Margaret Joan Smith Mall
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Margaret Joan Smith Mall
  • May 31, 1935 - February 27, 2017
  • North Carolina

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Margaret Mall, resident of Cambridge Village of Apex since 2013, passed away in her sleep on Monday, February 27, 2017 at 12:15 in the afternoon at Wake Med Hospital of Cary after an extended illness due to complications from a fall.

She is survived by older sister Donna Jean, sons and their wives Douglas (Carrie) and Jacob (Kristy), and five grandchildren (Cassandra (Zak), David, Nathaniel, Julia, and Christopher).

Margaret Joan Mall (Smith) was born at home on May 31, 1935, shortly after 11 in the morning, in Topeka, Kansas to F.E. (Ed) and Bea K. Smith. The report from Dr. McDonald had that she was born with the umbilical cord around her neck, but it was of no consequence.

Her older sister, Donna Jean, was born 14 months before her. Margaret told stories about how their house was heated with a potbellied stove which only heated the dining room and their large kitchen. That meant that sleeping during the winter was done under several heavy blankets to keep warm. During the war, her dad was drafted and he selected the Navy, but he was deferred because of his work with the railroad. In 1943 they moved out to Richmond, California for three months so her dad could do critical work with the railroad. She would tell stories about the blackouts, with sirens going off and searchlights scanning the skies.

After the war, their family was sent back to Kansas. Once they were back in Kansas, she would tell us, they made frequent trips to the movie theater, visited the HeapMUp ice cream parlor during the summer, and ate strawberries and tomatoes out of their garden. She also told stories about visiting the glass-fronted candy counter in the neighborhood store that would give a free candy for each A (or satisfactory) grade on report cards, taking piano lessons with Mrs. Westfall down the street, going target practicing with her dad at the park across from their house, and watching him hunt squirrels.

She graduated top of her Junior High and top 5% of Topeka High School. She won several scholarships to attend the University of Kansas. She could frequently be found on dates listening to jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, and Charlie Parker.

At KU, she started out studying Art, but graduated from the LatimoreFink School of Medical Technology, and worked at St. Francis and Santa Fe Hospitals. While at KU, she was member of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority, where she was set up on a blind date with Don Mall, the brother of one of her sorority sisters. He took her out dancing for that date on Dec 7th, the day she literally fell for him. While dancing, she caught her heel in his pants cuff, and they both fell to the floor. From there, it was an official engagement in February 1960, and their wedding took place in June of that year.

Don finished up his bachelor's degree at KU while she cared for their first son, Douglas. They moved to Glendale, Arizona so that he could attend Thunderbird International School of Management for his Master's degree. She helped bring in extra money by typing up reports for a fee.

After his graduation, Don took a job with J.I. Case (Farm and Construction Equipment) as their district manager for Latin America. After training at the Case headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin, they relocated to San Salvador, El Salvador. There they would experience a 7.1 earthquake from the fifth floor of the Intercontinental Hotel, and a huge hurricane. There they also had their youngest son, Jacob. Margaret's humorous story about his birth described how it turned 11:30 am in the delivery room and the doctor and nurses left for lunch. Only THEN did Jacob decide it was time to be born.

After five years in El Salvador, the family moved to San José, Costa Rica. Five years later Don got a promotion, responsible for training in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia. The family moved back to Racine, Wisconsin where the boys grew up and went off to college.

Doug married a Wisconsin gal he met while he attended the University of Wisconsin, and Jake married a Tennessee gal he met while he attended Middle Tennessee State University. With the boys out of the house, Margaret was able to accompany Don on trips to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Chile and Argentina. On their 25th wedding anniversary, they returned to visit Central America and see how things had changed. When Don retired in 2002, Margaret and Don moved to Murfreesboro, TN to be close to Jake's family.

Their last vacation together was to visit Italy and Greece. Don passed away in Tennessee in July of 2007.

Margaret took several trips with Jake's family to visit surrounding states and vacation areas. Margaret sold her home in 2012 and moved to North Carolina to be near her son Doug and his family, where she was able to attend her oldest granddaughter's wedding. Her last big trip was one she looked forward to: traveling back to Kansas City for a big family reunion. Margaret was very passionate about her family, including her five grandkids. She also had several hobbies, including painting, needlework, crocheting, quilting, and researching genealogy. She has updated the family lineage to where it now fills three volumes, dating all the way back to Noah. She collected spoons from around the world, and was very proud of her elephant collection. She loved professional bull riding, and was a big racing fan, Green Bay Packer fan, and always supported her Kansas Jayhawk basketball team.

Please join us for a memorial service of her life at 1:00pm on Thursday, March 2nd at Cambridge Village of Apex.

Donations will be collected and donated in her name to one of two charities:
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