Margaret E. Dickmeyer
Jun 3, 1925 – Feb 23, 2017
Preceded in death by parents, James and Dorothy Mills; brothers: James, Stuart, and David. Survived by husband, Robert L. Dickmeyer; children: Julie Mahoney (Skeets), Lisa Peden (Charles), and Mark Dickmeyer; grandchildren: Alyssa Fezio, Seth Peden, and Holly Peden; great-grandchild, Alice Lambert; brother, Frank Mills; sister, Judy Faubel; 15 nieces and nephews; 36 grandnieces and grandnephews; 41 great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews.
The family will receive friends Friday, March 3rd, from 5pm to 7pm at the Bel Air Chapel. SERVICES Saturday, March 4th at 11am, Presbyterian Church of the Cross, 1517 So. 114th St. Graveside Service Saturday, 2:30pm, Wabash Cemetery in Murdock, NE. Memorials to Vesper Concerts c/o Presbyterian Church of the Cross; River City Theater Organ Society c/o Treasurer Jerry Pawlak, 8825 Executive Woods Drive #85, Lincoln, NE 68512; or The Cat House (Shelter and Adoption Facility), P.O. Box 23145, Lincoln, NE 68542.
A TRIBUTE TO THE LIFE OF MARGARET DICKMEYER
Margaret was born on June 3, 1925 to Dorothy and James Mills in the home of her Aunt Emily in Elmwood, Nebraska because the nearest doctor lived in that town. She grew up on the family farm with her four brothers and one sister in Murdock, a town of about 200 residents in those days, a few miles from Elmwood. As was the tradition in those times, her grandparents also lived with the family and died in that home. During the Great Depression, life on the farm wasn’t easy, but farm families in Nebraska, spared from the drought of the dust bowl, always had plenty of food on the table. Margaret graduated from high school and went to a broadcasting school in Kansas City. After that, she went to work in Fremont. In 1944, she was introduced to her soon-to-be husband, Bob, though she always called him “Joe,” a nickname his big brothers had given him. Soon after, he departed for boot camp and then the South Pacific while she worked at an ordnance plant in Mead, Nebraska building bombs. Their relationship grew through letters overseas, and after the war ended, they were married at the family farm in Murdock on June 6, 1948.
Bob got a job working for Western Electric which eventually moved the newlyweds to Omaha. They bought their first home in South Omaha; the house had a dugout dirt basement and no indoor plumbing! In this home, Margaret and Bob had three children together, Julie, Mark and Lisa. They joined Lefler United Methodist Church nearby and Margaret immediately got involved as a volunteer choir director. Bob’s career moved him to Northwestern Bell Telephone Company and, in 1962, the couple moved to a brand new house in West Omaha where she lived the rest of her life. Soon after moving, Margaret and Bob joined the Presbyterian Church of the Cross and again, Margaret immediately got involved, joining the Women’s Circle and working with Vacation Bible School. This began a 55 year commitment to service in the Church, playing in the women’s hand-bell choir (which the members affectionately called the ding-a-lings!), helping assemble the monthly newsletter, attending Bible study groups, serving as an Elder on the Session, and serving on the Evangelism Committee where she helped initiate the bread delivery program to visiting guests—she was still working on that committee until a fall caused her to fracture her pelvis in November. After 6 ½ weeks in rehab, she returned home only to realize that her wounds were not going to heal and she voluntarily entered hospice care in her home on February 10th where she remained until her death on Thursday, February 23rd, surrounded by family.
Margaret had a life full of family, faith and music. Having many aunts and uncles along with five siblings meant lots of cousins, nieces and nephews, so family gatherings were always big, and every year they celebrated birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. As the family aged, there were even more gatherings and Margaret never missed a single bridal shower, baby shower, graduation or wedding for all of her nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Beginning in 1991, the Reeve family, on her mother’s side, held a big family reunion every two years at different locations in the country and she never missed one! Every year for the past 30 years, Margaret took as many as 35 friends and family to hear the Omaha Symphony Christmas concert, followed by a trip to see the 50 foot Christmas tree at the Durham Museum, then dinner for everyone at a nearby restaurant.
Her daughter, Lisa, who had moved to Texas, brought three grandchildren and one great-granddaughter into the world. This meant lots and lots of trips down south to visit—and Margaret and Bob loved to travel! After Bob’s early retirement in 1986, a result of the split of the Bell System, they began what would become moe than 30 years of travel, including six cruises, a trip to England and Ireland with extended family members, and countless car trips to both coasts.
Her love of music began with her own fine piano playing, which she passed on to her children along with involvement in school instrumental programs. She loved to go to the Omaha Symphony, and frequently attended pipe organ and solo piano recitals at area churches and at UNO. Whenever possible, she went to concerts presented by the Nebraska Wind Symphony, Orchestra Omaha, S.A.C. Band, and she loved choral programs. She also loved to go to the summer concerts in the parks, especially at Rockbrook on Friday nights. She loved the theater, too, and particularly enjoyed attending the melodramas at Mahoney Park. When the Church of the Cross began their Organ Vesper Series, Margaret stepped right up and became a continuing financial sponsor for all 28 seasons. She felt it was important for people to have access to free concerts. In 1982, she asked Dana Sloan, the Minister of Music (for whom she would do anything!) what he would like to have for the music program at the church. He requested a harpsichord, so she commissioned an instrument to be built for the church, using money she received from her father’s estate after his passing. She and Bob then rented a cargo van and drove up with Dana to Grand Rapids, Michigan to pick it up and deliver it to the church. She was also a longtime member and supporter of the River City Theatre Organ Society and attended many theatre pipe organ concerts over the years.
Margaret loved flowers and always had her yard ornamented with a wide array of potted annuals every summer. And she loved her jewelry, especially rings! Whether she was going out to church followed by breakfast at the Village Inn, or going to a Symphony concert, she had a big, glitzy, rhinestone ring on every finger! And she loved her hair! For 55 years, her Friday ritual was going to the beauty shop to have her hair done. Her first beauty operator, Pat Grutel, did her hair for 20 years, then Pat’s sister, Georgia Poplin, took over for the next 35 years! She also loved Cheetos Puffs—she kept a BIG supply of them stashed in the oven! And she loved lemon meringue pie and shrimp, and scrambled eggs and cats, and her backyard squirrels.
Margaret loved her life and lived it to the very fullest. Even as she became less able to get around, she still wanted to get out and go places! At age 85, her family held a birthday reception for her after the church service, and the fellowship hall was filled to capacity with well-wishers from her church family. At age 90, a big birthday bash was held in the backyard of her home, and nearly 200 people attended. Her Christmas card list still had almost 100 people on it! This will always be a big part of her legacy—she loved gatherings and social activities because she loved people and she always wanted to make sure everyone was included. Margaret was always proud to tell people her age, probably because no one could believe she was that old! That is because she always looked so beautiful and she had the outlook and spirit of a person much younger! However, as much as she loved life, over the past year she realized that, at age 91, her body was finally wearing out, and she confided to close family that she was ready to go and meet her maker—life was becoming more and more of a struggle. As a woman of deep faith, she knew that she would be going to a better place and she died peacefully in the home she loved with family she loved. She will be sorely missed by everyone that had the honor and privilege of knowing this incredibly kind, caring and loving woman, our Mom, Margaret Dickmeyer.