Margaret Vanston Warner, mother, grandmother, great gran, great great gran, and friend died on August 4, 2011, in the place she loved most, the North Fork of Long Island. She was 96. A force to be reckoned with to the end, she died peacefully in Eastern Long Island Hospital surrounded by family.
Maggie was born in South Orange, New Jersey on July 20, 1915, to William Justus Keough Vanston and Daisy Mabel Crampton Vanston. She lived there until the late 1970s, when she and her husband Clayton moved to Lake Wales, Florida. She spent her last years in Chicago, IL, where she moved in 2006.
Maggie spent every summer since 1922 on Nassau Point, where her father built one of the first houses on the western side of the Point. It was here that she honed her skills as a golfer, sailor, avid bridge player and general card shark, tennis player, gardener — and often plumber, electrician, carpenter, and always chief cook and bottle-washer. Here Maggie taught her children and grandchildren a love of the sea and simple joys such as putting up strawberry jam, freezing beans picked fresh from the garden, making “Maggie’s chutney,” and playing a good game of cribbage or penny-ante poker.
Maggie had a great zest for life. She was happiest surrounded by family and friends. Her home was always a flurry of activity, which Maggie ably orchestrated. Generations of friends and family members remember fondly her annual birthday dinner party which she prepared for “a few good friends,” usually 60 to 90 in number, and the yearly July 4th picnic on the beach.
Maggie was strong-minded and had an indomitable spirit. She survived three beloved husbands — Bowman Shivers Ellis (1911-1948), Clayton Oscar Braatz (1906-1992), and William Bernard Warner (1916-1998). She stared down two cases of cancer. She was three-time women’s golf champion of North Fork Country Club (1947, 1950, and 1958). And at age 61, she successfully convinced Rutgers University that she was a worthy candidate for their graduate program.
Maggie had boundless reserves of energy and a strong moral compass. She was a loyal friend to young and old and was a tireless volunteer for her church, schools, and several local civic organizations. She was a long-time parishioner of The Church of The Redeemer of Mattituck, NY, a parishioner of The Church of the Good Shepherd of Lake Wales, FL, and a member of Holy Communion Church of South Orange, NJ, where she served for many years on the vestry. She led by example, instilling in her children a strong work ethic, a commitment to community, independence and self-reliance. The many grandchildren and other youthful followers, who affectionately knew her as “Granny Mag”, loved her for her adventurous spirit and spontaneity, and benefitted from her firm hand and strong guidance. She will be missed by all.
Maggie was a 1933 graduate of The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, received her BA degree in 1937 from Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, and her Masters of Library Science in 1979 from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Maggie is survived by five children — Justine Ashton of Glen Ellen, California; Charles Braatz of Monmouth, Illinois; Margaret Jay Braatz of Chicago, Illinois; Susan Braatz of Rome, Italy; and Barbara Braatz of Durham, North Carolina; five stepchildren — Joanne Breyer of East Hampton, NY; Matthew Braatz of Savannah, Georgia; Clayton Braatz of San Marino, California; Helen Bicking of Manasquan, New Jersey; and Robert Bicking of Bellingham, Washington; as well as nine grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Church of The Redeemer, 13225 Sound Avenue, Mattituck, NY 11952.
This is a paid notice.