Margaret Lunsford Blakely was born on August 4, 1922, and was a determined woman in all she pursued. Her latest pursuit was to live to be one hundred years old. She made it to 99 years, 11 months, and 29 days prior to her passing on August 2, 2022, and remained in good health until the last month. However, another plan was fulfilled as she donated her body to The Ohio State University College of Medicine for research.
She was preceded in death by her parents, James, and Lilian Lunsford; her siblings, brothers, James and Frank Lunsford and sister, Dorothy Sayre as well as her husband of 54 years, Charles Blakely, who also donated his body to OSU 27 years ago.
Margaret leaves behind her family that includes her children, Susie Helmreich (Joseph Towarnicky), Jackie Szymanek (James Chen), Tim Blakely (Melody), and Mike Blakely; her grandchildren, Richard Helmreich, Beth Helmreich, Douglas Szymanek, Jennifer Chilman, Laura Welker, Melissa Blakely, Kristen Porter, Sara Blakely; great-grandchildren, Maggie Dennis, Kelly Helmreich, Stephanie Haeuptle, Rachel Haeuptle, Matthew Blakely, Gabriel Bonikowski, Jasek Bonikowski, Magnolia Porter, Alyssa Chilman, Zachary Chilman, Owen Welker, Blake Welker, and two great-great-grandsons, Jackson and Charlie Dennis.
Throughout their marriage, Margaret and Charles traveled extensively to many countries but their favorite and most frequent trips were to Canada and Hawaii. Margaret was proud of her Irish heritage and she encouraged her family to share the same work and ethical values she inherited from her parents and grandparents. Her family was her greatest source of pleasure and pride.
Margaret said her secret to her long successful life was that everyone should keep busy by exercising their body and their mind. She did that in many ways throughout her lifetime. Her faith was nurtured as a long-time member and volunteer for Sacred Heart Catholic Church. She was also a member of the Tuscarawas County YMCA for over 70 years and previously served on the Board of Directors. She originated swim and exercise classes for women and taught swimming, slimnastics, nutrition, and diet information for not only the YMCA but also for the Dover High School Adult Education. In 2001, Margaret received the Leo Poland award for Outstanding Service to the Tuscarawas County YMCA.
Her community work and volunteerism didn’t stop with the church and the YMCA as she felt a level of great satisfaction from her 24 years of volunteering for Community Hospice. She prepared food for classes, then began delivering medication to Hospice patients. She also worked at Hospice fundraising events. Her family is eternally grateful to hospice for their care for Margaret during her final days.
To exercise her mind, Margaret was an avid reader, usually reading a book each day. Dover library supplied her with bags of new books once she stopped driving to the library and she loved it when was able to read the newest books by new and favorite authors alike.
Among her many pursuits in life, Margaret was a competitive contester in numerous areas but the most successful was in creating original recipes. She won local, state, and national competitions in over 100 separate contests, including being a finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off several times.
A private celebration of Margaret’s life will be held at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made in Margaret’s memory to the Tuscarawas County YMCA, 600 Monroe Street, Dover, Ohio 44622, Community Hospice 716 Commercial Avenue SW, New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663, or the Dover Public Library, 525 N Walnut Street, Dover, Ohio 44622.