(Wednesday - December 09, 2020) - Margaret Burton, age 97, of Niagara, left this life on December 5, 2020. She lived a long and full life, enjoying travel, teaching, sports bird-watching, gardening and, especially, family. She was an advocate for the developmentally disabled and a supporter of public libraries. She will be remembered by all who knew her as a wonderful role model, a devoted wife and mother, but also a woman who believed in and advocated passionately for schools, libraries and people with disabilities. She will also be remembered for her easy smile and acts of kindness to friends, neighbors and family.

Margaret was born in Appleton, Wisconsin on October 12, 1923 to Raymond "Doc" and Lenore (Woelz) Lally. Her early years in Appleton were spent with a large and loving family - parents, siblings and many cousins. She graduated from Appleton High School, where she met her future husband and the love of her life, William "Bill" Burton.

With an interest in history and art, Margaret traveled to Europe and throughout the United States. A special time was a trip to Ireland with husband Bill, where they explored the land of her ancestors.

Margaret earned a degree from Milwaukee-Downer College and began a career as a teacher, initially with kindergarteners in Appleton, whom she motivated with book readings and piano playing. Bill, also a teacher, began a courtship, and the two married on April 19, 1952.

Margaret put a hold on her teaching career to raise six children; she returned to teaching when they were grown. Both she and Bill, a military veteran who had a career in public school administration, contributed greatly to education and the many students whose lives they positively impacted, welcoming many into their home over the years.

The family resided first in Appleton, then moved to Grafton, Wisconsin, where Bill became high school principal and then superintendent of the public school system. They later moved to Wausau, Wisconsin and Portage, Indiana before settling in Niagara, where both Bill and Margaret continued to work in public schools into retirement. Bill, the love of her life, died in 2001.

Throughout her retirement, Margaret enjoyed the care and attention offered by her children and friends after Bill's death. She also received exceptional care during her last years from her youngest son, Bob, and his wife, Rhonda, and later at Maryhill Manor in Niagara.

Margaret was an experienced gardener and prided herself on flower beds and planters in every house in which she lived. She was also an expert birdwatcher, and taught her children about the various species that made visits to her feeders and trees. She was also a voracious reader who especially enjoyed keeping current through the local newspaper and a variety of magazines. And - boy, oh boy - was she a sports fan! She loved Notre Dame and the Packers most of all, and could often be heard above the voices of others when a call didn't go the way she thought it should.

And in the true Irish tradition, she was known to toast with a small glass of whiskey on more than a few special occasions. And during her younger married years, her ladies' bridge parties where among the top social events of any season.

Margaret was always willing to give her time and energy to a cause and to provide guidance and advice, especially to her children, their spouses and her grandchildren, all of whom she loved greatly. Many of them remember fondly the one-on-one chats with her, perhaps over a cup of coffee in the morning or while sitting on the porch in the afternoon.

Margaret is survived by six children, Tom (Tracy), John (Kristin), Betsy, Kathy (Brad), Bob (Rhonda) and Mary; 10 grandchildren, Jon Chartier, Leigh Collins, Katie Huempfner, Megan Biggs, Drew Huempfner, Tara Patterson, Molly Groeschi, Tahlia Burton, Alayna Mines and Brianna Burton; and eight great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; five siblings, Bob, Jack, Betty, Ann and Mary Ellen; and numerous cousins and aunts and uncles.

Margaret, a devout Catholic who served as a Eucharistic minister and in the Christian Mothers group, will be buried next to Bill in Appleton in a private ceremony. The family plans to hold a memorial service in 2021 when it is safe to gather. Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home in Iron Mountain, Michigan will be in charge of funeral arrangements.

Memorials can be made to Maryhill Manor, 501 Madison Ave., Niagara, WI 54151, for its religious program.

Happily, Margaret has now joined Bill, and they will no doubt be carrying on the family traditions and harmonizing on their song, "My Evaline."


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