Margaret Virginia Wickes

WATERVILLE – Margaret Virginia Wickes, of Waterville, passed away peacefully on Nov. 3, 2020 at the age of 97, following a brief illness.

Margaret was born in Tung Hsien, China in 1923. Her parents, Fanny R. Sweeny and Dr. Dean R. Wickes, were Congregational missionaries. She attended North China American School through the 6th grade, returning by steamship to the United States in 1935 and attending public schools in Washington D.C. and Maryland.

She attended Swarthmore College and later Syracuse University where she earned a doctorate in anthropology. She held part-time teaching appointments at Syracuse University, Utica College, University of Maine at Augusta, and Colby College and was secretary of the Museum of Art at Colby College for 18 years, retiring in 1991.

Margaret served as Colby’s representative to the American Association of University Women. She participated for many years in Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area and in 1994 she was chosen their volunteer of the year. She served on the Board of Trustees of the Universalist-Unitarian Church of Waterville, including terms as secretary and president. She was active in the church choir, the Women’s Alliance, and the Evening Sandwich Program. Even during her final illness, she attended Zoom meetings of the church’s Women’s Group.

Margaret published poetry, short stories, and articles about local artists. She also wrote several novels depicting a young American girl’s early life in China and adjustment to life in the United States. Her hobbies included throwing pottery, sculpting, knitting, and designing-sewing Chinese motif jackets and one-of-a-kind teddy bears. She belonged to a mahjong group, a writer’s group, and a spirituality discussion group. Her cat, Chessie, lived with her for 25 years.

She is survived by her three children, Peter Gibbons, his wife Patricia of Kennewick, Wash., Alan Gibbons, his wife Katherine of Delray Beach, Fla., Stephanie McMahan, her husband Richard of Barre, Vt.; eight grandchildren, Julie Cramer of Tacoma, Wash., Becky Watson of Redmond, Wash., James Gibbons of Kent, Wash., Marie Johansing, of Kennewick, Wash., Benjamin Gibbons of Boise, Idaho, Matthew Gibbons of Madbury, N.H., Adam Gibbons of Dover, N.H., Michael McMahan of Waldwick, N.J.; and 15 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her sisters, Alice Barclay of Washington, D.C., and Eleanor Waldrop of Silver Spring, Md.

An online memorial service will be held on Dec. 5, 2020, at 2 p.m.; details are available at

Memorial donations can be made to the

Universalist-Unitarian Church of Waterville

P.O. Box 435

Waterville ME 04901 or to

Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area

304 Main St.

Waterville, ME 04901

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