Margaret McKelvey

margaret mckelvey

 Margaret was born on January 25, 1913 in Mountain View, California.  She and her family lived there for only two years before her father, George, was transferred to Portland, Oregon to be the manager of the Pacific Press.  When she was nine, they moved once again, this time to Brookfield, Illinois where Margaret spent the next 10 years. 

While in Brookfield, her love of music blossomed.  During those years, Margaret had the opportunity to be mentored by four different piano teachers.  In those days her parents paid a dollar for three music lessons!  This was during the Great Depression; but Margaret, by working both at the Pacific Press in Brookfield and a print shop at home, still managed to save $200.  Indeed, she was offered a full scholarship to Northwestern University in music, but turned this down and used her $200 to begin nurse’s training in 1933 at the White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles. 

Upon graduation in 1936, post-graduate training in Operating Room Technique followed.  With career opportunities in Consumers, Utah as the nurse in a working coal mine, and a charge nurse in a “Cottage Hospital” in Fullerton, California; ultimately, in 1939, her dream came true. She was hired to be the O.R. and Delivery Room supervisor at Porter Hospital in Denver, Colorado.  Ultimately, the culmination of her clinical career resulted in giving anesthesia to over 2,000 patients. 

The next phase of Margaret’s life would include her husband and family.   She married her dentist, Harold McKelvey in 1948.  Soon after, Donna and Charles were born.  She worked for Harold in his dental office while raising their two children.  This was also an opportunity for her to redirect her musical talents.  Her church, Denver South, purchased a large Allen pipe organ in 1960, so at 47 years of age, it was back for more music lessons!  Her love and talent for the piano transferred seamlessly to the pipe organ. 

Harold passed away from cancer in 1965.  With two children to raise, Margaret began a 19 year career with Dr. John Davis, a close family friend.  At Dr. Davis’s retirement, Margaret continued to work for five more years as a charge nurse at Asbury Circle Nursing Home.  Her career continued until she retired from nursing at 76 years of age. 

With health care in her blood, she continued to volunteer at Porter Adventist Hospital well into her 80’s.  Her 90’s found her at Porter Place.  She continued to give periodic piano concerts for the residents, the last was when she was 95.  She would have continued, but since she would memorize all her music and perform her selections flawlessly, she admitted it was too exhausting for her to continue.  She was also the dominoes champion at Porter Place until the week she fell asleep in her Lord. 

Margaret was very proud of her children and grandchildren.  Donna married Dick McClain in 1969.  They have two daughters, Jessica and Lisa.  Charles married Gloria Baruch in 1975. They have two sons, Alex and Greg.  The grandkids have great memories of “Granny”.  Either having tea-time with her, or always receiving Christmas and Birthday cards right on time. 

Her faith was strong and she instilled that in her family.  She touched many people’s hearts in her 99 years of life and she will be sorely missed. 


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