ONEONTA – Margaret Cunningham Hathaway, 91, an honored teacher in Oneonta, Laurens and New Jersey, died in her home on Aug. 10, 2018, surrounded by her family, following a long illness.
She was born on Aug. 29, 1926, Margaret Lucille Cunningham in Rochester, the daughter of M. Anne Hutchison and Wesley Yarwood Cunningham.
Her sister, Dr. Elizabeth Faris; brother-in-law, Dr. Art Faris; nephew, Christopher Faris; and longtime companion, William C. Manley, preceded her in death.
She is survived by her son, James T. Hathaway, Japan; daughter, Nan E. Hathaway, Vermont, daughter, Jeannette H. Monaco, Florida, daughter, Amy H. Gilbert, New York; her sons-in-law, William Gilbert, Israel Reinish and James M. Monaco; her grandchildren, Libby H. Reinish, Hannah H. Reinish, Yuki E. Hathaway Yokokawa, Sumi R. Hathaway Yokokawa, Yuma Yamana Hathaway, and Nayef Smith and his wife, Cheryl Smith; great-grandchildren, Miles Smith and Bryce Smith; great-great-grandchild, Levi Smith; and her sister’s children Thomas, Gregory and Ann Faris; and grand-nephew, Jaalid Faris.
Margaret (Peg) earned her BFA in 1948 and her MA in 1951 from Syracuse University, which included graduate study from the University of London, England in 1951. She was a proud member of the founding American chapter of Gamma Phi Beta sorority at Syracuse and received both the Delta Phi Roh award for arts education and the Edi Pi Epsilon award for academic success.
Peg was additionally honored with membership in the National Leadership Honor Society, SUNY Oneonta Circle, in recognition of conspicuous attainment and service in collegiate activities in 1996 and was a Honoris Causa member of Omicron Delta Kappa.
Peg taught art at both the primary and secondary levels, teaching at Oneonta Junior High School, Leonia Junior/Senior High School in Leonia, New Jersey and Laurens Central School for 19 years, where she was named teacher of the year in 1980, retiring in 1989 and beginning a scholarship for art soon afterwards. She was published in professional journals including “School Arts” and was an enthusiastic supporter of art education.
A talented watercolor artist, Peg was a member of a weekly figure drawing group, exhibited her work throughout the state and was honored by CANO (Community Arts Network of Oneonta,) by having a gallery named in her honor, the Hathaway Gallery at the Wilber Mansion, a building where she taught children’s art classes for many summers and which she marched to protect in 1964.
Peg was a devoted mother who encouraged all four of her children to pursue their passions and share their talents.
A self-described opera buff, Peg loved to attend both Glimmerglass Opera and performances at the Met. She also loved travel, camping, watercolor painting, gardening, playing bridge, reading, rooting for the New York Yankees and spending time with her children and grandchildren. An avid reader, Peg belonged to the Monday Night Book Club that has met continuously since 1956, more than 60 years.
Peg was dedicated to public service, working with other committed people to make a difference in her community. She served as a charter member of the Oneonta League of Women Voters, receiving accolades in 2008, (Personifies the LWVNYS) and served on the board of directors as voter service chair, action chair and three times as president of the league.
Peg served on the League of Women Voters of New York State board of directors as voter service director, moderated many league candidates nights, worked on the creation of publications “Facts for Voters” and “First Vote” and presented numerous community forums. She also served as the first vice-president of the Citizens Education Committee.
Additional volunteer work included serving as a member of the American Association of University Women and the Upper Catskill Community Council of the Arts board of directors. She also served on committees and councils, including serving as member and chair of the Oneonta Job Corps Center Community Relations Council, advisory board of the Oneonta Sexual Assault Network, LEAF (Leatherstocking Education Alcohol Foundation) and Planned Parenthood committee.
She served as a member and chair of the city of Oneonta Public Safety Board and for many years as a member of the town of Oneonta Zoning Board of Appeals and served as zoning board chair.
Peg attended the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta and served on the board of trustees, as a member and president of the board of directors and three times as church moderator.
Peg credited her grandmother for her public service and community involvement as her role model and remembered her being the only woman to hold elected office in the 1930’s. She was most proud of “raising four kids who are each fine adults also working to make a difference!”
At Peg’s request, there will be no funeral service. A memorial service will be held in her honor by her family at 2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 12, at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Ford Avenue in Oneonta.
In lieu of flowers, Peg asked that you make a donation to the charity of your choice or League of Women Voters of Oneonta Area, Community Arts Network of Oneonta, or the Unitarian Universalist Church.
To light a candle or send the family an online condolence please visit www.bookhoutfuneralhome.com.