Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday's Obituary : Dr. Margaret S. Chew

Today's obituary is of Dr. Margaret S. CHEW, my paternal 2nd cousin twice removed.  I came across it during a Google search for key names relating to the Chew family.


La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconisn, Thursday July 17, 2003 [online]


Dr. Margaret S. Chew


Dr. Margaret Sarah Chew, 93, of La Crosse passed away Sunday, July 13, 2003, at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse.


Margaret was born in Evanston, Ill., Aug. 20, 1909, on the Northwestern University campus to Nathaniel Durbin and Nettie Jane (Trumbauer) Chew, where her father was a seminary student.  She lived in Korea with her family from age 3 months to 7 years as her father was a missionary until they returned to Evanston, where she graduated from Evanston High School in 1926.  


Northwestern University recognized her work with a bachelor of science degree in 1930, and a master's in geography in 1936.  She was granted a Ph.D. from Clark University in Worcester, Mass., in 1960, having received an educational loan from PEO Chapter AL in La Crosse and also a Fellowship on two separate occasions during the ensuring years of study.  Her Ph.D. dissertation was "Urban Service Areas" showing how to map the influence of a middle size city in its surrounding area using La Crosse as an example.  The Greater La Crosse Chamber of Commerce published the maps and a major part of the dissertation in 1961 and included this publication in its bid for La Crosse being selected an All American City.  The city won the honor in 1966 and the then-Mayor Loveland gave Dr. Chew a key to the city of La Crosse, which was presented to the officials in Anchorage, Alaska, which also won that year.


Her high school teaching experiences included mathematics, history, geography and women's physical education at Iron Belt High School in 1930; social studies and women's physical education at Haven Intermediate School in Evanston.  The opportunity to teach geography began at New York State College, Buffalo, College of St. Teresa, Winona, Minn., and an initial summer (1945) appointment at La Crosse State College.  She continued to teach geography and earth science at La Crosse from 1945 to 1979, serving as chairwoman of the department from 1952 to 1965.


Dr. Chew ran the first field trip experiences at UW-L for the Wisconsin geography classes with an airplane field trip over the Coulee Region.  Three students at a time were taken after approval from their parents and class preparation.  Later Granddad's Bluff, the U.S. Conservation Farm and Devils Lake were added to the field offerings that the faculty in geography provided for students.  In 1946, Dr. Chew began offering tours around the world for teachers taking summer school courses.  They had to be three weeks in length with required readings and papers.  Her tours covered five continents and most of the countries of the world.  She traveled on her own to the other two continents and the South Pacific.  Many others, e.g. doctors, farmers, engineers also joined her.  She became La Crosse's ambassador to the world.


The last travels were in 1989, at the age of 80, when she visited Easter Island, Pitcairn, French Polynesia, Solomon Islands and Fuji.  Because she was an excellent photographer, the pictures and slides she took and her delightful educational way of presenting programs, found her a popular and often sought-after speaker.  Her special services to the college and university included many important committees including the responsibility of the selection of students for scholarship, faculty senate, and president of the La Crosse State College Foundation (1954-1979).  Building committee memberships included the Florence Wing Library, Cowley Hall and Cowley Annex.  In addition, she advised numerous student groups such as Delta Zeta and the Wesley Foundation.  Her records and photos are included in the anniversary of Wesley United Methodist Church this year.


Margaret was an active member of many organizations throughout the community and state.  She was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Geographical Society.  Other memberships included the American Association of University Women, National Council on Geographic Education and Lutheran Auxiliary and PEO Chapter AL to name only a few.  She was recognized as a person who enjoyed people and places and loved sharing this joy with all who came to hear and see the programs and lectures she freely gave.  Her travels throughout the world made her "a traveler of the world and an educator exceptional."  All who knew her have many wonderful memories.


She is survived by a niece, Ms. Carol Crabbs of Evanston; and a nephew, Terry (Paula) Crabbs of Kansas City, Mo.


Her parents, a sister, Elizabeth Crabbs, and a brother, Nathaniel Jr., preceded her in death.


Memorial services will be Monday, July 21, at 3 p.m., from Wesley United Methodist Church, 721 King St., La Crosse.  The Rev. Donald Iliff will officiate. Burial will be in the family plot in Caledonia, Mich.  There will not be a visitation.  Memorials in lieu of flowers may be directed to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Foundation for the Margaret Chew Scholarship or Wesley United Methodist Church, La Crosse for the Margaret Chew Memorial.  Woodruff-Jandt Funeral Home, La Crosse, is in charge of arrangements.






Sunday’s Obituary – if you have obituaries of family members and ancestors, consider posting them along with other information about that person as part of Sunday’s Obituary. This is an ongoing series developed by Leslie Ann at Ancestors Live Here.
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