Margaret Kirkhuff, age 96, of Cambridge died November 9, 2020 at Rosewood Senior Living. A private service will be held at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery.
Margaret “Marge” Kirkhuff
Born November 10, 1923 and called home to be with the Lord November 9, 2020 just 20 minutes shy of her 97th birthday. She will be greatly missed but God had better plans for her birthday celebration than anything we could offer.
She was born in Aberdeen, Washington to Sarah (Warman) and George Snyder. After losing her mother at the age of only 9, she formed close bonds with aunts and uncles on both sides of her family that would greatly influence her life. When she was 13 she moved to Modesto, CA with her father, stepmother Margaret and brother Merle Snyder. Life wasn’t easy and she was on her own at the age of 16 but the determination she had to complete high school and receive her diploma was a trait that she displayed throughout her lifetime.
In 1944, during World War II, Marge was working at a military hospital in Modesto, CA and as she would famously tell you “making salad for 300 men”. It was there that she met the love of her life. Private 1st class John Philip Kirkhuff, a 20 year old, Pearl Harbor survivor who while later serving in the South Pacific suffered a broken neck and was sent back to the states in a body cast to that same hospital to recover. They dated for just two weeks before going to Reno, Nevada to get married on July 11, 1944. What appeared to be a quick wartime marriage lasted until his death nearly 70 years later and was a beautiful example of unconditional love to family and friends.
Unable to have children of their own, Marge and John adopted two children, Virginia Lee Kirkhuff (Berg) and Stephen Philip Kirkhuff. They also opened their home to over a dozen foster children including a family of four teenage siblings that they invited in to share Thanksgiving dinner, an encounter that she treasured.
Marge was outgoing, she made friends easily and kept them for the long-haul. Her door was always open and she would gladly “throw another potato in the pot” to feed whoever showed up. She was a woman of many passions and started sewing circles, card clubs, and craft groups in Oakdale, Forestville and Sacramento, CA. She first started crafting when she was serving as a Bluebird Leader when her daughter Ginny was very young. Crafting became a lifelong love taking her and John as vendors to craft shows all over California and beyond. Countless Christmas trees still display her ornaments. Other favorite past times included square dancing, card playing, fishing and gardening. They planted a garden in every home they ever lived in and always took pride in sharing their bounty of fruits and vegetables. If you want to be inspired look to someone who is still planting apple trees in their late 80’s.
Being a child of the depression Marge loved a good deal! She wasn’t afraid to go out of her way for a bargain. She would clip coupons and hit as many as five grocery stores in a single trip to make sure she found all the best deals. Gifts from her would often still bear the price tag, not because she forgot to remove it but to show you what a good deal she had found.
Marge and John loved to travel, whether it was camping in their RV, trips to the casino in Las Vegas or train trips to Minnesota to visit family, they enjoyed the adventure! Special highlights in their travels included a visit to Hawaii and Pearl Harbor, a trip to Hong Kong and, as a result of a letter Marge wrote to a local radio station contest, they received an all-expenses paid trip on an “Honor Flight” with other veterans to Washington DC to visit the World War II Memorial upon it’s completion.
In 2007, in their mid-80’s, Marge and John moved to Minnesota to be near family. They bought a house in Mora Minnesota. Soon their son Steve came to visit and helped with repairs and updates. They planted a garden, had yearly holiday craft shows in their garage, located new fishing spots (complete with good stories) and of course found the local casinos! You have to love and admire that kind of resilience. When John was no longer able to accompany Marge to the casino, she took great pride in the fact that her son-in-law, Fred, agreed to be her “club date”.
In the last years of her life, as Alzheimer’s took its toll on this vibrant woman, it didn’t manage to diminish her beautiful smile or her ability to brighten the day of those around her. She is preceded in death by her beloved husband John and her grandson-in-law Jeffrey Hettwer. She is survived by her son Steven Kirkhuff, daughter Virginia “Ginny” (Fred) Berg; grandchildren Lisa (Ryan) Schroeder, Kelly (Ben) Olsen, Laura Berg, John Berg, Katie Kirkhuff and 8 great-grandchildren. Those of us left behind are blessed to have had her in our lives. Looking back on the example she set to live fully, love deeply and be resilient, we thank God for her time with us.
Marge will be remembered in a private ceremony at Fort Snelling National Cemetery on Pearl Harbor Day December 7, 2020.