On November 16, 1996, my Great Aunt Margaret Strawbridge died at the age of 98. My second cousin Freedley Hunsicker sent me a copy of her obituary from the Philadelphia Inquirer of November 19, which I will reprint here:
“Margaret M. Strawbridge Orchestra Lover, 98”
“Margaret Marshall Strawbridge, 98, died of heart failure Saturday at Graeme Park in Horsham, her home for 76 years. In 1922, the same year she and Welsh Strawbridge were married, they bought Graeme Park, the historic estate of Gov. William Keith. A section of that estate — 42 acres and the manor house built in 1722 — was given to the state in 1957. The Strawbridges lived in another house on the site, and Mrs. Strawbridge continued to live there after her husband — who was not related to the department-store Strawbridges — died in 1969.
“Born in Philadelphia in 1898, Mrs. Strawbridge was educated at the Agnes Irwin School and Lake Erie College for Women. A descendant of John Marshall, one of the first chief justices of the United States, she was a member of the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Colonial Dames of America, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Union League. She also was one of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s most loyal followers. From the time she was in school until last year, unless she was sick or out of the country, she attended the orchestra’s Friday afternoon matinees. She was a member of the Church of the Messiah in Gwynedd Valley, the Countryside Gardeners and the Phillips Mill Community Association. Surviving is an older sister, Harriet Marshall Wentworth, who celebrated her 100th birthday in September. A viewing will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Kirk and Nice Funeral Home, 6301 Germantown Ave. A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Church of the Messiah, Route 202 South, Gwynedd. Burial will be in the churchyard at St. Thomas Church, Whitemarsh. Memorial contributions may be made to the Church of the Messiah, Box 127, Gwynedd, Pa. 19436.”
I have happy memories of times spent with Aunt Margaret over the years — visits to the farm to see Uncle Welsh and her on Sundays with my mother and grandmother, and Christmas parties just about every year. After Uncle Welsh died, she often came to my mother’s house in Chestnut Hill for Christmas dinner and would lead everyone in singing the first and last verses of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” while holding little candles. The picture above is from the Christmas gathering of 1972; Aunt Margaret was enjoying the company of her great-great-nephews Henry and Robin White.