Margaret Evadale (née Schaefer) Szalkowski passed away unexpectedly at 4:16 pm, August 2, 2022 from a swift but painless illness. She slipped into the next life with eldest daughter, Peggy Ann Szalkowski, holding her hand, and youngest daughter, Jenny Lynn Szalkowski holding her in prayer. Ballads by Andy Williams, her favorite, played softly in the background.
Margaret, known as “Marge” to friends and family, was born Nadine Louise Newman to Berteram Evert and Velna Louise (née Swanger) Newman in Springdale, Arkansas on September 5, 1937. Marge and her older sister, Nell, were adopted by Walter and Margaret “Peg” (née Vandervort) Schaefer after the sudden death of their birth mother and rapid remarriage of their birth father orphaned them.
Marge graduated from John D. Pierce High School in Marquette, Michigan. There, as a young home economics major, she won the title of “Michigan Cherry Pie Queen” and was featured as the pageant winner on the cover of Michigan Farmer Magazine. Her pies were legendary and she usually baked three or more at a time to keep up with requests. Her daughters will forever remember the luscious smells that filled Marge’s kitchen and the love she poured into everything she made.
In 1964, Marge met her twin flame, Michael Walter Szalkowski. When asked how they met, she would fondly describe being swept off her feet at a party by the “handsomest man I ever saw.” In the early years of their marriage, Mike and Marge endured months of separation while Mike served in the Navy, and later, grieved the tragic death of their beloved adopted son, Dale. Their steadfast loyalty and mutual adoration for one another served as the foundation of a fifty-seven-year union many would envy and few achieve.
Marge often shared that “all I ever wanted was to have a family.” This lifelong wish was fulfilled when she and Mike adopted their girls from Korea. They lived for several years in Michigan before moving to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Mike and Marge remained there contentedly for the rest of their lives, tending their garden, canning applesauce from their own trees, slow dancing in the kitchen, and going for date nights at their favorite supper clubs.
Marge was a consummate homemaker who doted on guests and made everyone who entered feel welcome and cozy. Her heart found its noblest expression as a mother and grandmother. Her two grandchildren, Riley and Sierra, were sources of indescribable joy, and their closeness gave rise to the happiest years of Marge’s life.
Marge will be remembered as a quietly fierce, funny, affectionate, artistic, resilient spirit whose love for her family defined her. She embodied strength, transcending incredible hardships with grace and tenderness. Her talents were seemingly limitless, from sewing to crocheting, to painting, cooking, and gardening. She adored cats, ice cream, flowers, and mischief. Marge never stopped missing her son, Dale, nor her late husband and soul mate, Mike. Her daughters and grandchildren will never stop missing her.
Marge was preceded in death by husband, Michael Walter Szalkowski; son, Dale Szalkowski; mother, Margaret Schaefer; father Walter Schaefer; sister Nell Bonifas; and brother Fred Schaefer. She is survived by daughters, Peggy Ann Szalkowski and Jenny Lynn Szalkowski (Ronnie Picotte); grandchildren Riley Michael Szalkowski and Sierra Rose Szalkowski; great-grandson Michael Ray Szalkowski; many nieces and nephews, relatives and friends. Jenny and Peggy would like to extend heartfelt thanks to Judy Warner, Paulette Rossman, Mary Jane Marbes, and Sheila Maxwell for the lifelines of friendship they provided Marge after she lost Mike. Peggy would also like to express immeasurable gratitude to Dr. Manar Al Shahrouri for his guidance and compassion through the very end.
Per Marge’s wishes, an informal memorial gathering will be held at her home on Saturday, August 13, 2022. Friends and loved ones are encouraged to stop by from 11am-2pm.