By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.
HART – Margaret Squire has a milestone birthday coming up March 30, and she says there is no secret to her longevity.
Maybe it’s just good genes. Her father, Charles Louiseau, lived to be almost 90, she said.
Born March 30, 1919, in Canada, Margaret always had a strong bond with her mother, Anna. “I was my mother’s girl,” she recalled. “I used to sit on her lap. I left home at the age of 21, and I still sat on her lap,” she quipped.
Her family moved to International Falls, Minnesota when she was still a baby. “If you didn’t go into the mill to work, you just didn’t get a job.”
When she was a young adult, Margaret had some friends who moved to Michigan and told her she could find work there. She had taken an accounting course through the mail with the International Accounting Society, so she used those skills to find a job. Her first job was working as a bookkeeper at a furniture store called Frederick’s Fine Furniture.
Margaret married Arnold Squire of Pentwater when she was 30 years old and they had two children, son Art and daughter Margaret Ann. Her son tragically died in a motorcycle accident when he was in his 40s. Daughter Margaret visits her mother often at the Oceana County Medical Care Facility.
The young family lived in Pentwater for a few years, and Margaret can proudly say she was hired as the first teller at the Pentwater bank back when it first opened.
Unfortunately, Arnold was stricken with tuberculosis and the family had to move to Battle Creek for treatment. The family then moved to Muskegon where Arnold worked as a truck driver.
The family had also lived in Livonia for a couple years when Arnold again battled TB as well as son Art. Margaret had to leave her young son in a hospital that she described as being “very run down.”
“I’ll never forget that I had to leave him there,” she said of the painful memory. Her resourcefulness soon led her to a much more suitable facility for her son and husband in Kalamazoo.
Times were hard for her as she became the bread winner for the family during her husband’s and son’s illnesses. She got a job as a bookkeeper for a company that made window sashes while Arnold was hospitalized for seven months.
“They went into the hospital in Kalamazoo, and I went to Berrien Springs.
“When things happen, take it in stride or you lose a lot of ground,” she advised. “Don’t sit at home and feel sorry for yourself.”
She recalls paying 50 cents a day to lay away Christmas presents for her children.
The family later moved to Berrien Springs, where the children eventually graduated from high school.
In their later years, she and Arnold returned to Pentwater. “We were more or less retired.” Although, Margaret’s strong work ethic drew her to a bookkeeping job for Pentwater Township.
She has wise advice for young people starting out their careers. “If you’re going to work, work at something you like to do and give it all you’ve got.”
She enjoys living at the medical care facility, where she has been for four years. “The people are very nice.”
“If anyone had told me I’d live this long and live in a place like this, I’d think they’re off their rocker,” she said with a laugh.
Laughter has been a benefit to her over the years. “I see humor in things more than ever before. You have to roll with the punches.”
With her room situated across the hallway from the facility’s hair salon, she said she enjoys waking up every morning to the laughter of the hair stylist interacting with the residents.
When asked what are some of her favorite hobbies, she replied with a smile, “I sleep a lot.” She used to enjoy knitting, but her failing eyesight makes it difficult these days.
With her hair neatly done and dressed in a fashionable outfit, Margaret looks much younger than her actual age. She is also extremely lucid for a woman approaching the century mark.
Margaret has four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren who she admires daily by looking at their photographs hanging in her room. “It’s surprising how much pleasure you get out of it,” she said.
The workers at the medical care facility rave about Margaret, citing her sharpness and sweet demeanor. Although, she doesn’t see herself as anyone extraordinary. “I didn’t do anything special,” she said says modestly. “What you see is what you get.”
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