fully her own, Margaret tried out new recipes, painted watercolors, quilted, and read voraciously. Her favorite genre was mystery, though much to her daughter’s dismay she almost always peeked at the ending before starting the book.
Starting the Christmas of 2002, the three-person Price family started the tradition of heading off on a family trip to a European capital every other Christmas. Bill, Margaret and Jennifer celebrated the holiday in Paris, Rome, Cornwall, Salzburg, Bruges, Venice, and, finally, in the Cotswolds. It was during this 2014 trip that Margaret started to show the early signs of dementia. The decline was slow at first, then much faster. However, she was cognizant enough to see her daughter married to the love of her life, Christopher Albanese, and to meet her granddaughter, Orianna. This new family had the chance to spend four Christmases with Margaret, which we will treasure. The pandemic meant that her family missed spending the Christmas of 2020 with Margaret, and alas, we will miss this one and those in future too. Yet, we are comforted knowing that Margaret Elizabeth Edgerton Price knows who Margaret Elizabeth Edgerton Price is again.
A memorial service will be held at a future date. Memorials preferred to Alzheimer's Foundation of America or Page Ahead.
Please share memories of Margaret and photos on the Tribute Wall, located above.
Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home of West Seattle
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