Margaret Gores

Margaret H. Gores (Kukowski)

Wednesday, August 12th, 1936 - Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
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Margaret Helen Gores (1936-2019)

Margaret Gores, aka “Peggy,” was born to her parents Dominic and Stella Kukowski (née Losinski) in Beach, North Dakota. Her older brother Dick testifies, “I remember 12 August 1936 vividly. I woke up to learn that I had a baby sister!” Margaret’s father was a wheat farmer and a Golden Valley County supervisor, while her mother was a former school teacher and member of the local school board. As Margaret grew up, she became very close to her Losinski aunts and uncles, who lived in rural western Wisconsin, and she visited their dairy farm frequently. They were beloved and influential parts of her life. Upon graduating from Beach High School, Margaret attended North Dakota State University, where she met her future husband, Bill Gores. Margaret graduated from NDSU with a degree in Home Economics and thereafter began a short teaching career at schools in North Dakota (Mandan) and eastern Montana (Glendive). Upon marrying Bill, she moved with him to California, where he had taken an engineering job in the aerospace industry. They were able to purchase a four-unit apartment building in Newport Beach, California, where her two sons, Steven and Tom, were born, eighteen months apart. In 1964 Bill was offered a job in Milwaukee, where he and Margaret lived in rental units until 1968, when they bought a home in suburban Franklin, Wisconsin.
Margaret was a devoted mother who took every opportunity to enhance her children’s learning experience. For instance, when she learned about the Montessori model of education, she immediately enrolled Steven and then Tom in the Milwaukee Montessori School, which was at the time viewed as a pioneering, experimental institution. She supplemented their schooling with constant trips to the library, the Milwaukee Public Museum, the War Memorial Art Museum, the Milwaukee County Botanical Domes, and the Wehr Nature Center. She tried to make sure that Steven and Tom loved the arts, reading, and nature. Family was also her focus: she and Bill organized yearly family road trips to visit Losinski, Kukowski, and Gores relatives in Wisconsin, Minneapolis, and North Dakota. Often these trips included vast circuits of the West, including jaunts to National Parks and the boys’ home state, California.
Not content to be confined to the role of mother and homemaker, Margaret chose to work outside the home, first at the J. C. Penney catalog outlet, then at the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), the Whitnall School District, and finally at the Associated Bag Company. At MATC she was able to make good use of her training in Home Economics, teaching night courses in “Gourmet Cookery” and “Baking with Yeast,” for example. This was also the era during which she would occasionally venture out to dine at the “Fertile Dirt,” the local hippie, vegetarian restaurant; she would also visit one of the only ‘health food’ stores in town and bring home such things as sugar-free, carob-based treat bars that she tried to substitute for chocolate bars in Steven and Tom’s school lunches. Needless to say, they were ungrateful and vastly unimpressed. At Whitnall High School, she ran the cafeteria food service for several years and reluctantly became accustomed to the politics of pleasing budget-conscious school administrators, the ‘lunch ladies’ who stubbornly resisted any change, and the finicky tastes of the students themselves. While working, Margaret also went back to college at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, where she earned a Masters degree in Adult Education. She always felt that learning was a life-long process, and she strove to learn something each day, which she gladly shared.
After working at Whitnall, Margaret was at an age where she might have been expected to retire, but she was always determined to work, long after Bill had retired. Outwardly oriented and open to speaking to anyone, she took a job as a telephone representative for Associated Bag Company, which sells all sorts of bags and packing/moving accessories. She loved talking to clients from all over the country, and she joyfully embraced her self-given title of ‘bag lady.’ Clients and co-workers were amazed and amused by her extensive vocabulary and insistence on correct enunciation; she would often remark on how she loved to read the dictionary. She became close friends with several of her co-workers, and they kept in touch even after they had all left the ‘Bag.’ This was the last of her paid jobs, but she could not be contained within the home, as much as she apparently loved household cleaning—anyone who knew her could tell you of her fervor for vacuuming, dusting, mopping, and scrubbing. Rather than retreating to her own domestic sphere, once a week she volunteered as a cleaner at the Bethesda thrift shop, where she became a loved fixture of the store, shuffling down the aisles with her dust mop, ever seeking out fluff, dirt, and debris of all sorts. Utterly without vanity, she would appear in an old knit cap, over-large sweatshirt, and baggy second-hand jeans, sometimes with her hair in rollers, ready—as she put it—to be useful. She loved to talk with staff and customers, and she tried always to share joy and laughter with them. Even while Bill was seriously ill and she herself suffered through various health concerns, and even when she was having a hard time walking, she persisted in trying to be useful, and in trying to spread knowledge and good cheer.
Every Friday she would make fresh soup and a pie or other dessert for Tom, who works in Waterloo, Iowa, and would come home to visit every weekend. On Sunday night before he returned to Iowa, she always made a bountiful meal for him so he could take the leftovers with him to feast on through the week. Margaret also baked cookies for him to take back to his office, and amongst his co-workers she was greatly esteemed for her homemade treats. Always trying to improve, Margaret continually asked for feedback from Tom’s treat-loving colleagues. She was proud of the card of thanks that nearly twenty of them signed, with their compliments.
Other than her family, Margaret’s passions were cooking, education, thrift-store shopping, and North Dakota. She subscribed to the Golden Valley (Beach) newspaper for over forty years, and she—along with Bill—loved to read the Western novels of North Dakota native Louis L’Amour. Her sudden death due to a massive stroke was a shock to her friends and family, but we will remember her humor, her kindness, her humility, her devotion to work, and her constant interest in all those around her.
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Posted at 06:16am
I read about the death of your love one. Your family have my sincere condolences. When we lose someone in death, we feel helpless. But in God's Words the Bible we read at 1 Corinthians 15:26 about when "death the last enemy will be brought to nothing.". At John 5:28,29 tells us about the wonderful promise of the resurrection. We have the hope of seeing our love ones again, we all await this joyful time.

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