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Obituary: MARGETTS, WINNIFRED

Published: Sunday, May 3 2015 9:02 a.m. MDT

Winnifred S. Margetts1920 ~ 2012Winnifred Snell Margetts completed her pilgrimage on earth returning home at last on March 30, 2012, as the tender green of spring first touched the branches and daffodils and forsythia blossomed in sunny display. Winn was born October 26, 1920, in St. Anthony, Idaho, of Utah pioneer stock, the youngest child of exceptionally handsome parents George Dixon Snell II and Ivy Belle Price Snell. She grew up in St. Anthony; Miami, Arizona; and Salt Lake City, graduating from East High School in 1937 and attending junior college in Phoenix where she was active in theatre. Always deeply fond of music-classical, swing, and soft jazz-she played piano and violin and served as concert mistress while still in her teens with the orchestra that was forerunner to the Utah Symphony. She completed her bachelor's degree in speech and Theatre at the University of Utah in 1942, affiliating with Iota Sigma Alpha (scholastic) and Theta Alpha Phi (drama), numbering future Tony Award winner Keene Curtis among her closest friends; she also began graduate work in summer 1942 at the University of Iowa. She was teaching stage lighting, acting, history of theatre, and fundamentals of speech at the U before she had even finished her undergraduate degree. She taught briefly at Murray High School in the autumn of 1942 before being called back to the U to teach again, the need great because so many men had enlisted to serve in World War II. In addition, she became stage manager and electrical/technical coordinator for the University Theatre, draftsman for scenery, and radio technician of the U Radio Lab. In June 1943 in the midst of war Winn joined the Navy as a WAVE, training at Hunter College in New York-where she wrote a speech for Admiral Nimitz-before being posted to San Francisco as Specialist Recruiter. In that capacity she wrote and broadcast three radio shows weekly and made recruiting trips throughout the Western US. At this time she renewed an earlier acquaintance with Ralph E. Margetts, now also in the Navy and stationed on Treasure Island. She first met Ralph, actor and make-up man, in September 1941 while playing Lady Caroline in J.M. Barrie's Dear Brutus with Interstake Drama/Deseret Players at the Lake-known more recently as Promised Valley Playhouse-a theatre that 60 years later Winn would try unsuccessfully to save from the wrecking ball. The two married March 13, 1944. Expecting her first child, Winn was discharged from the Navy in November of that year. Son Phil was born the following June, and Winn and family saw out the war in San Francisco, a city she would love all her life.Returning to Salt Lake in 1947, Winn completed her master's degree in theatre in 1948, and began work on a PhD. In 1953 the family moved to Chico, California where, in lieu of a doctoral thesis, daughter Michele was born in 1954. Back again to Utah in 1957, and with the exception of 18 months in Carbondale, Illinois, in 1965-66, Winn lived in Salt Lake the rest of her life, teaching speech and English at the University of Utah, just as she had at Chico State College and Southern Illinois University. She gave up teaching in 1968, going to work in 1969 at the U's Marriott Library where she became personnel manager in 1970 and was much appreciated for her staff development. She retired in 1983 and became active in the University of Utah Professors Emeriti Club, serving on the executive board for nearly a quarter century, as secretary, vice president, president, past president, and, for 18 years, as activities coordinator.Besides her family, Winn loved two things most in life: reading and travel. She enjoyed history, biography, crime fiction, and counted as favorite authors Barbara Pym and especially Joanna Trollope. For travel, Europe was her most frequent destination, although her favorite countries included Morocco, Turkey, and Egypt. Paris, however, remained the city she loved above all. Her last trip abroad, with her son and daughter in 2004, to England and France was one of the best and included three magical days at the medieval priory of Fontevrault in the company of Eleanor of Aquitaine on the 800th anniversary of her death.Having weathered well a total hip replacement in 1999 and double knee replacement in 2006, Winn opted to do the other hip last October. Sadly, she never regained her mobility, although she continued to make the effort and to hope for a return home. Her family would like to offer sincere heartfelt thanks to all the staff at Holladay Healthcare Center and the Utah State Veterans Nursing Home who helped care for her the last six months of her life and who cheerfully tolerated the daily visits and pestering questions of her daughter. Thanks, too, to loving ward members who visited whenever possible.Winn is survived by son Phillip C., daughter Michele; granddaughters Lisette Anders, Nicole (John) Paulson, Noelle Margetts; great grandchildren Zsanae, Zachary, Hayden, Nicolas, Sarah, Luke, Kierston, and Jordan. Preceded in death by her husband Ralph (in 1997), brother George, sisters Helen Mae and Eleanor (Elynore) Ann.Funeral services will be at noon Wednesday, April 4, at the LDS 33rd Ward, 453 South 1100 East. Friends may call Tuesday, April 3, between 5 and 7 at Evans and Early Mortuary, 574 East 100 South, and at the ward prior to the service from 10:45 to 11:45. Interment is in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Do send flowers; they are most welcome! Also welcome: contributions to the Ralph E. and Winnifred S. Margetts Scholarship Fund, c/o University of Utah, Office of Development, 540 Arapeen Dr., Ste 250, 84108.We believe our much loved mother is not dead, but "as a traveler,/Goes to discover countries yet unknown. Condolences may be shared with the family at www.evans-earlymortuary.com.

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