Margaret Eleanor Gesell









Margaret Eleanor Gesell, 80, passed away March 22, 2015 in Edmonds, Washington.Margaret was born on July 5, 1934 to Wilhelm and Olga Zech in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Margaret grew up the youngest in her family in Winnipeg. She was baptized, confirmed and married in The Church of the Cross, and graduated from Daniel McIntyre High School.

Gesell1In 1952, she met the love of her life, Arnold Gesell, outside the town of Whitemouth, Manitoba. They married on September 1, 1956. The couple started a journey west to finally settle in Seattle, Washington, USA, after Arnold took a position with the Boeing Company in 1958. They raised their family of three children: Gregory, Brent, and Lisa, in Bellevue, Washington and attended Cross of Christ Lutheran Church.  Gesell2

Margaret was known be many and most as Marge. She was a homemaker while her children were young and then managed a Beauty and Barber Supply in Bellevue for over ten years. She loved to bake, with cookies being her specialty. Favorites included Sugarcrisps, Peanut Blossoms, Pecan Tarts, Macaroons and Bourbon Balls.

Margaret also loved spending time with her grandchildren, Derrick and Stacie. She would go to every one of their events, including all their soccer games to root them on.

Several times a year, the couple would travel back to Canada and also down to California to visit family. Family was the most important element of life to Margaret. She planned and attended the first family reunion in 1995 on the Oregon Coast. Several more reunions followed every few years, as well as other major family events. She came to be considered by the entire family as the ‘glue’ that bound it all together. Major family trips included Hawaii, Mexico, Disneyworld in Florida, an Alaskan Cruise, New England and Pennsylvania, and Virginia. She also went to Europe to visit her father and other family in Germany.

She was a daughter, sister, aunt, wife, mother, great aunt, great great aunt, grandma, and great great great aunt.

Margaret was preceded in death by her parents; brother Eric and sisters Marda Balyk (Tim), Elfriede, Ruth Oswald, and Jocelyn; and by her daughter Lisa. She is survived by Arnold, her husband of 58 years; sons Gregory (Therese) and Brent (Scott); and grandchildren Derrick and Stacie. She is also survived by her brothers-in-law Erwin Gesell (Joyce) and Fred Oswald; sister-in-law Mardie Zech; and many nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank all the wonderful caregivers at Manor Care in Lynnwood and to the caring team at Swedish Edmonds.

We grieve her loss but we thank God for her life and her love for others. We rejoice that she is at peace in the company of her family and in the love of the Lord. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Cross of Christ Lutheran Church or a charity of your choice.Gesell3

A memorial service will be held on April 11, 2015 at 7:00pm at Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, 411 156th Avenue NE, Bellevue, WA 98007.

11 Responses to “Margaret Eleanor Gesell”

  • Brandon Oswald says:

    Thanks to everyone who contributed to the above epilogue. It captured the life and legacy of Auntie Margie beautifully and brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes.
    Regretfully, I will not be able to attend the memorial but I will pray for God to disperse strength for all that were close to Auntie Margie. I always felt like she loved without conditions…something I’d like to continue striving toward.
    Love Brandon

  • Amanda Evans says:

    I too agree with Brandon, what a beautiful description of Auntie Margie. She was definitely the glue that held us together. I would love to honor her memory by helping out with our Zech family book and continuing to document our family’s history. The world and the reunion will not be the same without her. We love you and will miss you greatly Auntie Margie.

  • Jamie Oswald says:

    This was beautifully written as said above and it was such a joy to know her. We pray for God to comfort you all in this time of sadness. Know that she is watching from above and will be in our hearts forever.

    With Love,
    Marc,Jamie,and Matthew Oswald

  • Brent Gesell says:

    So, it has been one week today since you passed and I am missing you more than you will ever even imagine. <3 (heart)

    I love you very much, Mom – blowing you kisses to you in heaven X X X X X X X X X X X X

    I just want to say that I feel a little lost right now. Mom, you gave me life in all aspects of the word – I could always rely on you, for even just a smile, a kiss (even if you blew to me), and more love than I could ever possibly dream of. You always encouraged me and told me to be true to myself. You loved me unconditionally and accepted me for everything that I was about. You were truly A M A Z I N G. Thank you for all the things that you did for me including keeping our family together; teaching me the word perseverance and showing me how to be strong; telling me to 'keep my chin up' and giving me a sense of pride and worth; instilling such good morals and values in me; teaching me to say 'please' (bitte), 'thank you' (danke), and 'you're welcome' (bitte schön); also teaching me how to always be polite, kind, and also to share; giving me the ability to be fair; telling me to 'let it go' (well before the movie Frozen); showing me that it is OK to show emotion, giving me encouragement to dream BIG; and showing me by example how to love and to be compassionate.

    I will honor you forever and you will forever live in my <3 (heart). You were a great Mom! You were also a great human being and friend to me.

    Thank you for life and all the times we had together. Please say hello to Lisa and give her a BIG kiss and hug from me.

    All of my love to you, always and forever, Brent

    I love you more than Starlight Sugar Crisps! xo

  • Helga Zinko (Weiss) says:

    To Arnold, Greg, Brent and extended family. Just want to express my condolences on Margaret’s death. We had not been in touch for probably the last ten or more years so did not realize she had been in a home.

    In writing my memoirs, I have been taken back to 1948 when Tante Olga and Uncle Wilhelm sponsored us to Canada and made a place for us in their home which was barely big enough for them. In the six months we were with them, Margaret was responsible for me while everyone else worked – probably not the favorite thing for a teenager to do. She had to make sure I got lunch and made it back to school on time. Even Eric was saddled with me as he daily took it upon himself to teach me English, so that at the end of the year, I no longer had an accent. We owe so much to the Zech family – their support and kindness will not ever be forgotten.

    Margaret and I had only the 10 years in Winnipeg before they moved away, so we didn’t spend a great deal of time together, but she paid me the greatest compliment when she asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. I was very thrilled.

    We wish all of you peace and God’s blessings as you adjust to life without your loved one.

  • Cathy & Tom Hennecker says:

    Sending our heartfelt condolences to the entire family. Auntie Margaret was a special person, but she also had a way of making everyone she knew feel special. Family was so important to her, she really was the glue that bound the family together & will be missed dearly. We would be honoured to attend the memorial.
    Love Tom & Cathy

  • Cheryl Hawley says:

    I am so sad to hear of Auntie Margie’s passing. She was my great aunt, and would always make sure that I put the emphasis on “GREAT” Aunt. In fact, I would have to address her as “GREAT” Auntie Margie, and she would say I was her GREAT niece, which would always be answered with “Oh, you are my GREAT, great Auntie, there is no auntie greater than you”. This would always satisfy her, and make her smile. She truly was the glue that kept the Zech family together. What will we do without her? I started crying when I saw Brent’s facebook post of him and Auntie Margie. She is one of a kind, and I will miss her so much. I am certain that she is reunited with Lisa, and her sisters and brother, and she is overjoyed! Til we meet again. I love you so much, Auntie Margie.

  • Cheryl Hawley says:

    P.S. The next time it rains, we will consider it your cannonball splash to Ashley, and the rest of the family. You were the best! Love you.

  • Sandra Zech says:

    I’d like to pass on my sincere condolences to Uncle Arnold, Greg & Therese, Derrick, Stacie, Brent and Scott.

    Auntie Margaret was an amazing person with a heart of gold. I have such wonderful memories of her. From the family weekends at the pool on Newdale, the visits across the border in Bellevue, WA, her and Uncle Arnold coming and watching Brendan’s ball games, and even the trip to Disneyland that she took me and Cathy along with her own family. Family was so important to her and we take comfort knowing that she is with the Zech family and most importantly, Lisa, in Heaven.
    With love, Sandra, Kevan, Brendan and Julia

  • Sabine Langner says:

    Our sincere condolences to Arnold and the rest of the family.

    We have fond memories of Margaret, especially our birthday lunches with our daughter Julia which became a regular event for several years!! Arnold and Margaret even made the journey across two borders to visit us in Point Roberts! She was a truly special person and will be missed.

    All our best thoughts across the water…
    Sabine, Rob, Julia and Sandy

  • Fiona Cressman says:

    Scott and I send love, strength, and hugs to everyone during this difficult time. We are unable to attend the memorial service, but will definitely be there in spirit.

    Great Auntie Margaret was such a big part of my life over the years. I loved her honesty, her sarcasm, her humour… I love that she lived in another country yet she always managed to attend as many family events as possible – including our recent wedding – despite the distance. She loved Canada and all of the Zechs in B.C., and Scott and Margaret bonded over their Winnipeg roots! Our lives have all been better with her in it.

    I will truly miss her. ♥

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