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1918 Margaret 2014

Margaret Obituary

June 18, 1918 — May 9, 2014

Margaret Anderson Phares of Oak Ridge, Tenn., died at home on May 9, 2014, at age 95. She had lived in Oak Ridge since 1948. She was born on June 18, 1918 in Crete, Nebraska, to Charles Lee Anderson and Minnie Guyer Anderson. The youngest of six children, she was somewhat strong-willed and no doubt spoiled as the adored baby of the family. Her father, previously a school superintendent in Oxford, Nebraska, moved the family in 1915 to Crete so that all of the children could attend Doane College. Her father died when she was 10, and Margaret contributed to the family income as a youngster by selling sandwiches in the college dorms. She graduated from Doane in 1940, majoring in biology, and was a teacher in the town of Western, Nebraska.

When she was a senior in high school, Margaret met Edwin Phares, a freshman at Doane. They became engaged in 1941 and planned to marry the next year. Edwin was in the Navy, stationed on the USS Augusta in Boston. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the wedding plans changed. They met in New York City and married at the first opportunity, Christmas Day, 1941. Their wedding party consisted of a young man Edwin had met on the train to New York and the man's parents.

Margaret spent the rest of the war years traveling between the east and west coasts, living where she could be with Edwin when he was not at sea. After the war, they returned to Nebraska and Edwin attended graduate school at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Their first child, Robert, was born while the couple lived in "Huskerville", a rather spartan post-war student housing community near the local Army Air Base. She and Robert flew to Tennessee in September, 1948, where Edwin had taken a job as a chemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Their daughter Patty was born the following day. A week later, they moved into a two bedroom B house on Victoria Road. With the subsequent arrival of two more children, Barbara and Lee, and with Anne on the way, the family moved to a larger home in the newly completed West Village in 1954, where Margaret lived until her death.

The family joined the First Presbyterian Church in 1952. Since the 1960s, Margaret was responsible for flowers on Sundays and at church activities, sometimes making arrangements from her own garden flowers or wildflowers, and was still placing orders with florists until the month before her death. She took flowers to members who were ill or homebound. She also sang in the choir, taught Sunday school and worked on the church landscaping and numerous committees.

Margaret was involved in her children's activities and was a Cub Scout and Camp Fire Girl leader. At the same time she pursued her love of music as a cellist with the Oak Ridge Symphony, and she served on the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association board and in ORCMA guild. She loved to garden and belonged to the West Village Garden Club, where she was president and a judge for flower shows, and to the UT Arboretum Society. She also planted and maintained flower beds along the Oak Ridge Turnpike and at the visitor center formerly adjacent to the Museum of Science and Energy. She was a substitute teacher in Oak Ridge schools during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Margaret was the matriarch to her extended family, maintaining ties with all of her, as well as Edwin's, nephews and nieces. She was predeceased in 2003 by her husband Edwin and earlier by her brothers Frank, "Pat" and Neil, and sisters Alice and Helen. She is survived by her children and their spouses, Robert and Peggy Phares, Patty Phares, Barbara and Tom Rooney, Lee and Gail Phares, and Anne Phares; grandchildren Melissa Phares and fiancé Michael Keegan, Charles Phares and wife Julie and their daughter Brooke, Allison Phares, Holly Phares, Kristen Rooney and Dennis Rooney; six nephews and a niece. She also leaves behind her faithful feline companion, Rascal.

Friends are invited to a memorial service on June 22 at 1:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 1051 Oak Ridge Turnpike. Martin Oak Ridge Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. If you would like to make a donation in Margaret's memory, in lieu of flowers please consider some of her favorite causes: the flower fund or music fund at the First Presbyterian Church, Oak Ridge Civic Music Association, Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge, or University of Tennessee Arboretum Society.

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