Margaret Vreeland

Margaret K Vreeland

Saturday, July 22nd, 1922 - Sunday, March 22nd, 2020
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Tom Bisky

Posted at 08:24pm
By and large, we Irish are a melancholy lot. It's said we have an abiding sense of tragedy that sustains us through temporary periods of joy. But such was not the case with my aunt, Margaret Walsh Vreeland. She was one Irishwoman who, for nearly a century, maintained a quick wit to suit any of life's circumstances.

"Muff" -- her beloved husband Bob's nickname for her -- saw every glass as at least half full, even if others nearby may have seen nary a drop in it. Of course, like all of us from time to time, Margaret knew pain, disappointment and loss. But she also knew deep, deep love; in fact, throughout her remarkably long life, she was surrounded by love from every direction.

Back in 2002, my then-wife Cathy and I were squired around Grand Junction's most beautiful spots by Bob and Margaret, who refused to let us pay for anything for ten days straight.

Another special memory for me is that Margaret, Bob, my cousin Kevin "Shamus" Hasson (son of Margaret's younger sister, Mary Louise) and I all happened to convene in the hospital room when my aunt Ginny -- Margaret's older sister -- spent her last hour on earth. I considered this a special gift from God -- a chance for us all to see that Ginny, in St. Paul's words, fought the good fight until the last.

Margaret was very proud of her three children and their accomplishments. Her first-born -- Leslie Nan, whose middle name honored Margaret's mother -- grew very close to me and my family when she spent about 15 years in New York. Leslie and I would see each other at least once a week -- and as fellow writers (and adjunct teachers of writing at New York University and the Columbia University School of Journalism) we had a lot in common. Leslie dearly loved New York -- but she missed Margaret, Bob, and her twin siblings Rob and Nancy, all of whom lived in the West. So, at one point, Leslie turned her back on Manhattan and never looked back. Her eventual move to Grand Junction thrilled Margaret and Bob -- and was, I'm sure, a major factor in Margaret's longevity.

I grieve with Margaret's other family members and friends -- but I take comfort in the knowledge that Bob and "Muff" are together once more.

Tom Bisky
Brooklyn, New York
April 5, 2020

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