A Tribute to a Remarkable Woman

A Tribute to a Remarkable Woman

by Kit Latcham

Contributed by Jeff Congdon, who writes: "I started to go through an envelope of my late uncle's (Charles Whipple) and came across the ... article [below]." (Jeff's original submission.)

Although many friends in Boston called her Margo, to us she was always Marguerite. Her name was Marguerite Whipple Stoddard. Her parents were Edgar and Lillian (Whipple) Stoddard and she was born in Portsmouth, N.H., descended from the Pages, Tenneys and Whipples. All of English descent.

When Miss Stoddard's desk was recently emptied, I came across a little booklet entitled: "The One Hundredth Birthday of Achsah Page Whipple: June 28th, 1886." It was printed to record the happenings celebrating the one hundredth birthday of Achsah Page Whipple, an ancestor of Miss Stoddard. It was a large gathering of family and friends. There were speeches, poems celebrating the event and read by their composers. "The literary exercises were interspersed with music by the Dumbarton Cornet Band," also by a choir under the direction of Col. S. B. Hammond. During the proceedings there was a long speech by a member of the family, Professor J. H. Gilmore of the University of Rochester. He recounted much of the history of the Page family and the Tenneys. William Tenney married Elizabeth Page and one of their children was the ancient heroine of the occasion: Achsah Page Whipple. During his speech, Professor Gilmore went on to mention another member of the family, William, Whipple, who was a member of the Continental Congress and a signer of The Declaration of Independence and a brigadier general in command at Saratoga; while Abraham Whipple led the expedition that, so early as 1772, burned the Gaspee in Narragansett bay and attained the rank of commodore during the Revolution. Such was the background of Marguerite Whipple Stoddard.

In 1946 she was awarded a "Certificate of Appreciation" by the United States Navy Bureau of Navy Personnel "In grateful recognition of Meritorious Personal Service during the World War II." Also an "Award of Merit First Service Command, Army Service Forces, United States Army," saying: "This is in recognition of the outstanding service, industry and effort rendered by Miss Marguerite W. Stoddard in connection with the recruitment of women for the Women's Army Corps."

During World War II she also served two years as assistant educational director of the Thrift for New England. Then she had a year of investment publicity work among women for E. H. Rollins & Sons. She next installed and managed the first woman's department in any bank in Boston and had charge of personnel in the branch office. She served two years as assistant to the president of The Massachusetts Bay Tercentenary celebration, at the same time managing the office and personnel. She then joined Penn Mutual as personnel director, her chief work there being to procure new agents, both men and women.

Following her retirement, she lived in Falmouth quietly and happily for nearly 25 years.

Although her later years were clouded by much pain from a broken hip, arthritis and other infirmities, she faced it all with courage and integrity and a great determination to maintain a nearly normal life.

She died December 8th, 1979, a truly remarkable, gallant women and my friend.