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Welcome to the memorial page for

Margaret Ann (Mathers) Van Horn

July 7, 1933 ~ August 27, 2018 (age 85)

Margaret Van Horn, 85, passed away at her Colorado Springs home of 52 years, surrounded by family, on August 27, 2018.

Margaret Ann Mathers Van Horn was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, on July 7, 1933.  She was the daughter of Christopher Aubrey Mathers, a Canadian, and Ann Nicol Mathers, whose Scottish immigrant family had moved to Aberdeen in the 1890’s.  Margaret and her sister, Barbara, (“Bobby”) born in 1934, grew up on Main Street in Aberdeen with their parents and their “Aunty Bell.” As a child, Margaret developed a curvature of the spine, and at nine years old, underwent surgery, doctors electing to fuse her back.   She remained in the hospital for the better part of that year. 

Margaret graduated from Central High school in Aberdeen in 1951, then left for left for Macalester College where she received a B.S. in education in 1955.   She returned to Aberdeen where she taught kindergarten.  In 1957 she moved to Boulder Colorado to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Colorado.  She roomed with Dr. Maslin, a professor of Biology, and this wife. The Maslin’s introduced Margaret to one of their graduate students, Donald Van Horn. They began dating soon thereafter and Margaret became involved in the life of field research and collecting specimens (grasshoppers for Donald’s Ph.D. research) and enjoying the mountains of Colorado. Margaret received her M.A. in early childhood education in 1958 then spent a year teaching at the “lab school” in Laramie Wyoming. She and Donald married the next year, June 13 1959, back in Aberdeen, S.D.   The couple celebrated their honeymoon in a small cabin in Jackson Hole Wyoming.

In 1959, the couple moved to Lake Forest Illinois where Don had taken a teaching position. Mark Christopher, their first son, was born in 1961.  A year later the couple moved to New York where Donald had accepted a teaching position at Utica College. In 1963 a daughter, Ann Howard, was born.  The couple then returned to Colorado where their third child, Charles Howell, was born in 1966 in Boulder.  Donald received a tenured position at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs as it was just opening its doors in 1966 where the family moved and settled in the Garden Ranch area, close to UCCS and Palmer Park.

Margaret took on the major household duties and tending to the upbringing of the three children.  She encouraged a great deal of time exploring the open spaces of their neighborhood, the bluffs, the creeks, near Palmer Park and the family picnicked frequently in Garden of Gods or Cheyenne Canon.  She helped to organize many family camping trip in the summers, cross-county skiing trips in the winter, and weekend trips year-around in the mountains near Fairplay where the family built an A-frame cabin in 1973.

Margaret was involved with her children’s grade school, volunteering as a “home mother” and leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout Brownie troupe.  She sang with the Colorado Springs Chorale, was also active in local politics, and volunteered for Citizen’s Project.  In 1978 Margaret made the decision to take a position in office of admission at Colorado College. Soon she moved to become the administrative assistant for the Vice President of development at the college. A few years later she became the Associate Registrar and finally the Registrar of the college in 1986.  She retired from Colorado College in 1995 where she had made many good friends, including a small book group that continued to meet for over 30 years. She continued to attend Summer Music Festival concerts at the college until this past summer.

Following her retirement, she and Donald began to travel. They continued to camp well into their 80’s. Despite her painful scoliosis, Margaret remained active, she was diligent about exercise, walking, riding the stationary bike, and taking care of the yard.  She spend time with her grandchildren Hannah, Gavin, Dylan, and Orlando, who all grew up in Colorado Springs.

Margaret is remembered as a beautiful, graceful, and loving wife and mother, a thoughtful and wise friend. She was a feminist force for her time, respected by everyone who knew her.  She was always the loving “Kitty” to her husband, “Maggie” to her sister and niece, “Grammie” to her children and grandchildren. 

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, S.D.  Her life will be celebrated in a private ceremony with family and friends.


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