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In Honor Of Margaret

Written by Executive Director, Bob Schloss

Two months ago, after leaving the assisted living center into which Margaret Hadley had recently moved, I walked into the parking lot, opened my car door, sat down in the driver’s seat, and cried. Margaret would live another two months, passing away peacefully on Saturday, March 1st, 2014, but it was very clear to me on that brisk January day, that at the age of 92, the winter season of Margaret’s earthly life was coming to an end. 

On a couple of occasions I told Margaret that she was one of the “founders” of New Song. After all, in the early days of New Song—when our supporters numbered in the dozens and not the hundreds (we now have 3,600 supportive friends on our mailing list, praise God!)—Margaret’s substantial financial contributions played a large role in helping us purchase those 100 beautiful, Brown County acres for the children we will soon serve. 
She’d chuckle at the “founders” comment, deflect the attention by talking about how important all of our other supporters are, and express her gladness at being able to be part of the ministry. But I do think it pleased her to know that she was of significant help. 

I appreciate so much Margaret’s kids, Sylvia, Cathy, and Alton so graciously and understandingly sharing their mom with me over the last 13 years. I am thankful for their trust in me with this special friendship, which went much deeper than a benefactor and a ministry director. Each of Margaret’s kids carries with them the very best of her many admirable qualities, which include a genuine humility and a caring concern for others. Just a few days before Margaret passed away, she told me that her family heritage was one of the most important things to her in her long-lived life. That heritage is in very good hands, it seems to me.   

Margaret was a good friend, and that’s a pretty special thing. She deeply cared about me, and all of those who were blessed to cross her path. I thoroughly enjoyed the many hours we spent sitting and talking in the front room of the century-old farmhouse in which she was born and still lived. Sometimes we’d just look out the window at the flat grain fields in the distance, enjoying the peace of the moment and one another’s company. Someone once said that “Home is where you are loved.” I always felt at home at Margaret’s.  

The image of Christ Jesus comes to mind when I think about Margaret Hadley. She loved the Lord Jesus, having grown up Quaker from her earliest of days, participating in weekly bible studies, and playing the piano for 50 years at Dover Friends Church near Wilmington, Ohio. Margaret walked humbly with her God, living out the image of Christ in her daily life’s walk. I experienced quite a bit of Jesus when I was with Margaret. 

Philippians 2:3-4 says, we are to “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”  I think that verse epitomized Margaret’s walk of faith. Her deep concern and compassion for children resulted in a correspondingly great degree of generosity toward causes that helped them, including New Song Mission. 

In honor of Margaret’s great faith—a faith that resulted in substantial acts of generosity toward the ministry—we were blessed to name one of the two New Song roads “Faith Lane” in her honor. A plaque honoring Margaret’s legacy at New Song is solidly affixed to the Faith Lane road sign, and will remain there throughout the many years ahead. Children of New Song will read the plaque as they pass by, and they’ll hear the stories about the wonderful woman named Margaret Hadley from Clinton County, Ohio—stories of compassion, faith and generosity. Kids from a variety of ages, races, and backgrounds will receive the healing, love, and wholeness they need, just as Margaret wanted. And, I know, as you want too. Your generosity toward New Song is no less important than hers. She would want me to tell you that, and it’s certainly true.

Thank you Margaret, for the tremendous impact that your kindness and love has had on my heart. I will cherish your friendship forever. And I’ll be sure to tell all the New Song kids about you.