Marguerite Mary Herken, 101, of The Villages, Florida, passed away peacefully on March 16, 2013. She was the only daughter of Earl Goff and Caroline Nieman Goff, of Leavenworth, Kansas. A brother, Earl Jr.-"Corky"-died in 1994.
Marguerite was born in Potter, Kansas, and grew up a child of the Great Depression. (She liked to tell the story of how men would come to a relative's house and ask for a drink-and recalled their puzzled expression when she handed them a glass of water. The relative was making bathtub gin during Prohibition.) After graduating from Potter High School, Marguerite attended a two-year college and worked, briefly, as a retail sales clerk in Kansas City before discovering her real passion-teaching. Her students at Oak Hill Elementary, near Easton, Kansas, remember Marguerite as a committed and caring teacher-one who believed in the Biblical injunction that "the quality of mercy is not strained."
In 1939, she married attorney Bernard "Si" Herken of Easton, Kansas. Si was then serving as Treasurer of Leavenworth County. The following year, a daughter, Dorothy "Dee" Herken, was born. During the Second World War, Marguerite and Dee following Si around the country to various Army postings, finally settling in San Pablo, California, where Bernard worked at the Permanente Metals Corporation in nearby Richmond, building Liberty ships for the war effort, and Marguerite became a secretary at the local school district. In 1947, a son, Gregory, was born. Shortly afterward, the family moved to the Denver area, where Si took a job as a lawyer with the Veterans Administration.
In 1956, Bernard, Marguerite, Dee, and Gregg moved back to the Bay Area, when Si was transferred to the VA's San Francisco office. During the next twenty-some years, Marguerite continued her work as a secretary to the principal at Elementary and Middle schools throughout San Mateo Country. While living in California, Marguerite and Si enjoyed taking classes in ballroom dancing at Arthur Murray Studios. In retirement, Marguerite became an accomplished seamstress-making clothes for her family and friends-and took up a new hobby, which she enjoyed with daughter Dee: Texas-style line dancing.
In 1988, Si, Marguerite and Dee moved to Pine Lakes, a retirement community near Ft. Myers, Florida. Following Bernard's death in 1990, mother and daughter relocated to The Villages, near Orlando, where they would reside for the next two decades. Active even into her nineties, Marguerite continued to live independently-enjoying visits to her son, daughter-in-law, and grandson in Alexandria, Virginia and Santa Cruz, California-and driving her golf cart with Dee around The Villages.
A devoted and selfless mother, loving wife, and loyal friend, Marguerite is remembered fondly by all those whose lives she touched-including former students at Oak Hill Elementary, some now in their nineties. She is survived by daughter Dorothy, son Gregg, and grandson Benjamin Herken. At Marguerite's request, her ashes will be interned alongside her husband's casket at Royal Palm Cemetery in Punta Gorda, Florida. An informal gathering of family and friends to remember her life will be held in early April, 2013, at Beyers Funeral Home in Lady Lake, Florida. Online condolences may be left for the family at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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