Margaret Carmichael Walden, 88, died peacefully on May 20, 2021. She was born in New Jersey May 11, 1933, to Leonard and Delia (Grout) Carmichael. She moved with her family to Southampton, Massachusetts, May 1, 1941, proudly rounding the town’s population to 1,000.
Graduating salutatorian from Westfield High School in 1952, she then attended The Liverpool College of Art in England where she was able to reconnect with extended family. She arrived in time to enjoy the coronation festivities and found artistic inspiration in her European travels. She returned several times, eventually with her husband. She worked for Eaton Paper Corporation for seven years in Pittsfield MA and joined The Berkshire Town Players where she met her husband, William ”Bill” C. Walden. They married June 8, 1963 before moving to Philadelphia Pennsylvania, where their first two daughters were born and Bill attended Westminster Theological Seminary. They moved again to Southampton in 1968, where their five daughters grew up.
Margaret descended from a long line of artisans, including William Carmichael, who built the frame for The Light of the World by William Holman Hunt in St. Paul’s Cathedral. Her parents were also artists, and she was known for designing the Southampton town seal with her father. Margaret started her own commercial art business during her husband’s time in seminary, taking on occasional commissions including designing the 1975 Bicentennial Plate for Southampton and a mug celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Southampton Mother’s Club. She helped create the Mother’s Club float for the town’s Bicentennial, and with the Mother’s Club organized private kindergarten until Southampton supported public kindergarten. She worked as a correspondent for several years for The Daily Hampshire Gazette, writing columns of community interest, and taught art at Valley Christian School. She volunteered with the Women’s Club, Mother’s Club, Hampshire Regional School Committee, Southampton Historical Society, Southampton Republican Party, Holyoke League of Arts, and many other organizations. Three years ago, Debra Dunphy honored her with a portrait for being the longest member of the Holyoke League of Arts. In 2020, during the pandemic, she assisted registrars in verifying voting machines operational accuracy.
Ever creative, Margaret was a loving wife and mother, who encouraged her children in cultural activities, sports, and church, as well as raising them to be independent. She helped with set designs, scouting and church projects. Her Easter banner at College Church in Northampton is exquisite. She was an involved grandmother, who enjoyed spending time with her many grandchildren. She loved that five grandchildren lived in town, but she also attended whatever plays, games, and concerts she could with her grandchildren in Arizona and Nevada. Margaret was a true extrovert and viewed everyone as a potential friend.
Margaret is preceded in death by her parents and son-in-law, Joseph McCormick. She is survived by her husband Bill, her daughters Ruth McCormick (fiancé Casey O’Gara), Esther (Jeff) Clark, Joanna (Michael) Torla, Elisabeth “Liz” (Steve) Bennett, and Rebecca (Clay) Cates, and her grandchildren Nathan, Jacob and Isaac Clark, Jessica, James and Christopher Torla, Grayson and Helen Bennett, William, Weston and Tessa Cates, and brother David Carmichael. She cared very much for her extended family and was especially close to her cousin Cynthia Carmichael, niece Christina Clark, and nephew Todd Coxe.
Margaret loved flowers, so they may be sent to Mitchell Funeral Home or College Church. Anyone wishing to honor her life and service to her community may also donate to Clearway Clinic in Springfield. Calling hours will be Wednesday, May 26, 5:00-7:00 PM. at the Mitchell Funeral Home, 15 Park St. Easthampton. Funeral will be 10:00 AM Thursday, May 27 at College Church 58 Pomeroy Terrace, Northampton. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family.
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