1928 – 2023
Margaret Ann Wood, née Newton, most recently of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, passed on Thursday July 20, 2023 at the age of 95 from natural causes.
Margaret Ann was born on June 10, 1928 to Ann and George Mode “GM” Newton in the small town of Regina, Saskatchewan in Canada. As a young child she and her mother divided their time between Canada and Southern California, following the Depression’s toll on the family business. Graduating from San Gabriel High School, she attended Pasadena City College and continued on to UCLA where she pledged the Tri-Delta Sorority. It was during this time that, through mutual family friends, she met her future husband Jack Wood. Shortly after she graduated they were married. The newlyweds settled into a classic property in Benedict Canyon in Los Angeles that they custom-tailored to their family’s needs. She put her education degree to use teaching 1st grade but her true joy came with the birth of their son Thomas Joseph, soon followed by their first daughter, Deborah Ann. Between fires, floods and occasional deer eating all of Margaret’s plants, it was an exciting first home.
In the early 60’s Margaret, Jack and their two children, Tom and Debbie, moved to a new property in Hacienda Heights (no remodel this time) in what once was an avocado/citrus orchard. At that time there was only one traffic signal in what was to grow into a very large community. Being part of that growth gave Margaret the chance to be involved with Panhellenic Sororities, service organizations and Saint Mark’s Lutheran Church. She, Jack and the children traveled the west-coast in a cozy travel trailer, often visiting family in Washington’s San Juan Islands and starting what turned into decades of RV’ing adventures.
In the mid-60’s she and Jack welcomed a third child, Cymantha, to the family. Margaret was a wonderful mother and flourished raising a family that spanned a wide range of ages, always engaging and enjoying their antics. While Margaret enjoyed raising her children, it could be said that she found her greatest satisfaction in the grandchildren that followed.
Transitioning into retirement, Margaret and Jack found the house remodeling bug from Benedict Canyon was not out of their system. Having vacationed in Friday Harbor, WA, Jack and Margaret chose to design and build a home, watching its construction as they lived on-site in their motorhome. It took a year, but it soon became a popular destination for family and friends. Margaret was particularly proud of her flower garden on the property (no deer eating the plants this time).
Looking to stay close to their St Mark’s friends and live in a golf-centered environment, Margaret and Jack sold the Hacienda Heights property in the early 90’s, moving to Murrieta, California. Margaret was enchanted more by the scenery than the sport, but if Jack was going to golf, so was she. Her mantra was “short but straight,” a strategy that served her very well. She seldom lost a golf ball and, since she didn’t keep score, it didn’t matter the number of strokes.
What began as a casual date set up by family, turned into a lifelong love story that spanned over 57 years and continues to this day. Margaret and Jack were known to be inseparable and modeled the love and commitment that so successfully sustained their marriage. Following the death of her husband Jack in 2007, Margaret moved to Rancho Santa Margarita.
Margaret was blessed with a long life that spanned the Roaring 20’s, the Great Depression, World War II, the opening of the country’s first freeway, the ability to commercially fly anywhere, the convenience of talking on cell phones and, in later years, video chatting with family. She is survived by her three children, seven grandchildren and a great grandchild (with another arriving soon). One of her fondest memories was the family tradition of gathering once a year for an extended “family vacation” weekend. It was a time she could sit and talk to the entire family, hear their stories and take pride in their progress. The tradition she began has lasted over 30 years and continues in her memory.
Margaret will be laid to rest next to her husband in Riverside Memorial Cemetery. Your thoughts and kind remembrances pay tribute to Margaret’s life and are a welcome comfort to her family.