Margaret M. Roberts

Margaret M. Roberts

January 21, 1925 - January 03, 2013

Margaret M. Roberts

January 21, 1925 - January 03, 2013


Special Education Pioneer, long-time Laguna Niguel Resident dies at 87
January 21, 1925 January 3, 2013

Margaret Jeffries Roberts died on January 3 after a lifetime of devotion to children those in her family and the hundreds she taught first as an elementary school teacher in her hometown of Bakersfield, Ca., then for the Department of Defense in post-war Germany, and for 20+ years as a special-education teacher in Dana Point. Her colleagues at R.H. Dana described her as a pioneer in the field.

Starting in the late 80s, Margaret embraced retirement much as she did teaching cheerfully and wholeheartedly. She traveled frequently with husband Doyle, staying at universities to learn about Native Americans, Shakespeare, and the Pacific Southwest. She volunteered at the Friends of the Library in Laguna Niguel, and was an avid reader, eager walker, and jolly drinker of California wine. She was proud to be a native Californian she read the LA Times every day Margaret was proud of her association with Pomona College where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree. Also, she was a Member of American Association of University Women, Gourmet Cooking Club and representative to the local teacher’s union.

Margaret was a resident of Laguna Niguel for more than 40 years, the last five spent in a valiant battle against the devastating impacts of a brain injury and dementia. She amazed doctors and delighted family members as she recovered beyond expectations time and again. Even when she compared her memory to the dense valley fog of her childhood, her kind, strong, opinionated character always shone through.

She is survived by: brother Richard Jeffries; daughters Laura Hanaford and Robin Roberts; sons-in-law Tom Hanaford and Maurizio Saitta; granddaughters Allison and Lindsay Hanaford, and grandson Sebastian Roberts-Saitta, plus a small army of beloved nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by husband Doyle and son Kirk.

A memorial service will be held Friday, January 11 at 1 pm. at the O’Connor Mortuary, located at 25301 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, CA 92653. Should friends desire, lieu of flowers contributions may be sent to the R.H. Dana ENF Education Foundation (24242 La Cresta Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629).

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19 responses to Margaret M. Roberts

  1. Lit a candle in memory of Margaret M. Roberts

  2. John Hatzis says:

    Lit a candle in memory of Margaret M. Roberts

  3. From January 11, 2013
    I have thought often of my mother in the past week. I thought of my mother and all the things she did: gardening, traveling, cooking, teaching, walking and decorating but the primary thing that came to mind was reading. She read books about the things she did such as gardening, traveling, cooking, teaching, walking and decorating. She read the LA Times almost every day. She read magazines, poetry, novels, labels, letters -anything with writing on it. Out of my childhood are vivid memories of my mother reading out loud to us. She read aloud from a chair surrounded by her three children (and husband). She read at our bedsides. She read to us from the passenger seat of a Chevy station wagon, an Oldsmobile station wagon and from a big blue Ford van. My mother was a very private person but she was always able to find a book that could express what she herself was unable to express. She read books expressively and clearly, exactly as written by the author. Literature came alive and when literature comes alive the lessons that are part of the story also become embedded in the heart. Her expertise as a reader was developed through her teenage dream of being a radio voice actress. She actually did some parts on local radio in Bakersfield while in high school. In college, she earned extra cash reading aloud to a blind woman. These experiences served her well as a reader for family and students.
    There are many memorable book-related events I could relate. I remember the time she was reading Cheaper by the Dozen and my father laughed so hard he had to pull off the road. I remember her reading Clifford the Big Red Dog to my daughters. I remember Mother Goose and Blue Willow. If I shared all the books and all the memories I could be speaking for an extended period of time. I want to share passages from two of the many books she read to us.
    The first is “The Story of Ferdinand the Bull.” I loved the story of the little bull that was different from all the other bulls and through an accident ended up being in a bull fight in Madrid.

    Once upon a time in Spain there was a little bull and his name was Ferdinand. All the other little bulls he lived with would run and jump and butt their heads together, but not Ferdinand. He liked to sit just quietly and smell the flowers. He had a favorite spot out in the pasture under a cork tree. It was his favorite tree and he would sit in its shade all day and smell the flowers. Sometimes his mother, who was a cow, would worry about him. She was afraid he would be lonesome all by himself. ” Why don’t you run and play with the other little bulls and skip and butt your head?” she would say.
    But Ferdinand would shake his head. “I like it better here where I can sit just quietly and smell the flowers.” His mother saw that he was not lonesome, and because she was an understanding mother, even though she was a cow, she let him just sit there and be happy.

    Ferdinand has a message about being true to yourself. I think we can all learn about parenting from Ferdinand’s mother. My brother, sister and I all went through awkward phases of not fitting in. Like Ferdinand’s mother, my mother never tried to force us to be like anyone else but ourselves.
    The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder were my mother’s favorite books to read aloud. Just last night, a classmate of my sister mentioned on Facebook that the first thing he remembered about Mrs. Roberts was that she read Little House on the Prairie to his class. The stories of the Ingalls family have great lessons about the American frontier spirit, family, self-reliance, appreciation of the little things and character. There are 7 books in the series. The passage I am going to share is from “On the Shores of Silver Lake” and it always made my mother cry. She didn’t cry often, so it was always significant when she did. She told us she would cry in front of a classroom of elementary students when she read this chapter. I thought of other passages to share, but I

  4. Laura says:

    From the Edwards: “We found your mother a smart, educated, competent and very pleasant lady who was a great hostess and friend. We liked and admired both of your parents for the fine people they were…”

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