Friday, March 6, 2009

Margaret Bamberger, 1938-2009

Margaret Bamberger

Margaret Campbell Bamberger passed away quietly in her sleep this morning, Friday, March 6, 2009. Early Wednesday, shortly after completing an exhausting month of cancer treatments, she fell asleep, never to awaken. A green burial will soon take place on the ranch that she loved so well. Attendance will be limited to immediate family and the ranch family.

Margaret was born December 13, 1938 in New Orleans. Over her seventy years, she was twice a wife, three times a mother, once a laboratory technician, repeatedly a crusader in environmental causes, periodically an artist shown and published, occasionally a writer, routinely an educator, and always a warm and generous friend to too many people to count.

She met and married J. David Bamberger in the early 1990s, and became an equal partner in the ongoing creation of the Bamberger Ranch Preserve as we know it today. She is credited with creating the ranch's educational programs and giving the ranch its credibility as an educational institution. The ranch became a routine destination for everything from groups of elementary school students, to university researchers. She won national awards for conservation, and had university awards, and even a middle-school greenhouse, dedicated to her. It was her idea to add the observation room to the design of "Bamberger's Folly", the largest artificial bat roost and observation facility ever created. With David's son, she named the structure, and in doing so officially added a new word to the English language: "chiroptorium".

She is survived by her husband J. David, sister Mary Greene of Paris, France, daughters Margie Crisp and Frances Sharp, son Chris Campbell, and numerous grandchildren as well as the thousands of people she touched over a richly-lived lifetime.

Margaret Bamberger was not merely a good person, but a person who did good. Thus her loss is felt doubly. There is, nonetheless, consolation to be found in the quality of her work - it is too good to be lost with her. The education programs she set in motion will be continued and grown by the dedicated members of the current ranch family, and those who will, in time, follow them. Margaret's impact will thereby be felt for generations to come, like the ever expanding ripples from a pebble dropped into cool, clean waters.

If you'd like to help Margaret's legacy live on, the family suggests contributions be made to the Margaret Bamberger Education Fund which she established in 2007. Donations can be mailed to:

Bamberger Ranch Preserve
2341 Blue Ridge Drive
Johnson City, TX 78636.


susan kirchman said...

We will all miss this wonderful human being so much! Tears should fall from the sky today, in her honor.

Chris W. Johnson said...

Goodbye Margaret. You changed my life.

Sallie said...

May you rest in peace, Margaret. I can see your spirit soaring above, flying free of your earthly pain. My thoughts and prayers are with your family. You will be greatly missed by all who knew you.

Susan Sander said...

No doubt in my mind that Margaret took flight with the first monarch i saw Friday, on the March winds to "cloud hidden, whereabouts unknown." I like to think that her heaven includes the dinosaurs and passenger pigeons - all the wonders that her brief stay on Earth did not include.

Lorilee said...

I am honored that I had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Bamberger. She will be greatly missed. My sympathy and blessings to her friends and family.

Anonymous said...

Godspeed, Margaret, our teacher and inspiration.

Jerry Gatlin said...

My wife and I have had the blessing of knowing Margaret for only a few months. Although we had spoken on the phone, our first time together was on her 70th birthday. I felt like I had known her for years after just a few hours with her that day. Her passion for life, learning, friends, and nature were just a few of the wonderful qualities we came to know during our brief friendship—one that we will cherish forever.

When my father passed away in Hawaii a couple of years ago, I had the honor of speaking at his memorial. In researching Hawaiian culture, I came across the meaning of Aloha that I'd like to share.

Aloha… most of us know that this means hello, and also goodbye in Hawaiian. It also means welcome, sharing, compassion, goodwill to all and I love you. But Aloha is much more than a word to the Hawaiian culture. It’s a way of life. The more powerful meaning is found in its direct translation, ha, meaning breath of life. It is considered the most heartfelt and sincere welcome—to share your life energy with another person. It is through Aloha that all other Hawaiian values have meaning. The spirit of Aloha affects everything we do, not so much in words, but in actions. To show you have aloha is from your actions and how you deal with things.

The spirit of Aloha was very much alive within Margaret. Margaret, thanks for sharing part of your life with us. You will truly be missed.

Aloha au ia 'oe, Margaret.

Frances Pfertner said...

Margaret, you were the best coworker I've ever had the pleasure of working with. Whenever I spot a "DYC" I will fondly think of you, which will be pretty much daily.

Mike Mecke said...

Margaret, we will all miss you very much and constantly thank you for making David's beautiful ranch an educational star in the Texas skies! Rest in peace and may God bless and comfort David and family.

Mike Mecke

Kimberly Kennard said...

Margaret, I am so thankful to have known you.

I was at the ranch when my grandmother passed away in 2007. I picked up Mary Kay's copy of "Earth Prayers" and just happened to open it up to a page with the following poem by Jocye Fossen. It brought me comfort then as it does now.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you wake in the morning hush
I am the swift, uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.

Margaret lives on in every Selah moment...

Nick and Louise said...

Texas will never be the same without Margaret… and neither will our lives! We are so terribly saddened! Our thoughts are with you David and with everybody else at the ranch.

Nick and Louise

Anonymous said...

This planet has lost a great, great human. My love to the family,

amy moreland - UT austin

Meg said...

Tears fall for you today Margaret- tears of sadness but also of joy and celebration of what a truly remarkable life you lived and how many people you inspired. It was a blessing to have known you!


Monique in TX said...

I only got to meet Margaret once, but once was enough to know what a special person she was, and what a special place she has in the natural history of Texas. She will be missed.

Monique Reed, botanist
Texas A&M

Anonymous said...

Few people make such a profound impression on so many others. Margaret, you dear, were one of the few. I and all who knew you are blessed... our lives richer for knowing you. I'll cherish our days teaching at the Nature Center and hiking around on the ranch. God speed Margaret... no doubt you are teaching on the other side.

J David my thoughts and prayers are will you!


Amy Rader said...

to David, Margie & Bill,
We are so saddened to lean of Margaret's passing. We feel very fortunate to remember her during a much happier time. May your memories also be of happier times as we believe this is what she would have wanted. She is in a better place now. No pain, no suffering. Her positive spirit will live on. We wish we could be there for the memorial but cannot attend. Our prayers are with you and your family. Love, Amy, Ed & Bunker on Cape Cod

Anonymous said...

To David, her children and the Selah Ranch family,
What an honor and privilege it was to meet Margaret and share with her the love she had for a place that was so close to my heart as a child. She was a true visionary and land steward and helped transform the land alongside David with her passion and love of nature. My heart goes out to each of you at this time of loss. Her love and compassion for all she believed in will live on in the hearts of those she loved and in the land she loved and nurtured so dearly.
Eliza Duncan

Cammie said...

The staff and students of LBJ Middle School in Johnson City want to express their sympathy to your family. Many of our students enjoyed visiting the ranch and are thankful Mrs. Bamberger helped restore the land. We appreciate the work she did and the work her family and friends continue to do on the ranch. The heritage she left for us all will always be remembered.

Cammie Ockman
LBJMS Principal

Emily said...

Dave, I'm so sorry about Margaret. I did not know her well, but I heard her praises sung by those who did. I just wanted you to know that you are loved and in my prayers and thoughts. Your good works included giving my sons such a precious place to grow up. I can never thank you enough for that. Selah is such a blessing to us all, and Margaret was obviously a big part of it!
Love, Sheryl Lenz Cardwell

Anonymous said...

I just learned of Margaret's passing. She leaves a huge hole for us to fill. I send love and light to David and all those who knew her best.

Anonymous said...

Mike and I remember the wonderful day that we spent at Selah with Margaret and David. We remember her joking and laughing and how proud she was of the achievements of all who contributed to life at the ranch. Our thoughts are with you as you mourn the passing of such a special person.
Mike and Marion Mann, Cape Town South Africa

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Cheryl said...

I saw this was still on my screen so I do not recall if it was sent.
I hope this is not a duplicate copy.

Dearest Margaret, Thank you so much for your friendship, writings, artwork and shared kinship with nature. You are still with us. Thank you for the sacred places and times of pause you and David created. And for lost waters that flow again. Since the early 1990s my life has been blessed to travel along side with you and our other TEA Informal Science Education friends. We both met wonderful men and remarried about the same time. Thanks to you there are many more people in Texas who share a kinship with nature than before. I'm very sad about your illness and passing. I send out many heartfelt blessings and prayers in your memory to your family and for our Earth.

I dedicate this poem to Margaret Bamberger:

Save our Trees, Save our Waters.

These we leave our sons and daughters.

Teach them well, from the heart.

The laws of nature, we are part.