Margaret Kathryn Bentzinger Gregory, aged 100, of Donnellson, Iowa died on March 30, 2023, at Addington Place Assisted Living of Ft. Madison, Iowa in the care of Southeast Iowa Regional Home Health Hospice. Her life began in the room where she, her siblings and her mother were born.
Her birth was on September 2, 1922, to Carl M. and Edna Jane (Benjamin) Bentzinger. She was preceded in death by her parents, her siblings and one niece: Richard Alvin Bentzinger, Rosalie Jane Bentzinger and Rhoda Lee Gregory Brown. She is survived by her daughter: Rosalie Jane Gregory Mills, and her son: Carl Richeson Gregory, and grandchildren: Jason Novell Mills, Jeanne-Jo Gregory, Brian and Kelly Gregory and Alan Gregory. Also surviving are nieces and nephews: Rebecca Bentzinger, Sarah Bentzinger Clarahan, John Bentzinger, Philip Bentzinger, David Gregory, Jr., Gabrielle Gregory Elliott, Janet Gregory Moore, Susan Gregory Hilldrup. She has nine great nieces and nephews.
Margaret was a graduate of Donnellson High School and Iowa Wesleyan College, and was a Licensed Practical Nurse.
In 1944, Margaret met the love of her life, Robert Todd Gregory, a Naval Academy graduate and Naval Aviator taking flight training in Ottumwa, Iowa where she was living. They married eight weeks later. Upon his death, they were married just short of 40 years.
Margaret accompanied her husband to duty stations until he was discharged from the Navy, and then to graduate schools at Iowa State, Florida State and the University of Illinois, where he completed his doctorate; then to professorships at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, in all of which he was a mathematician and computer science professor. Because of her faithful support of him in raising their children and overseeing their home during his schooling and throughout his teaching career, he was able to pursue a very successful and productive teaching, research, publishing and lecturing career.
Margaret accompanied her husband on sabbaticals where he did research, lectures and publishing in Switzerland, throughout Europe and Scandinavia, India, and Australia, and they travelled around the world together.
After her husband’s death, Margaret moved to Nashville, Tennessee with her sister, Rosalie; when Rosalie retired, they remodeled and moved back into their childhood home in Donnellson, where they lived until Rosalie’s death. Shortly thereafter, Margaret moved to Addington Place Assisted Living of Ft. Madison, Iowa.
Margaret was a member of PEO Sisterhood (of which she was the State President of Tennessee), Pi Beta Phi sorority, University Ladies’ Club and a faithful member of the Methodist and Baptist churches in the various places they lived. Margaret and her husband taught the college Sunday School classes in Santa Barbara and Austin and hosted the college students in their home on Sunday evenings. Margaret was an officer at a variety of levels of every organization with which she was involved.
After Margaret and Rosalie returned to Donnellson, Margaret joined the Garden Club, sang with the St. Barnabas Choir, and at her home church. She was a member of the United Methodist Women, sang in the church choir, served ice cream faithfully after church every Sunday, and she and Rosalie started and taught in the Kids’ Club.
Margaret and her husband attended the World Methodist Conference in Hawaii, and Margaret, her sister Rosalie and her daughter Rosalie Jane attended the World Methodist Conference in Nairobi, Kenya and traveled to several different countries on safari in Africa.
Margaret was devoted to her family and was the “eager mother” behind her son becoming an Eagle Scout. After her husband’s death, Margaret found a letter he had written to his brother (their grandfather had raised racing horses), saying that when he met Margaret, “I knew a thoroughbred when I saw one.” Margaret was indeed one amazing, remarkable woman.
Her body has been entrusted to the crematory of Schmitz Funeral Home for cremation.
The family is planning a Memorial Celebration for Margaret later this summer.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in her memory for the Donnellson United Methodist Church and can be mailed to the family at: Schmitz Funeral Home, P.O. Box 56, Donnellson, Iowa.
Schmitz Funeral Home of Donnellson is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.schmitzfuneralhomes.com.