Sullivan, Margaret Mathena
Margaret Sullivan, of Prices Fork, died January 20, 2013. She was married to the late Bernard Sullivan and was the daughter of the late Earl Mathena and Myrtle Surface Mathena Price. She is predeceased by her granddaughter, Becky; brothers, R.E., Bobby, and Ray; and stepfather, Lester.
Margaret is survived by her children, Richard, Larry, George, Joe, Peggy, and Mary; Richard’s wife, Christine, George’s wife, Rita, and Joe’s wife, Beverly; grandchildren Katie, Jennifer, Elizabeth, Robin, Ryan, Sam, Sarah, and Michael; grandsons-in-law Rick, Brian, Clay, and Kent; granddaughters-in-law, Brittani and Nicki; great-grandchildren Hannah, Erin, Nathan, Daniel, Rachel, Eli, Calvin, and Timothy; and sisters, Anza and Wanda.
Margaret was born on September 5, 1926. She was named after her grandmother, Margaret Surface and was called Little Margaret by her great-aunts as long as they lived. As a child, she and her brother and widowed mother lived with her grandparents and other relatives in a log cabin that still stands on Tom’s Creek.
Margaret was famous among her family and friends as an avid reader, and she told many stories about how much it meant in her life. At her small rural school the library was housed on two shelves in the girls’ coat closet, and Margaret read through all the books there many times. One time the kids at her country school got to take a school bus to the Lyric Theater in Blacksburg to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but Margaret’s family did not have the dime she needed for admission. A little boy gave her his dime saying that since she was the one who had read the story she ought to be the one to see the movie.
Margaret’s reading influenced other aspects of her life as well. One highlight in her childhood was the music school held every summer at Sunnyside Church. The music professor taught shape notes, and school always ended with an all-day singing and dinner on the ground. Music school also included bible study, and Margaret said that while she was never a good singer, since she had read the children’s bible stories in her grandmother’s bible many times, she excelled in answering the bible questions.
In 1941, hundreds of men from as far away as Kentucky and West Virginia came to the Radford powder plant looking for work. Margaret met Bernard, a young man from West Virginia who had just graduated from high school. They married on August 10, 1942, and three months later Bernard joined the Army Air Corps. During the course of the war this young country girl traveled alone cross-country to locations where Bernard was stationed.
In beautiful, sleepy Orlando she picked a fresh orange from a branch overhanging a city sidewalk. In Miami Beach she and Bernard stayed in a beachside hotel on Collins Avenue. In Buffalo Margaret filled her ice box with icicles broken from the roof of her apartment because the ice man couldn’t get through the heavy snow to make his delivery. While she was visiting Bernard in Sioux Falls in April 1945, President Roosevelt died.
She was back home that summer, and one day in August she was restlessly walking in the fields when she heard church bells ringing out all at once, and that was how she knew the war had ended. At the time Bernard was stationed in England flying missions over Germany. Margaret was alone washing dishes one day in September when she heard someone step onto the back porch, and it was him coming home.
Margaret was a faithful member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, and in her community she was an active member in the Price’s Fork Grange. She worked at Price’s Fork Elementary School first as a teacher’s aide and then as the lunch room manager. She was a good friend and a great cook and told interesting stories about her life. Her children, their families, her sisters, and her friends will miss her very much. We all appreciate the many wonderful things she did for us.
Margaret’s children thank the staff and residents of Heritage Hall for their care and friendship to their mother in 2012, the doctors and medical team who assisted her in her final illness, and relatives and friends who visited and cared for her.
A funeral mass will be held 11 a.m. Thursday, January 24, 2013, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church with the Rev. Remi Sojka officiating. Burial will be in Roselawn Memorial Gardens, Christiansburg. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg.