Margaret Christine Ann Anderson
Margaret Christine Ann Anderson
  • September 30, 1935 - November 7, 2017
  • Carlsbad, California

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Margaret “Peggy” Anderson

September 30, 1935 – November 7, 2017

Margaret “Peggy” Anderson of Carlsbad has died of complications from urothelial carcinoma. She passed away peacefully in her home the evening of November 7, surrounded by family. She was 82.

Margaret Christine Ann Mortensen was born on September 30, 1935 in Hankow, China, the daughter of Lutheran missionaries Ralph and Petra (Helland) Mortensen. Two months premature, “Little Peggy” weighed 3 lbs, 2 oz and was not expected to survive. She was baptized immediately and had to be fed with an eyedropper. Such a long name given to a very little baby!

When Peggy was five, her mother became seriously ill and the two returned home to Minneapolis to live with her aunt and uncle, Winnie and Jerry Formo. Peggy was just seven years old when her mother died.

For the next four years, she lived with another aunt and uncle in Minneapolis, Emily and Melvin Helland, who themselves had been missionaries in Madagascar. They cared for her as if she were their own daughter.

Peggy’s father remarried when she was eleven, and she returned to China, this time to Shanghai. It was a painful time for Peggy, and a period of great upheaval in China. When the communists took over, Peggy and her family lived under house arrest. When she was 16, the communist rulers allowed Peggy to leave China on her own. Her father and stepmother had to remain under house arrest.

Peggy then spent several peaceful years at Northfield School for Girls in Northfield, MA, and at Hood College in Frederick, MD, where she graduated with a BA in education in 1957.

While at Hood, Peggy went on a blind date with George Anderson, a midshipman at the State University of New York Maritime College. George hitchhiked the 270 miles from Fort Schuyler, NY, to Frederick, MD, to meet her. After the first date, George decided Peggy was the girl he would marry. When he told her this, she replied, “Don’t you think we should get to know each other first?”

Peggy followed George to Pensacola, FL, where he was stationed in the navy, for the summer of 1956. They were married the following year at Hood College, on June 15, 1957.

George was Peggy’s great love, her best friend and soul mate. They were devoted to each other. Just months before her death, the couple celebrated 60 years of a joy filled and happy marriage.

But back in 1957, some frowned on the idea of a “mixed” marriage between a Lutheran and a Catholic!

Early in their marriage when George was deployed to the Mediterranean Peggy decided to take religious instruction and think about becoming Catholic herself. The minister’s daughter wanted her young family to share a common faith. But first, she had to be sure herself. Study and prayer gave her the answer she sought and soon after she came into the Church.

As a young navy couple with a growing family, Peggy and George moved often, making their homes in Redbank, NJ, Norfolk, VA, Columbus, OH, Washington, DC, East Meadow, Long Island, NY, and New London, CT.

When George left the navy in 1967, they settled in San Diego. Despite a later 7-year stint in Dallas, TX, Peggy was a “sunshine girl” who considered California her true home. In 1983 they returned to California, this time to Encinitas. There they stayed until April of this year, when they moved to La Costa Glen in Carlsbad.

Throughout her adult life, Peggy remained deeply committed to her Catholic faith. She was active in Marriage Encounter, the Cursillo movement, RCIA, Renew and her Small Church Community. She was an active member of St. James Catholic Community, supported George in his work for the Kairos prison ministry and Whispering Winds Catholic Camp, and participated with him in more than 7 years of Scripture study. Peggy’s many treasured friends testify to the sincerity and simplicity of her faith lived in thoughtful service to others.

Peggy loved her family more than anything in the world and followed their activities and accomplishments with prayer and great interest.

Besides her husband George, Peggy is survived by daughter Kathleen Daniel and her husband Christian of Dallas, daughter Sr. Karen Marie Anderson, FSP, of Rome, Italy, daughter Linda Maguire and her husband John of San Diego, and son Christopher Anderson of Tijuana, Mexico; by grandchildren Megan Daniel of Dallas, Ashley Clark and her husband Thom of Columbus, OH, Morgan Daniel and his wife Krysten of Seattle, Abbey Daniel of Seattle, and Brian Maguire of San Diego; by great-grandchildren Jackson Daniel of Dallas and Mayah, Zurie, and Sebastian Clark of Columbus; and by sister-in-law Carol Way of Bryn Mawr, PA, brother-in-law Mark Anderson and his wife Betsy of Cincinnati, and many other relatives and close friends.

Her parents, sister Agnes Mosling, and brother Cdr. Ralph Mortensen predeceased her.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. James Catholic Church in Solana Beach on Friday, November 17 at 10:30 a.m., preceded by a Rosary at 9:30 a.m. A lunch reception will follow in the parish hall. Interment will follow at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to: The Daughters of Saint Paul, the Eudist Fathers (Congregation of Jesus and Mary), Heifer International, and Whispering Winds Catholic Camp and Conference Center.