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Vibrant at 95

Daughter in California keeps mother up-to-date on area news

Staff writer

Marguerite Goertz, 95, of Hillsboro is interested in many things. She never tires of hearing about the activities of her children and grandchildren. She enjoys visiting with friends. Moreover, she likes to keep abreast of what is happening in the world.

She keeps up with local happenings through her daughter, Rosemary Souza, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Marguerite subscribes to the Hillsboro Star-Journal but she has poor eyesight and finds it difficult to read. So, every week, Souza accesses the newspaper online and reads the articles and information her mother wants to hear. She especially likes the historical articles. They also share and discuss world and national news.

Now a resident of Salem Home, Goertz originally came to Hillsboro after she married Ben Pankratz. A native of Hillsboro, he was the principal at Hillsboro Elementary School for many years. They were married for 47 years.

In 1952, Marguerite bought the women’s department of the former Schaeffler Store and operated it for 20 years. Business was good, she said. She employed three clerks.

As Marguerite Pankratz, Goertz was instrumental in forming a group of businesswomen who organized the first Hillsboro Arts and Crafts Fair 43 years ago. Eight women met in her home to get the ball rolling. She served as their leader.

The businessmen didn’t want to get involved, Goertz said, but they were supportive.

“We helped change Main Street,” she said.

Marguerite was widowed in 1978. She later married H. Norton Goertz, a family friend who had lost his wife. Goertz was a mortician and operated Goertz Furniture Store. They were married for three years. He died in 1990.

Marguerite lived in an apartment at Parkside Homes for 10 years before moving to Salem Home two and a half years ago to be under a doctor’s supervision.

“This is a great place to live,” she said. “It has a high caliber of workers.”

Her favorite activity is participation in a Minds Class taught by activities director Sarah Holtsclaw. Holtsclaw teaches the group about things she learns on the Internet, and the group talks about “everything,” Goertz said. Sometimes, someone reads poetry. The class is conducted every day for a half hour.

“I have some wonderful friends who are younger than me and do so many nice things for me,” she said.

In addition to daughter Rosemary and her husband Robert, Goertz has another daughter, Benita Holliday of Brownwood, Texas. Goertz has six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She looks forward to conversing with her daughters on a daily basis.

Marguerite is no stranger to adversity. She had health issues as a child and has suffered several life-threatening illnesses as an adult, but she has overcome all of them.

She attributes her long life to modern medicine and the longevity that runs in her family. Several family members lived into their 90s, and one reached 103.

Goertz has a bright outlook on life. She is prepared for her passing but looks forward to more interesting years ahead. Her attractively furnished room reflects an active mind.

“When I came here, I said I didn’t come here to die,” she said. “I came here to live.”

Her philosophy of life is summed up in a motto she has set for herself: “When one door closes, another one opens, but it takes courage to step over the threshold.”

“I really believe that,” she said.

Last modified March 30, 2011

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