Those who knew her, or knew of her, would most frequently describe her as "remarkable."
Possibly her greatest achievement came in her ninth and 10th decades when she wrote a stage adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations," which was eventually set to music, evolving into a legitimate Broadway-structured musical.
In 2001, her work made national headlines when New York Times entertainment editor, Bernard Weinraub, did a feature article on her endeavor following an impressive staged reading produced in Los Angeles at that time which featured Cloris Leachman.
This set the stage for a successful workshop of the show which ran for several weeks in both Los Angeles and for a special weekend in Margaret's hometown of Fort Myers at the Florida Repertory Theatre. It additionally found her as a featured panelist (alongside Lauren Bacall) for a New York City symposium assembled to celebrate and examine women in the arts.
This past year, at age 96, Margaret saw her work, and that of her gifted collaborators, make its world debut at the Tony-Award winning Utah Shakespeare Festival -- playing to standing ovations nightly throughout the summer of 2010.
Margaret Hoorneman, the daughter of Clyde L. and Martha (Koenig) Winter, was born on Nov. 18, 1913, into a pioneering Le Mars family which, on her mother's side, extended into the sixth generation in Le Mars. Her father, a college professor and accomplished biologist, was accidentally killed in 1926, a loss which she felt deeply for the rest of her life.
Valedictorian of her college class, she embarked on a teaching career. In 1937, she married Morse Hoorneman, member of another long-time Le Mars family. Having jokingly suggested that she would marry him if he became mayor of Le Mars, she did marry him when he actually did become the youngest mayor in Le Mars' history. He subsequently became county attorney and practiced law in Le Mars until his death in 1967.
Margaret taught school in Sioux Center when Morse entered the army in World War II. She later taught school in Le Mars from 1961 to 1979. Possessing wide-ranging intellectual skills, Margaret at different times in her varied career taught physics, mathematics and literature.
Margaret had many interests. She was an expert bridge and Scrabble player and enjoyed crossword puzzles, reading, and pottery-making. Active in community affairs, she was at one time a Girl Scout leader and 4-H leader, as well as a member of church women's organizations, federated women's clubs, and, for more than 60 years, the philanthropic organization P.E.O.
Socially active and popular, Margaret was renowned for her wit, which was displayed even as she knew she was dying. When her son Evan asked her if she was eating well enough, Margaret -- known for her love of good food -- responded, "Oh, yes, the appetite is the last to go."
Margaret enjoyed the give and take of humor and so especially enjoyed a large gathering of family and friends at Lake Okoboji to celebrate her 80th birthday. At a banquet and roast presided over by her son, three grandchildren -- Sara Darehshori, Brian Van Der Wilt, and Ian Hoorneman -- stood up to toast and roast her mercilessly. She gave as good as she got, creating a hilarious evening.
Margaret Hoorneman is survived by a son, Evan Hoorneman and his wife, Mollie of South Harwich, Mass.; two daughters, Georgia Darehshori and her husband, Gholi of Sanibel, Fla., and Ruth Rann and her husband Jerry of Oyens; 10 grandchildren, Ian Hoorneman, Sally Darrow, Susan (Allen) Thrift, Sarah (Charlie) Di Gerolamo, Elizabeth Hoorneman, Sara (Ron Rolfe) Darehshori, Jackie (Byron) Benstead, Brian Van Der Wilt, Jason Rann and Jami (Tina) Rann; and great-grandchildren, David and Katie Darrow, Abby and Hailey Thrift, Desi and Vinny Di Gerolamo, Dare and Andrew Rolfe, Sadie and Ava Rann, Tyler Paulson and Bristen Benstead.
She was preceded in death by her husband Morse; and a brother Robert J. Winter.
A Celebration of Life Service is tentatively scheduled for May 31 at the Mauer - Johnson Funeral Home in Le Mars. Inurnment will follow at Memorial Cemetery in Le Mars.
Hers was a life well lived. "And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"
Stories, memories and expressions of sympathy may be directed through www.mauerjohnsonfh.com
Memorials may be directed in Margaret's name to Hope Hospice, 9470 Health Park Circle, Ft. Myers, Fla. 33908.