This biography and remembrance was written mostly by my father, Forrest A. Beattie, and presented at my moms memorial service. I wanted to share it and provide links to some other very touching commentary you may have already seen by Dorean, Amanda, and Adam. Thanks for your love and prayers. — Brian
The story of
Marguretha Ann Goertz Beattie
Marguretha was born May 22, 1936, to parents Nick and Anna Goertz. She was the youngest of nine children, but the only daughter of her mother. Father Nick Goertz had married a woman who already had two children. Together, they had six more children, and then she died. After some time passed, Nick married Anna Hildebrand and their only child together was Marguretha. So, her closest sibling is her brother, William Goertz, who was eleven years her senior. Her closest friend and companion was her cousin, Marion Fischer. These two grew up together and were more like sisters than cousins.
Marguretha was a true farm girl and her childhood playmates were the young livestock on the farm. As a result, she always had a liking for cows, chickens, and other small animals she knew on the farm. As she grew, she joined her family in local harvests and learned a good work ethic picking beans, berries, and cherries. As she became old enough, she followed her father around as he worked on the farm. She even learned how to drive the old crawler tractor they had. Being a natural blonde, all this outside work ensured that she was very blonde until into her teen years when her hair started to darken up to her mature color.
She attended schools in Rickreall and Dallas, Oregon, eventually graduating from Dallas High in the class of 1954. While she was in school, the family lived for a short time in the town of Dallas while her father worked at the Willamette Industries mill. It was during this period that she accepted Jesus as her savior at some evangelistic meetings, and was baptized into membership of the Mennonite Brethren Church in Dallas. It was here that she and Marion developed their music talent singing in the choir and various small ensembles. Needless to say, Marguretha loved to sing and loved good Christian music. She especially loved male quartets singing four-part harmony. And there was plenty of that in the Mennonite church. She also taught young children in the Sunday school.
While in High School in Dallas, her father decided that she should be in a Christian school and he enrolled her at Salem Academy in Salem. But circumstances changed and she returned to Dallas until graduation. After graduation, her father was still not satisfied and he insisted she go back to High School and take some classes he thought were important to her education and that were not part of her classes during the four years of school. Somewhere along the way, she got training in typing and office procedures which enabled her to enter the work force.
Her first job was with the Oregon State Archivist where she learned how to operate microfilm machines. She was the only employee doing that work, so they sent her to training school in Portland to learn how to maintain and repair the machines. As a result, she was occasionally sent from Salem to various county offices around the State to do microfilming and to service any machines they might have. Later on, she transferred to the Registrar’s Office at Oregon College of Education, now Western Oregon University, where she worked as a cashier. It was here she was working when her work career was cut short by a traumatic automobile accident.
Marguretha loved to roller-skate, a permissible activity in the Mennonite Church. Several other people and couples also enjoyed skating and on one occasion, at Skateland in west Salem, a couple she knew introduced her to a beginning skater named Forrest who seemed like a good companion for her, or so they judged. Despite his awkwardness and occasional clumsiness, they hit it off and became a regular couple at the skating rink. It wasn’t long before the conversation turned to thoughts of marriage, so, with her parents blessing, the couple announced their engagement on Memorial Day weekend in 1959.
But there was a detour along the way! That same weekend, Marguretha was driving home from Salem late in the evening. It had been a busy day with Forrest and she was quite tired. As she approached the small community of Rickreall, she dozed at the wheel and when she opened her eyes, she was aimed directly at a telephone pole. She swerved and sideswiped the pole, slamming into the house just beyond the pole. The car rolled down a high embankment and came to rest right-side up but with Marguretha pinned inside. After what seemed like an eternity, she was rescued by emergency personnel from the Dallas area, at least one of which knew her. She was taken to Dallas Hospital where it was learned that she had sustained a severe neck injury. There was an undetermined amount of paralysis, so she was transferred to Salem Hospital where specialists were not optimistic that she would ever walk again. But God had other ideas!
After 3 months in the hospital, and another 6 months of recovery and therapy at home, Marguretha married Forrest Beattie on May 12, 1960, the date of her parent’s 25th wedding anniversary. So she began married life with physical disability but courage and determination. Over the next 2 years, two children were born; Brian and then Janice. Marguretha soon became proficient at caring for the children, her husband, and keeping the house in good order. For a couple of years while the children were still young, the family was approved as a foster home for new infants, and she mothered eleven pre-adoptive infants over a 2-year period.
The couple started at First Baptist Church in Salem, but soon transferred to Salem Heights Baptist near their home in south Salem. Marguretha became active in church, helping with various projects, helping in the nursery, and singing in the choir and special music groups. She was noted for the number and quality of the quilts and comforters she created, especially for new babies. After some 15 years at Salem Heights, the family moved closer in to town just off State Street and the family transferred to Grace Baptist which was her current church home.
While at Grace Baptist Church, her most noteworthy service was serving for several years as Financial Secretary for the Church Treasurer. This was a hugely important time for her of building self confidence and improving her writing and number skills. She gained enough confidence to take over household finances at home and eventually negotiating a refinance of the family home to reduce interest and mortgage life…..all on her own!
Marguretha coped with her disabilities all through her married life. After Forrest retired in 1998, they traveled together on several extended vacation trips. She was uneasy with public transit, so they traveled by auto across the western US, and as far eastward as Michigan and Illinois. She loved traveling and seeing new sights. But time was taking it’s toll and the hidden effects from her auto accident in 1959 began to show up.
In the early 2000’s, she was diagnosed with a heart rhythm disorder and received a pacemaker. But other internal problems began to surface and her bodily energy began to slowly slip away. Still, she carried on a lively ministry of volunteering for Union Gospel Mission in Salem as a purchaser of fabric for sewing projects. She also cut the fabric as needed to make tote bags, night shirts, handkerchiefs, Muumuus for women, and laundry bags. She didn’t do much sewing, but she enjoyed shopping for the fabric and cutting the patterns for others to sew. She also made numerous wordless books for Child Evangelism Fellowship.
Marguretha passed away quietly at Salem Hospital on March 20, 2008, after a brief but intense illness. The hospital staff struggled mightily to save her life, but God had a better idea and she is now home forever, and free of the limitations which troubled her earthly life.
In tribute to this remarkable woman, her children and her husband have written the following:
My mother’s life is a powerful testimony to the miracle-working power, love, and grace of God. You have already heard how God preserved Marguretha through the auto accident that should have taken her life, about her public walk down the matrimonial aisle when the prognosis was against it, and the children she bore despite the best wisdom and advice of physicians. As her first child, the “guinea pig”, I was intimately involved in the latter, and am so grateful to God that neither He nor my parents have been inclined to accept any limitations based on the transient weakness of mortal flesh.
My mother did what mothers do: everything. Household chores, outdoor adventures, school functions, church responsibilities; Marguretha worked and played and loved and laughed like I imagine everyone else’s mom did. But every time she made a school lunch, or wiped a runny nose, or rolled a bowling ball, it was a victory of God’s matchless grace, and a stinging rebuke of Satan’s efforts to kill, steal, and destroy. Every time she took a step, she proclaimed more loudly than shouting that God is greater, and His grace is sufficient.
I am sure that my mom did not fully comprehend how the world shook whenever she took another step. She was simply determined to do everything she could; any well-meaning suggestion that she might need help was just as likely to provoke another miracle. I grew up surrounded by them, and often took them for granted.
I watched my parents, as all children are wont to do, and I have to say I learned practically nothing about being in a successful married relationship. I never recall them in an argument, or even having a serious difference of opinion. Mom and Dad were steadfast in love, unselfish in partnership, and sacrificial in giving to each other. Dad fondly reminds me that they enthusiastically broke the main rules for successful marriage, and I have no doubt that they only broke more with the passage of years.
In recent months, mom had grudgingly surrendered a few of her cherished household chores with frustration, but she refused to give in. Last weekend, she fixed soup and my favorite cake dessert for lunch during one of my too rare visits. Last week, I got to hug my mom, and kiss her goodbye.
Upon reflection, I am convinced that despite a mighty effort the enemy was unable to steal even one day appointed to my mom’s life. God in His grace embraced her at the end of a completed race run with determination and dignity. I have no doubt her victory lap is glorious.
Mom was a great teacher as well as a great parent, and I loved her very much. It never seemed to matter to her that she had to do things a little different; she always found a way of getting it done. She constantly amazed me with things that she would try from riding a bike to joining us to go bowling.
She loved life despite the obstacles that got in her way. In the early years of growing up, I remember her getting down and wrestling on the floor with us, playing games, and, in my case, going shopping. She was always there when we got home from school to hear about our day. It made her smile to hear about all the things we had done. She was such a great friend, as well as my mom! I will miss her every day.
How do I find words to describe what she meant to me? We entered married life as a lifetime partnership, and worked it that way. She let me lead, but I soon learned to ask for her counsel and she always did so with kindness and wisdom. Her life sometimes was quite hard, but she tackled it with courage and gentle determination. She demanded no more of me than other women demand of their husbands and did so with loving grace. She was never intimidated by difficulty, but found a way and persisted until she got the results she wanted. She accomplished more than many more able than she. She was a woman of remarkable courage, determination and inventiveness. God gave her to me to be my wife and she lived up to every bit of it. I loved her deeply, and still do. I look forward to joining her before the Throne some day.