Margaret  Durst
Margaret Durst
Margaret Durst

June 26, 1924 - January 14, 2020
Born in Iowa
Resided in West Des Moines, Iowa
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Margaret Walk Durst passed away January 14, 2020 at Edgewater Wesley Life Community in West Des Moines, Iowa. A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, January 25 at 10:00 in the Performing Arts Center at Edgewater Wesley Life Community.

Margaret Walk Durst was born June 26, 1924 in Grafton, Iowa to Herman and Anna Wilhemina Walk. In the style of 1924 journalism, the following notice appeared in the Northwood Anchor at the time of her birth. She specifically requested that this be shared at her memorial service.

“Born to Mr. and Mrs. Herman Walk last Thursday, a little suffragette of standard weight and super quality. This little lady and her mother are doing well. Mrs. Anderson of Lyle, MN is acting as nurse and Miss M. Gillerman is attending to the needs of the little family. This makes two sons and one daughter in the family and it will now take Herman a considerable time in making his choice of dry goods in order to find something fine enough for the little lady and we wish her long life and prosperity and of love we are sure she will have no lack.”

Those wishes were certainly fulfilled. Margaret lived 95 years, experienced many blessings and shared her love in so many ways. Family members and friends, old and new, were her passions.

Margaret joined two brothers, Armond and Kenneth. She was eight years younger than Kenneth and 17 years younger that Armond. These brothers did not particularly appreciate a baby sister. In fact, Kenneth told his Aunt Rosa that he would have preferred a horse. The oddity of this is that on the day of his death, Kenneth had written a most interesting letter to Margaret that he was eternally grateful that she wasn’t a horse. He then passed away of a heart attack exiting the post office. Eventually these age differences melded.

Margaret’s early education was in the Grafton, Iowa public schools. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Iowa. While there, in addition to an education, her life was enriched by her many extra-curricular activities. She was president of Alpha Delta Pi for one and a half years and the YWCA her senior year, a member of Delta Phi Alpha honorary and a member of Mortar Board.

After graduation and in July 1946, she married Dr. Mark Durst who was then a Navy dentist. This had been a college romance. Because of Mark’s Navy service obligation, they were separated the first year of their marriage. Mark was on Okinawa and Margaret was employed at the Mayo Clinic. After his return, they began looking for a community with a dental practice. This was complicated by Margaret becoming seriously ill with diphtheria. A practice became available in Lake View, Iowa. Lake View became the home for the Durst family for the next 57 years.

Life in Lake View was a great experience. Black Hawk Lake offered many forms of activity. Margaret prepared fried chicken for Sunday dinner on the boat. She designed floats which were built for the Summer Carnival float parade on the lake. When questioned at the end of her life about any unfilled wishes, she commented, “I wish I could have water skied one more time and built one more float for the water parade.”

Daughters Thalya Ann and Rachel Ann were born there. Margaret served 35 years as a library trustee and was deeply involved in the Federated Woman’s Club, the Garden, Music and Drama departments, Legion Auxiliary, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, and Girl Scouts. She recounts with trembling that she and two friends took an entire Girl Scout troop to Chicago.

They continued their life in Lake View until 2004 when they moved to Clive, Iowa, to be near their families. While in Des Moines, Margaret enjoyed book clubs, bridge, events at the Des Moines Art Center and the Des Moines Symphony. She was a member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and PEO Chapter HX.

Margaret enjoyed the written word, both as an avid reader and a skilled writer. She was known for her tiny handwriting, but giant thoughts. Her wit and wisdom came through, whether she was writing a script for the Lake View Centennial, a grant to fund the Lake View Library, or a message of comfort for families and friends. Letter writing may be a lost art, but Margaret kept it alive. The number of letters she faithfully wrote was an act of friendship to many.

Margaret worried that the legacy she would leave to her grandchildren would be not typical. She would not be remembered as the grandma who sewed, knitted, and baked cookies. Her children and grandchildren didn’t care. They loved the fact that Grandma could be called during a cooking crisis, consulted for a fashion question, and depended upon as the “Queen of Asking Questions.” Her sense of humor and genuine interest in others was such a gift. She was not to be left behind in the world of technology, and while her vision permitted, she enjoyed using her computer.

Being a gracious hostess was important to Margaret. This even continued when she could no longer cook, arrange flowers, or orchestrate a dinner party. She wanted everyone to be comfortable and they were because of her genuine interest in her friends and family. In her birth announcement she was described as a “little lady.” This lady surrounded us all with her never ending love.

Survivors are her husband, Dr. Mark Durst; daughters Thalya Durst Hanson (Mark) and Rachel Durst Pick (Douglas); grandchildren Elizabeth Hanson Stephanou (James), Anne Pick Johnson (Chris), David Hanson (Christa), Andrew Pick (Kara), and Matthew Pick; great grandchildren Sophia Margaret Stephanou, Annalise Helen Stephanou, Eleanor Blair Hanson, Owen Miles Johnson, and Mae Amelia Pick; Niece Rose Marie Walk Friedrich (Bruce).

Margaret’s family wishes to thank all those who made such a difference in her life: friends, Edgewater staff, PEO sisters, Pastor Tim Phillips, Dr. Katherine Burns, and family. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Lake View Public Library, the Lake View Historical Museum, or the Margaret Durst Memorial.





Edgewater Retirement Community
9225 Cascade Ave.
West Des Moines, IA USA 50266
Saturday, January 25, 2020
10:00 AM - 10:30 AM
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