My late mother-in-law, Margaret Marting, joined the Shaker Lakes Garden Club in 1946, soon after moving to Cleveland with her husband Del. She and her good friend Clara Rankin joined in the same year. Margaret was born in 1913 in Suffern, New York. The youngest of nine surviving children, she and her family split their time between Manhattan and the country. She credited her love of nature to her happy times at their farm. Margaret graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1935 and returned to New York City to work for IBM and then the Book-of-the-Month Club.
In addition to her long-standing involvement with the Rainbow Babies and Children’s Foundation (she was a Life Trustee, and former president of the board), she was passionate about gardening, flower arranging, and the Garden Club of America. She was a GCA Floral Design Judge emerita, adept at both traditional mass design and ikebana. She judged at the Philadelphia Flower Show for many years, and was an active flower arranger for the Women’s Council of the Cleveland Museum of Art. I can well remember being her assistant as she prepared a pedestal arrangement! She was also an emerita member of the Holden Forests and Gardens Board of Trustees.
After her husband died prematurely in 1980, she turned her energies into her GCA work. She served as a Zone X Representative for both the Flower Show and Judging Committees, and was the GCA Area Vice-Chairman for Judging for Zones X and XI 1984-1986. She was a founding member of the Katharine M. Grosscup Scholarship Committee in 1981, having been a friend of Mrs. Grosscup’s through the Shaker Lakes Garden Club. She served as Chairman of the committee, and a Vice-Chairman of the national Scholarship Committee. She was also instrumental in the creation of the GCA Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship, and the admission of the Little Garden Club of Columbus into the GCA.
The culmination of her GCA years came when she became the Zone X Director, 1989-91. She loved her time spent in New York, at GCA headquarters on E. 60th Street, not far from St. Patrick’s Cathedral where she was married in 1943.
As I reflect on my involvement with Shaker Lakes Garden Club and the GCA, I realize what an impact Margaret had on my life. Though I lack her flower arranging talent, I have followed in her footsteps as a member of the Katharine M. Grosscup Scholarship Committee and Vice-Chairman of the GCA Scholarship Committee. She was a wonderful mentor and will be deeply missed.