Margaret was born September 29, 1937, in Redmond Oregon to Lawrence “Jeff” and Ellen (Peck) Nichols. On July 28, 2021, Margaret passed peacefully in her room at Lilac House, a long-term care facility in Lakeview, Oregon. When you love someone with dementia the grieving starts long before they take their last breath.
In June of 1952, she eloped to marry Robert “Bob” Powers, the boy next door. Bob used to play his steel guitar when Margaret was feeding chickens or hanging out clothes. In June of 1953, daughter Jeannie was born followed in 1954 by Joan, and in 1956 by Paul Powers. That marriage later ended in divorce.
Later while Margaret was working at Van’s Café, she met and married Willard Buckhorn and helped to raise his four children: Trudy (Frank) Drew of Yamhill, Oregon; Richard (Kristi) Buckhorn of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Tami (Glen) Bridgmon of Kennewick, Washington; and Shauna Alexander of Lakeview, Oregon, all of whom are still living.
After waitressing at several locations in Lakeview, Margaret switched over to retail, mostly grocery. Some locations were Don’s Market, Five Corners, Safeway, Economy Grocery, and many, many years at Stewarts Marketeria. I remember going into the store and seeing a long line at her check stand. I hear other checkers tell customers, “I can help you over here.” They would respond, “That’s okay I’ll wait for Margaret.” I reminisced about that with her not long ago. I told her they didn’t realize they were making her work harder. People told me it was because she was always kind to them their children regardless of their status. Another person said, “Margaret was a Stewart’s Marketeria favorite!”
She even had Tom Stewart order the tiniest brown paper bags so that the kids could have their own bag if they got a treat. She did do a short stint at Fashion Corner and 1st National Bank. Us kids talked her into it thinking she would have weekends and evenings off but they just weren’t her cup of tea. After a fall resulting in a broken arm just below her shoulder, Margaret could no longer do the repetitive scanning required at Stewart’s.
Her next career was as a caregiver for Dr. Parr’s father who had bone cancer. He told her one time not to worry that he told the other caregivers he was going to die on her shift. I’m thinking that was a big compliment. After his passing Margaret worked as a receptionist for Dr. Parr. Any doctor’s office staff will tell you that some patients are more challenging than others. One day Dr. Parr came out to the front desk and asked her why she had scheduled several of the challenging patients for the same day. Her response was, “Would you rather have one bad day or three bad days?” One of her coworkers there told me, “She was such a sweet, kind lady loved working with her at Dr. Parr’s office way back when we had many great laughs with her.”
Margaret's next career move took her to Howard’s Drug. She loved working for Dorothy and Jeff and catch up with her customers from Stewart’s right next door. I believe she was thinking of retiring when Mike Beeson offered her a part-time job at the 39er. She loved putting out the new greeting cards and because she was very frugal, she loved the price. Margaret recalled sending a card to someone that cost three or four dollars, watching them open it and just throw it in the trash.
Margaret’s favorite things were reading and crocheting. She loved children and all animals except cats and maybe skunks
On December 9th, 2018, on a 12° or maybe it was December 12th on a 9 ° day Margaret was found about a block from her house at 6:30 in the a.m. Nobody knew how long she lay there. The crew in the ER saved her life. After the fall she spent time in the hospital before she was transferred to Lilac House where she remained until her death with a few hospital visits in between.
Other comments I’ve heard about Margaret: She was really a trooper with a great sense of humor. I just remember her wisdom and amazing perspective on life and family. So kind and caring. One of the kindest women I ever knew, always a beautiful smile! She was one of the most wonderful people I have ever known. She was a beautiful soul who brought so many smiles. She always brought a smile to my heart!! I loved her sense of humor.
Margaret was preceded in death by her parents, daughter Joan Zacher, brothers Ray Nichols and Bill Nichols, nephew Rick Stephens and numerous Aunts and cousins.
Margaret is survived by: her sister Juanita Raines of Richland, Washington, son Paul (Charlene) Powers of Lakeview, Oregon; daughter Jeannie (Sam) Brittell; grandchildren: Melissa Powers, Stefanie Sheets, Brandi St. Clair, Amy Bell, Kris Feller, Amanda Lindsey, and Scott Lawrence as well as 13 great-grandchildren.
A viewing and visitation time will take place at Desert Rose Funeral Chapel in Lakeview, OR on Tuesday from 9-5. There will be a committal in Redmond at the Redmond Memorial Cemetery Wednesday, August 4th at 11:00 A.M. with a celebration of life service in Lakeview at a later date.
Margaret preferred to donate to a charity instead of sending flowers. Because of her love of children and reading donations to your library’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library, dementia research or support charity, or a charity of your choice.
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