Celebration planned for Dec. 29th
The community is invited to the 100th Birthday party of Margaret Doornbos from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, at El Dorado Senior Center, 210 E. Second St. In lieu of gifts, please write a memory of Margaret.
Anna Margaret Haines was born on Thursday, Dec. 19, 1918 in a drafty farm house west of Rosalia. Her mother, Anna Pearl Hanger Haines, was sick with the Spanish Flu that killed millions of people across the globe during and after World War I.
Margaret was the last of six children. Her oldest sister, Gladys, was 14 and cared for her mother, the new baby, and the rest of the family. Herbert Haines, Margaret’s father, was a farmer trying to eke out a living on poor ground with a minimum of farm equipment and horses.
As the delivery began, Herbert walked nearly two miles across frozen cornfields to Pontiac, Kan., used the telegraph at the train station, and summoned Dr. Schumwaffle from Rosalia. The doctor rode the next train out to Pontiac and met Herbert for the walk back across the cornfield. Margaret had already arrived and the doctor quickly assessed the health of mother and daughter. Margaret weighed only four and a half pounds, was born a “blue baby” (lack of oxygen) and her survival seemed perilous.
“You’ll never raise this child,” was the pronouncement from the doctor.
The baby was cleaned up, wrapped up and kept in a box by the wood-burning kitchen stove, the warmest place in the house. She had many loving family arms to hold her, rock her, and nurture her.
Margaret and her mother both survived and outlived the doctor by many decades.
Margaret and her siblings attended school at Enterprise, District 170, one mile south of the home place. Her father was School Board Treasurer for years. (Margaret said it was because he was the only one of the men who could “cypher”, do the math).
Her mother decided the children could get a better education than in Rosalia, so Vernice, Cletus and Margaret attended high school in El Dorado, all three graduated there. Margaret was in the first class to use the “new” high school building graduating in 1936 then attending and graduating from El Dorado Junior College in the same building on West Central.
She began her teaching career after passing the state test in 1939. Cletus and Margaret moved into an old farmhouse to be closer to the one-room schools where they taught. Cletus taught at Prairie Queen, east of Leon. Margaret taught at Brownlow, south of Leon. She had about 10 students.
The next year, Margaret was hired to teach at a school west of Augusta. She had a total of two students: a brother and a sister.
Meanwhile, she had caught the eye of a neighborhood boy; tall, dark and charming, Robert Doornbos. They were married in secret on Feb. 14, 1941. Being married would mean Margaret would lose her teaching job. She was able to finish the spring semester and then settled into being a farmer’s wife. Robert’s family farm was a mile north of Margaret’s family farm. They had grown up together as neighbors. Cletus and Robert were best friends.
Margaret and Robert were happy and productive with farm life, raising cattle, wheat, alfalfa, milo. They also raised three children; Gary Robert, Dennis Elton, and Teresa Ann, and were active in the Chelsea community. Margaret played piano for the Chelsea Methodist Church and volunteered with the Chelsea B Square 4-H Club. She was a member of the Home Demonstration Unit through the County Extension Office.
With the construction of El Dorado Lake and the removal of all the homes and farms along the Walnut River, Robert and Margaret retired from farming in 1970. They bought a travel trailer and hit the road! They worked at Mount Rushmore, SD the summers of 1972 and 1973, and began to spend winters in South Texas.
In 1987, they bought a house in Leon and ended their gypsy ways. Margaret and her sister Vernice became active in the Butler County Republican Women, the Leon United Methodist Church, and Margaret continued her hobby of china painting that she started in South Texas.
Robert passed away in 1997. Margaret sold the house and moved to Lawndale Apartments in El Dorado. She worked at the Coutts Art Museum, retiring at age 90. In 2010, she combined households with her daughter and son-in-law and continues to enjoy painting china, cross-stitching, the DAR Chapter meetings, and visiting with friends and family.
A cliché that aptly fits Margaret: “A life well-lived.”