Margery Gilcrest-Hesse

Margery passed away at age 90 on February 7, 2013, surrounded by her loving children and granddaughter. She died due to complications of a stroke. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Russell Wolfe, and her grandson, Lincoln Hoskin. She is survived by two brothers, Philip and Dana Gilcrest, and her six children, Irvin Dana Beal, Anthony B. Beal (Cynthia), Melinda R. Hoskin (Stuart), Ellen M. Beal (Pete Bosheff), Alexander G. Beal (Linda), Charles V. Beal; and eleven grandchildren, Cailean, Brian, Elizabeth, Aivia, Emily, Andrew, Alexander, Michael, Dorothy, Chris and Natalia. Margery is also survived by four stepchildren, Marci J. Wolfe, Tam E. Wolfe Viger (Brian), Susan K. Hollon, and Parry T. Wolfe (Courtney), their children and grandchildren.

Margery was born on October 1, 1922, in New Cumberland, West Virginia, the fourth of nine children. She was a proud graduate of Kent State University and received her Master of Arts in History with an emphasis in Southeast Asia from Michigan State University during the height of the Vietnam War.  Margery worked for the Lansing School District in several elementary schools and retired from Lyons Elementary in 1985. She took great pride in her ability to effectively teach reading to her students. She married Russell Wolfe in 1983 and they remained happily devoted to each other until his passing in September of 2012.

Margery was a committed political activist, supporting many liberal causes.  She was active in both the early Civil Rights movement in Lansing and opposition to the Vietnam War. Margery was a role model to her six children and instilled in them her love of learning, a commitment to community activism, social justice and world peace.

She was also an accomplished storyteller and a person of great humility. Credit for getting the Mackinac Bridge constructed as well as ending the Cold War after a visit to Russia with Russ in 1989 have not been widely recognized! Margery communicated frequently with world leaders and authored two books: A Short Apprehensive History of the World (personally endorsed by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor) and The
. She was a talented seamstress, avid reader, loved opera and history, British comedies, Mark Twain and her dog, Bill.

A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, February 23, 2013, at the Mason Historical Society located at 200 Oak St. (street parking available). The celebration will begin at noon and a light lunch will be served immediately after the end of the service at the Museum. Contributions, in lieu of flowers, may be made to the Mason Historical Society.

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3 Messages to “Margery Gilcrest-Hesse

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Connie Beauvais
February 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Thinking of your family and the loss of your wonderful Margery. She was an amazing women that lived a very active life. The passing of Russ such a short time ago only adds to the grief. Both great people,
we need more people in this World like them.
very sad for your loss

Teresa Napier Cuares
February 11, 2013 at 3:24 pm

My brother and I both had Mrs. Gilcrest at Lyons for first and second grades. One of my MOST vivid memories was of her dressing up as Raggedy Ann and sitting upon our classroom window sill waiting for us to come in from being outdoors. We all came in and started in our work and noticed the BIG doll in the window but just kept on working. All of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the “doll” start to move! It was her and she just climbed down and freaked us all out. It was THE most memorable event of my first grade year and one I will never forget. I have relayed this story to my own daughter who is now in 2nd grade and she loves hearing the story as well. I remember her as being a caring and loving teacher but one that didn’t tolerate nonsense and I know that she instilled my love of reading. I am so sorry for her family’s loss and wish that I had reconnected over the years. She was a great teacher and I try to use the same methods I learned from her and my other teachers at Lyons in my same classroom still today. What a great lady!

D. Williams
February 22, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Condolences to Margery family. Please be assured of God’s promise that one day we will see our loved ones again happy and healthy, John 5:28, 29 says, “all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.” I pray this promise along with loving memories of Margery fill your heart with comfort and peace.


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