New scholarship honors a grandfather’s generosity

Margaret says that her education in early childhood development was so meaningful that she wants the younger generation to benefit from such an education.

Margaret Wolcott Double

A 1940 graduate in home economics, Margaret Wolcott Double pursued her studies in anticipation of being a good wife and mother. She says that her education in early childhood development was so meaningful that she wants the younger generation to benefit from such an education, so she has established the Margaret Wolcott Double Endowed Scholarship in the College of Health and Human Sciences. The inaugural scholarship will be awarded during the college’s Celebration of Excellence on May 3, 2009.

It was her grandfather’s generosity that provided money after his death for Margaret to attend Oregon State College. She felt it was a luxury to be able to study and live at Kappa Delta sorority without worrying about expenses. “I remember that tuition was $33 per quarter,” says Margaret. “And I especially recall the practice house where home ec students performed housekeeping tasks, including caring for a baby, for six weeks.”

Her jobs after college included inspector of clothing in the mail order department of Montgomery Ward and ironing wedding dresses at Bedells in Portland. Her pay was $12 a week! Margaret and Charles Russell Double married in 1942. He worked for Bonneville Power Administration, and the newspaper announced “Margaret Wolcott Marries Dam Engineer.” “My husband called me a ‘home executive’ and didn’t want me to work,” she wrote in a note. Margaret also set up a scholarship in his honor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, his alma mater.

When their daughter, Lois, was young, Margaret was involved in Blue Birds and Camp Fire Girls. True to her home economics background, she was an accomplished seamstress and quilter, did needlepoint, and canned. She made dresses for Korean orphans and countless lap robes for friends and those in need. She and husband, Russ, always loved camping, Lawrence Welk, gardening, and traveling. He passed away in 1979, and Margaret continued to travel with groups — to New Zealand, China, the Arctic Circle, Europe, Canada, and Alaska. “I write up all I can remember and type it out — I have over 600 typewritten pages of my memories!”

She still travels in the West with daughter Lois Double Nobles, who graduated from OSU in 1969 with a math degree. Margaret moved to Medford in 2005 to be near Lois and her only granddaughter. Margaret is known by neighbors and friends as the lady who shares great homemade chocolate cupcakes. Each day she feeds the birds and often spends time corresponding with friends, school pals, overseas acquaintances, and relatives. She and Lois, known as the “Mom and Daughter Team” at the gym, occasionally volunteer around town. Her ever-blooming garden is a source of enjoyment. Her husband is probably smiling.