Margaret Ann Tyson, known to most of us as Maggie, was my mother. A mother I was so lucky to have through my 56th year…her 80th. We lost Mom on February 23rd, 2015 to lung cancer; it was her second fight with that monster.

Mom was many things including a fighter. The doctors gave her six months to a year based on the PET scan she had on February 22nd, 2014. She passed away the day after the year mark of her diagnosis. I was so unbelievably fortunate to be there to hold her hand when she passed as she had done for so many throughout her life.



Caption: Maggie with daughters Dee and Ree

In this post I’ll try to convey “who” Maggie was and how she affected my life and the lives of others.  I would be so grateful if you would leave a comment about your experience knowing mom or better yet, go here and email me content for your very own post.


I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who believe their parents are the “best” that could be had. I feel that way, too. When it came to my mother, I was given the gift of unconditional love and dedication.

Mom loved with a firm hand; we were held accountable for our actions. I am beyond grateful for that because it taught me to be responsible.

Some of the things I loved the most were the clothes mom made for me and my sister. She let us pick out our patterns and fabric and then went to work to make us things we would love to wear, and we did! Here are pictures of some Halloween costumes she made us when we were little. She made the wings and the halos, too!



Mom was so creative. She dabbled in every type of craft and everyone enjoyed getting gifts from our family because Mom usually made them.

She owned two different craft stores: That Craft Place in Belmont Shores, CA, and The Needle Workers in Fallbrook, CA. That gives you some idea of how much crafting was a part of her life.


Here are some of the crafts Mom enjoyed:

  • Macrame
  • Batik
  • Weaving (she even spun her own wool!)
  • Needle work (knitting, crochet, needlepoint)
  • Paper mache
  • Shadow boxes
  • Gourd art
  • Decoupage
  • Tole painting (especially on rocks)
  • Making walking sticks
  • T shirt art (loved her “Cow Hands” and “Cow Pie” designs!)
  • Doll making and doll houses
  • Ceramics
  • Dough art

You may remember Mom’s art; perhaps you made art with her. These are just a sample of some of the things Mom made.




Mom was a free spirt. She never let anyone dictate her beliefs, what was right or how to live. Here’s one picture that sums it all up!



You couldn’t ask for someone more loyal to her friends and family. When you were “adopted” by Mom, you were family.

Mom ingrained in us early that family isn’t just about blood. Instead, it’s about choosing good people to be part of your life, your family. Our Uncle Joe and Auntie Pat weren’t “blood” family, but I never knew about that until many years later. The Plank’s were an integral part of our life growing up…holidays, trips to the beach, get togethers. Even after Auntie Pat passed away, Mom and Uncle Joe remained close friends.


Another “adopted” daughter was Darlene Chandler. She and Mom met while working at Temecula Creek Inn and became fast friends. Mom was the only “family” Darlene had here in California and when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Mom protected and helped her as if she was her own daughter. She accompanied her to all her treatments and was there when Darlene passed.


Robert Carlson, a wonderful man who came into Mom’s life in her 40’s, was more like a brother than a friend. They supported each other through the hard times shared many wonderful adventures. Again, Mom was there to hold that friend’s hand when he passed.


She missed these people until her own dying day. There are so many other friends to mention: Jan (McMahon) Dickey, Fran and Ray Johnson, Jan and Dick Woods, her friend Sandy who came later in life but they were still deeply connected, and so many others.

So many friends that it’s impossible to honor them all here. You’ll hear more about these people and others in future posts.


Mom never had a lot of money but that didn’t stop her from being generous. She gave in so many ways including her time, expertise (she helped a lot of people with their computer problems), and even with money.

If she saw someone who looked like they could use a dollar more than she felt she needed it, she gave it to them. Mom didn’t worry too much about having a bundle in the bank and giving made her happy.

I’ve learned a lot from her on that count. I worry about being able to “take care” of myself as I get older but there’s something to be said for the value of giving.

Adventurous and Fearless

Anyone who knew Mom would agree that she was adventurous and fearless. Her high school friend, Mary Ann, will tell you that Mom was the instigator when it came to ditching class and it didn’t stop there!

Mom broke her back as a young girl by getting bucked off a horse and landing on a railroad track. And even though the pain from the event haunted her the remainder of her life, she took life on full-steam ahead.

Here’s just a sample of the adventures she went on: camel riding in Egypt, parasailing in Mexico, getting dressed up in wedding regalia in Morocco and flying her own ultralite right here at home.


Missing You, Mom…

Nothing can express the grief I feel from losing Mom. She was such a major force in my life and now there’s just a big hole that used to be filled with her voice, affection and energy. They say it gets better with time. I hope so. We miss you, Mom…


There is so much to say about Mom and this single post cannot do her justice. If you have a story or picture to add, please see the Share Your Memories page.

If you knew Mom and want to read new content as it’s published, please join the mailing list by clicking the I Want Updates! button in the sidebar. She would love to know she still mattered in the lives of her family and friends.

Contributor: Ree Klein

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