Margie was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri on October 29, 1925, the second of two daughters to Benjamin and Selma Schrader. Along with her older sister Melva Rose, she was part of that famous generation that was shaped by the Great Depression, and World War II as well as Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and her favorite childhood role model, Amelia Earhart. Hers was also the generation that invented the co-ed and Home Economics as a college major. All of these things fostered her lifelong interests in community service, a concern for children in need, women in politics, travel with Howard and becoming an excellent cook. She was good at taking charge.
She and Howard met during World War II at a mixer in St. Louis while she was a student at Mac Murray College for Women in Jacksonville, Illinois and he was studying electrical engineering at Washington University. They married in 1946 shortly after Howard’s graduation and acceptance at MIT Graduate School of Business and her work as a social worker with the Lutheran Home Society.They moved to Akron, Ohio after Howard finished his graduate work and accepted a job with Goodyear, bought their first house and had their first child, Cecille. Denise, Suzanne, and the twins Karl and Russell, followed along with moves to Portsmouth, Ohio and Cleveland. It was in Cleveland that Margie first became involved in the League of Women voters and cemented her interest in politics, activism and, current affairs. She told her children that she joined the League because raising 5 kids can cause concern for your mental health and she didn’t want to take any chances. Girl scouting also became an important volunteer activity.
In the early 60s, Margie and Howard travelled to the west coast and the Seattle World’s Fair and decided that the Caterson family belonged in southern California. After a year in La Jolla, the family moved permanently to the Palos Verdes Peninsula in 1964 and, life in California began. This meant building a house on a cliff overlooking the water, getting the kids through school and out the door, and serving on the board of the San Pedro YWCA helping to set up the Y’s first Head Start and afterschool programs where kids could enjoy something pretty unique called Sesame Street. As a member of Neighborhood Church in Palos Verdes for more than 30 years, she served on many boards and as Chair of the Women’s Fellowship who orchestrated the annual Yule Parlor Parade and Homes Tour fundraiser that benefitted local non-profit organizations, was instrumental in building a new social hall for the church and, organized dozens of wedding receptions and memorials.
She travelled extensively with Howard after the kids were out of the house. When asked by her family about her favorite memories she would always say Italy and the town of Lucca, Singapore and the sight of local residents enjoying breakfast out with their pet birds and that time in Germany when they stayed in a hotel where the toilet was located in the shower, presumably to save space.
She welcomed grandchildren late in life with great enthusiasm. She shared her love of cooking with them. When one of them once asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said she had always wanted to try sky diving but Grandpa Howard had told her that she had to wait until everyone was out of college.
She loved her family, her community and could organize anything given 15 minutes notice. She taught her children to make a difference. She will be greatly missed.