[Libs-Or] Margaret Tator, Librarian
tony_greiner at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 7 22:25:43 PDT 2014
I learned today that an old friend, Margaret Tator had passed away on Monday. Margaret was born in Michigan in 1912, and moved to Portland with her parents when she was very young. She graduated from Reed as a 'townie' in 1934. and earned her Master's degree in librarianship from Columbia University in 1939. She worked several years for what is now Multnomah County Library, with most of that time being in what was then called the Albina branch library, now the home of the Title Wave used bookstore.
Margaret quit librarian work after the birth of her son, and moved to Palo Alto California, where her husband worked for United Airlines. She became active and successful in efforts to integrate the churches of Palo Alto, which she remained proud of all her life.
After the death of her husband, Margaret returned to the Portland area and took up residence in King City. I met her when I was working in the Tigard Public Library about 17 years ago, when the volunteer coordinator, Trish Stormont, brought this white-haired little old lady to me and said she wanted to learn to use computers. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly she caught on, and soon she was giving the job of checking donations to see if we already had copies in our collection. It wasn't long before she would bring a few volumes to me and say things like "We don't have this book under this name, but we do as an alternative title." That led to my discovering her professional experience. Once a librarian, always a librarian. We became friends, sharing food and talking books, and of her travels to Japan, Australia, Africa and Kansas City.
Margaret left Tigard when she moved into a retirement facility to be with her sister. She called me to tell me her new home, which was just a few blocks from my house. We would have occasional outings as the years went by. Once I took her to the Title Wave, and introduced her to the staff there. They broke my heart by treating her as an annoyance. She herself was in her late 90s by then, and didn't seem to mind such things anymore.
Margaret had to reduce her belongings when she moved to the retirement home, but she kept a fine set of R.L. Stevenson that belonged to her father, and a well-worn first edition of Out of Africa by Dinesen. That one she had picked them up when it was new. For her hundredth birthday she was taken on a fast ride in a red convertible by a nephew, visited the house she grew up in, and marveled at the size of a tree planted by her father.
Margaret faded a little after her centenary, but I think much of that was frustration with her hearing aids more than mental loss. At her 102d birthday party last August, held under a great Sycamore tree, she immediately greeted and recognized my wife Mary, whom she hadn't seen for a couple of years. I took that occasion to bring up my usual tease about her having studied with Melville Dewey at Columbia, and she would always insist that he was gone by then, but some of her teachers knew him.
So a salute to Margaret, whom some of us will remember.
**tony_greiner at hotmail.com**
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