December 12, 1929 – September 30, 2022. Margaret Hubbard Townsend, 92, of Chevy Chase, MD, passed away on September 30, 2022 at Brighton Gardens of Friendship Heights with her family by her side. Margaret, affectionately known by her nickname “Marky,” was born on December 12, 1929 in Clinton, NC, to Grace Kathleen (Finley) Hubbard and James Linwood Hubbard.
An only child who lost both parents by age 19, Margaret was graced by boundless encouragement and love from her aunt and uncle, Ruth and Herman Walker of Morganton, NC who supported her academic pursuits. After graduating in 1946 from Clinton High School, and then receiving an associate degree from Peace College in Raleigh, Margaret earned a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and a Master of Science in Anatomy and Physiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Later, she studied Biochemistry and Microbiology at Yale University and Columbia University.
Stars aligned when Margaret got a job at New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Hospital, as it was there that her future mother-in-law, beguiled by Margaret’s intelligence, warmth and Southern charm, introduced her to her son, Peter Maverick Townsend. Margaret and Peter were married within the year in 1960, holding their wedding reception in “Aunt Ruth” and “Uncle Herman’s” backyard. After first settling in Rock Hill, SC, where they welcomed their first-born, Sara, they moved to New Jersey, first Newark and then Summit, expanding their family with the births of Laurie and then Jim.
Widowed tragically in 1973, Margaret modeled courage and dignity as she became the bedrock for her children, who remained, even until her passing, the focus of her redefined life.
Margaret was inspired in 1975 to move the family to an experimental mixed-income community on Roosevelt Island in New York City, sending her children to public schools on the Island and working in Manhattan at Cornell Medical School. After relocating to Morganton, NC, to support her widowed aunt, she had homes in Summit, NJ, and Carrboro, NC, before settling in Chevy Chase, MD.
Margaret, who followed politics avidly and read the New York Times devotedly, shared with her children her love of current events. She regularly brought her kids to operas and symphonies at Lincoln Center and Broadway plays and exhibits on the Museum Mile. She spent her last decades traveling in Europe, Asia and throughout the US, doting on her grandchildren and sating her curiosity for other cultures.
A lifelong ardent progressive Democrat who participated in various marches from anti-Nuke rallies in the 1980s to the March on Washington in 2017, she actively campaigned for Democratic political candidates, including her son’s election to the Michigan House of Representatives.
Humanitarian outreach was a guiding principle throughout her life; her generosity of time and spirit was evident in her dedication to assist the underprivileged and those experiencing food insecurity.
Margaret’s memory will be cherished by her three children Sara Poumerol (Gilles) of Divonne-les-Bains, France; Laurie McWright (Glen) of Silver Spring, MD, and Jim Townsend (Jennie Breitmeyer) of Royal Oak, MI. She will be dearly missed by her grandchildren: Claire Poumerol, Luc Poumerol, Jack Townsend, Will Townsend, Megan McWright and Peter McWright. In addition to a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends, she is survived by her sister-in-law, Janet Townsend of Princeton, NJ, and her cousin-cum-sister Beatrice Finley McFadden of San Antonio, Texas.
The Family is especially grateful to Roy Fried, MD and Wendy Wang de Silva, GNP of Premiere Senior Care and the dedicated staff of Brighton Gardens of Friendship Heights for their tender care.
A memorial service is planned for Saturday, October 8 at 11:00 am at Grace Episcopal Church, 1607 Grace Church Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a tribute/memorial donation to a cause close to her heart, fighting homelessness and food insecurity, by supporting an organization such as So Others Might Eat (SOME) at https://some.org/donate/ .