The night after my mother passed I woke, sat up in bed and began singing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”

I sang it over and over in the dark, wondering why I was doing it as I am not a good singer and I certainly never wake up singing in the night! In the morning, I realized that this song is my mother!

We will be playing this recorded version at at her service and I have asked my daughter Summer to also sing the song, in her own way.

Margaret McWhorter, age 20


As beautiful as a movie star and as unaffected as a flower, our Mother, Margaret Jane Woods-Lange McWhorter died Tuesday evening, Nov 16th, at the age of 88 after having well-lived ten years with lung cancer. When sometimes asked how she stood the pain and fear of cancer she said, “I just make it neutral.” She also told us she had made friends with her cancer.

Born Sept 5, 1922, in Long Beach, California, Margaret grew up in the Antelope Valley, California where she was briefly a classmate of Judy Garland. She graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Drama.

She met our father at a party just as my father shipped off with the Army during WWII. They wrote letters for five years, but never had a date before they married in 1944.  Daddy liked to tell how when he stepped off the train and grabbed her for their first long awaited kiss, they banged teeth.

In 1952, our parents moved from the Mohave Desert to Highland Valley Rd., Ramona, California, with the first three of their six children. In 1962, they moved to “The Big White Farmhouse” at the corner of Dye and Highland Valley Road.

Margaret McWhorter, age 88

On Highland Valley Rd., our folks raised turkeys and lost their shirts.

Later, they both became Farm and Land Brokers and we all lived rich sometimes, penniless at others. Mother mentioned once that they had had to sell all the furniture in the house to feed us kids one week. We kids never noticed. Mother never cared for clothes, makeup, beautiful houses or things. She didn’t much care for cooking, either. Along with having 6 kids, here is some of what she did care about:

For a while she had a radio show for children called Margaret’s Magic Carpet. She also taught 4-H, was President of the local American Field Service, was certified as a Touch for Health Instructor with Palomar College, was an acupuncturist, gardened, practiced yoga and tai chi, belly danced, started and owned a publishing company (Ransom Hill Press), wrote books, was an avid reader of books of all kinds (but mainly how to’s and spiritual books) and she very effectively and positively read palms and tea leaves. She went to school at night and learned New Math when it came out, because her kids needed her help with it and she continued graduate studies at UCSD earning a certificate as a Farm and Land Broker, similar to a Masters. She learned pattern making and sewing, did beautiful calligraphy, and followed the nutritionist Adele Davis’s line of thinking.

We kids drank a lot of Adele’s ‘Tiger’s Milk’ nutritional drink (Brewers yeast, powdered milk, black strap molasses, dried liver, calcium powder and banana) to make sure we stayed away from doctors and hospitals. She spent a lot of time chasing our youngest sister around the property, trying to get her to drink the stuff.

Mom also had the first Macintosh computer and laser printer and could run circles around computer professionals with her technical knowledge. At one time, Mom owned seven computers and she used all of them. She was offered a MENSA membership, but didn’t seem to have an interest.

However, what Mother did best was love everyone. She never said mean or jealous words about people.  And, for the incredibly physically beautiful woman she was, we can’t think of anyone who was ever jealous of her or said anything unkind about her! How could they? She loved them.

Our mother was predeceased by our father James H. McWhorter (Old Jim) and her grandson Michael Lange Meyers. Left to miss her forever are her children, Venus Catherine Andrecht, Polly Jane Meyers (Dr. Ron) Barbara Raifsneider (John) James Lange McWhorter (Cynthia) Arthur Allen McWhorter (Mary Ellen) and Candy Ann Smiley (Steve), and grandchildren: Summer Andrecht McStravick (Charles), Josh Meyers (Kelli), Calixte and Arend Raifsneider, Jordan McWhorter and John and Kristopher McWhorter, Niole Boyer (Russ) and Trenton Smiley (Emily). She also leaves eleven great grandchildren.

Besides missing Margaret, her family and friends will greatly miss her Annual Christmas Letter where she, with all good will, unintentionally managed to embarrass and outrage various family members each year by truthfully recounting our ups and downs.

All of us and our Mother welcome her friends and all those who love her to her memorial service, Sunday Nov. 28, 11 AM at her son, Jim’s, Third Street Grill, at the corner of Third and Main, Ramona, CA 92065.

Mom tried to live long enough to be at Jim’s restaurant opening, and we feel she will bless his fortunes with her party.

We now reluctantly and sadly say good-bye and Godspeed to a beautiful being.

Instead of flowers, hospice donations in her name would be gratefully accepted by Avalon Hospice at 3914 Murphy Cyn Rd, #A226, San Diego, Ca 92123

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