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WARROAD, MINN.: Daughters call mom, Margaret Marvin, 'before her time'

Her daughters had nothing but great things to say about her, laughing as they spoke about fond memories only two days after her death. Margaret Marvin, 89, of Warroad, Minn., died Friday in Roseau Area Hospital. She was the wife of Bill Marvin, o...

Her daughters had nothing but great things to say about her, laughing as they spoke about fond memories only two days after her death.

Margaret Marvin, 89, of Warroad, Minn., died Friday in Roseau Area Hospital. She was the wife of Bill Marvin, owner and founder of Marvin Windows, headquartered in Warroad. The two had six children, four boys and two girls.

"She was a woman before her time," said Margaret's daughter, Susan Marvin, of Minneapolis. "This is a woman who ended up in college despite her time."

Love of reading

Margaret Marvin attended Macalester College during the Depression and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. She loved books and was described as "a voracious reader."


"I remember her, just half a dozen weeks ago, quoting poetry she had loved since she was a child," Susan Marvin said.

She and her sister, Peggy Johnson, Warroad, spoke about stories they would hear about their mother collecting books from around the community and starting up the first library on Main Street.

"Eventually, she ended up donating a beautiful library to the community," Susan Marvin said.

A scholarship fund is set up in Margaret's name for communication students in college because of her love of learning and teaching.

"She had a love for learning, and that made her a terrific teacher," Susan Marvin said. "I've talked to many of her students who say she had a big impact on their lives."

Margaret Marvin wrote a column for the Warroad Pioneer, hosted a radio show and was described as fun and creative in a lively style.

"When anyone had a project, and they wanted it done well, they came to her," Johnson said.

The radio show, called "Warroad News," was broadcast out of her home and included news and weather.


"One of her favorites was when she was broadcasting her show and the dog started giving birth to puppies," Susan Marvin said. "She would announce it on her show as they came."

Margaret Marvin seemed to be an inspiration for all the women in her family. Susan Marvin said Margaret was a progressive thinker, always encouraging her children and grandchildren to reach higher and exceed their limits.

"She inspired her daughters, students and her granddaughters," Susan Marvin said. "She was a very nontraditional mother and grandmother, but a very, very special one."

Volunteer workHer daughters also talked about her involvement in the community through volunteer work.

"She wanted to make things better and she did," Susan Marvin said.

"I am so thankful that I had her as a mentor," Johnson said. "I remember she always used to say, 'Small communities need volunteers.'"

Funeral, visitationFuneral services for Margaret Marvin will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Zion Lutheran Church, Warroad. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. today in Helgeson Funeral Chapel, Warroad. The family's paid obituary for her is elsewhere on this page.

Susan Marvin and Johnson expect a good number of attendees at the funeral.


"I think the church will be full because the family will fill it up," said Johnson, as both sisters laughed and reminisced about family dinners that filled their mother's living room.

"We would have Christmas dinners with the family, and there would be 70 to 80 people there," Susan Marvin said. "As a dishwasher, I didn't appreciate that."

Margaret Marvin also was very proud of her Swedish roots and made sure her children knew where they came from.

"We really knew we were Swedish, didn't we, Suze?," Johnson said. "I didn't know about the Marvin side for a long time. We finally found out we have some English and Irish in us, too," she added, laughing.

"She spoke about Warroad wherever she went and how great it is," Susan Marvin said.

"Things wouldn't have happened the way they did in Warroad if it weren't for her," Johnson said. "She's going to be dearly missed."

Reach Gibson at (701) 787-6754, or lgibson@gfherald.com .

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