The woman, beside the man, behind the name…

Marjorie Florence Abbott (Photo provided by daughter Sally Nichol)

Wendell & Marjorie Abbott (Photo provided by daughter Sally Nichol)

by Tina Cole-Mullins

Marjorie (Marge) Abbott (1910 – 2013)

Marjorie Abbott of the Abbott & Fillmore Agency, was born on Friday the 13, May 1910 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Raised as a child by her grandparents her family migrated back and forth between Toronto and Detroit throughout her childhood; her grandfather a carpenter by trade following the work.

Marge graduated from the Detroit Business Institute in 1932; with her degree she secured a position as executive secretary for Socony (Mobil) Oil Company. At the age of twenty-one she began the five year process of obtaining American citizenship. Shortly after beginning her citizenship process Marge met Wendell Abbott and married in 1935. In a time when it was not deemed proper for a wife to work, Marge hid her marriage from her employer.

Early on in their marriage the Abbott’s relocated to Grass Lake, MI where their daughter Sally was born in 1942. In 1947 their home was destroyed by fire, it was at this time they made their way to Stockbridge, and their home at the corner of Elm and Clinton St. where they remained the rest of their lives and their daughter Sally now resides.

The purchase of this home was selected for the fact it had a side office with entrance for their new business; a Secretary of State’s office they opened the same year. This began Abbott’s business, selling of license plates at a time when it was still a private entity not overseen by the state. Just as we now have a tax day the purchase of a license plate had to be done by February 28th, and was an extremely busy month with customers often coming late into the nights.

Gradually the business grew adding the real estate and insurance sales to the business; with Marge already a partner Ron Fillmore was asked to join as a third partner, introducing the local community to and founding The Abbott & Fillmore Agency Inc., moving the business to the now historic stone building; on Main St. of which it still remains one of the oldest towns businesses still in operation outside that of farming.

Beyond her business career Marge was a published author in short stories and light verse, including The Wall Street Journal. An avid traveler she visited every state other than Alaska; with her travels taking her beyond the United States to such places as Italy, Germany, Portugal and the Mediterranean.

Beyond her travels Marge was an accomplished violinist performing with The Jackson Symphony Orchestra. Along with her husband the couple shared the love of Square Dancing of which they were known throughout the community. Her community interest and sponsorship did not stop there, but carried her throughout her life with several social and historical groups such as founding member and sponsor of the Waterloo Farm Museum.

While on travels throughout the states “down south somewhere Wendell and I were out in the middle of nowhere when a man stopped us at a crossroad, we waited for some time unsure of why until a runner came by carrying the Olympic torch.” This time and story often led to another story close to her heart and often shared fondly. of her only sibling and younger sister lost at the young age of eighteen to tuberculosis; while in training in swimming for the Olympics.

In 2010 Marge celebrated her 100th birthday of which her family hosted a midday lawn party at her home of which many family and friends attended from near and far it was a great day for a “Centurion Celebration of Life” well honored, what a full and truly extraordinary life “My Lady” lived. My Lady as I fondly call her, because she carried herself as one of the finest ladies I have ever had the honor to meet. Marge was laid to rest in February 9, 2013 a few months short of her 103rd birthday.

(authors note: these are first hand accounts shared with me throughout my years as her personal companion and caregiver.)

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