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. Mary Harris says:

    I am saddened to know Margeraret is no longer with us. She is now at rest but I will always remember her wonderful personality, her kindness and her soft sweet voice.
    To her family, I wish them peace and I am sending my love.


  2. One of my favorite photos of my parents-in-law.
    Farewell, Margaret. I miss you, Doyle — “Wingo Red”.

  3. Dear Robin, Bamba, Sebastian, and the Roberts Family,
    Today is Margaret’s memorial and we are so sorry we can not be there. We hope the wonderful memories shared today will help in speeding your healing from this great loss.
    We are with you in our hearts,
    Henning, Marguerite and an assortment of dogs

  4. I began teaching at RH Dana in the early 80’s, a few years before Martha retired. She never knew how much she taught me just by her actions and her serious( and humorus) comments. She was an example to us all.

  5. Sandy says:

    I met Margaret in the early 80’s when I started working at R. H. Dana ENF. It was a day that changed my entire life.

    It is not often that one is fortunate enough to have a person in their life, who willing gives unselfishly of themselves. Margaret was that person. She mentored me on how to be a good teacher, a good person, and a good friend. Margaret taught me how to appreciate life and to help those who were less fortunate.

    While sharing a classroom, working side by side with Margaret and our group of handicapped preschoolers, Margaret introduced me to the beauty, strength and delight exhibited by children who had so many limitations to
    overcome. We were delighted when a child we had worked with
    accomplished a goal. One of our goals was potty training. This might sound like a simple thing, however, most of our children had difficulty walking, had bone or muscular defects, many times missing limbs, or visual capabilities. When a child used the potty staff would all come into the changing room and sing . You would have thought it was a birthday party. So did the children.

    Margaret opened up my door to a better understanding of the world; what life was really about, and a faith never questioned. She showed me the delight you have when you make things possible, impossibility was not an option. She changed how I looked at people and more so what I saw.
    There were always more positives than negatives, if you looked with open eyes and heart. Margaret shared her knowledge, love and understanding of self and others. Margaret and I worked together until she retired to spend more time with her husband, her daughters and her son, and her grandchildren.

    This last summer, I was fortunate to be able to visit with Margaret while in CA from the East. Margaret was in a car accident after I had left Southern California. I was aware that she had lost parts of her memory abilities. We spoke at length about work. She was concerned that she had been nonproductive in the life that she no longer remembered. She had no memory of her years as a teacher. She wanted to know what kind of a teacher she was? She wanted to know if she was liked? If she did a good job? I spoke at length with her to let her know that she was the the heart and soul of R. H. Dana. She had touched everyone’s life that she had encountered. She was our pioneer. She had influenced everyone she met who was fortunate to know her or work with her. I think that made her happy.

    I explained to her how she had influenced my life. I could never have succeeded without her love, patience and assistance.

    Not only was she my dear friend, she was my family. Margaret loved walking, especially down by the ocean, and we spent many hours doing that. We took a trip one time down to Tijuana just to go and buy a hand carved wooden ladle that had a head that looked like a duck. We both were delighted with out inexpensive purchase and how much we had enjoyed our adventure.I spent many days at the Robert’s home. Sometimes I helped Margaret with sewing and sometimes we worked on trying to make the back yard plants more manageable. We watched TV in the den and I helped Margaret as she worked in her lovely little kitchen, bumping into each other and laughing. Other times we spent hours just talking about “us” things.

    Margaret was a large part of my adult life and she is now and always will be in my heart. She was my mentor, my angel, my friend, my Mother Goose and she will be missed.

    With love,


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