Margaret I. Wiggins, a retired longtime Baltimore public schools secretary who was an active member for more than seven decades of Enon Baptist Church, died Feb. 25 from progressive dementia at the Augsburg Lutheran Home and Village in Lochearn, where she had lived for the past year. The former Randallstown resident was 91.
Margaret Irene Wiggins, daughter of Willie Wiggins, a janitor, and his wife, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised in Sandtown-Winchester.
“Margaret often reflected with fondness childhood memories, pointing out bakeries, schools and drugstores whenever she rode through the old neighborhood,” said a niece, Karen Lynne Kalu of Randallstown.
Miss Wiggins was a 1947 graduate of Frederick Douglass High School and Cortez Peters Business College and studied at Morgan State University. After working as a private secretary to Circuit Judge Solomon Baylor, she went to work in the 1960s for Baltimore public schools at the old headquarters building on 25th Street for one of the deputy superintendents.
Miss Wiggins later left school headquarters and worked as a school secretary. “Margaret always had fascinating stories to tell about the students,” wrote Ms. Kalu in a biographical profile of her aunt. “She bonded with them and mentored them throughout the years until their graduation.”
She retired in 2009.
Miss Wiggins, who lived on Fairview Avenue before moving to the Augsburg Lutheran Home and Village a year ago, never learned to drive a car, walked everywhere and took public transportation. But that she didn’t drive didn’t hold her back.
“She walked blocks to catch the streetcar and later the bus. She walked every day and did that until she was in her late 80s,” her niece said in a telephone interview. “I remember when I sang with a group and we were doing a performance in Dundalk, and there she was in the audience. She had taken the No. 20 all the way there. You simply could find her everywhere.”
Miss Wiggins, who was known as “Barbie” or “Bobbie,” was a world traveler, a pursuit she shared with her sister, Gladys Davis, who lives in Pikesville. She traveled to the Caribbean Islands, Cuba, Alaska and Europe.
“They were like two peas in a pod,” her niece said.
When her nieces and nephews were growing up, she took them to Disney World several times because she enjoyed the park as much as they did, Ms. Kalu said. She was also an inveterate fan of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, to which she took her nieces and nephews at the Civic Center, and was “truly heartbroken when they discontinued the elephants’ act,” Ms. Kalu said.
She regularly attended the Hampton Jazz Festival in Hampton, Virginia, and traveled to Trinidad to attend Caribbean carnivals. “She never missed an Artscape or Flower Mart and went to the Lexington Market every weekend,” her niece said.
“Margaret’s independence and vitality were something to marvel at,” her niece wrote. “She was very independent. You could see her everywhere and she exercised daily even into her 80s. She walked three flights of stairs and walked more than three miles every day.”
Miss Wiggins joined Enon Baptist Church in 1944 and for years was Sunday school secretary. She drafted her nieces and nephews to appear in Christmas and Easter pageants, rehearsed them and made sure they knew their lines.
A gifted baker, Miss Wiggins was known and admired for her pound cake, replete with lots of butter, which drew “praise and admiration from her nieces and nephews,” Ms. Kalu said.
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In addition to her sister and Ms. Kalu, she is survived by two other nieces, Cheryl Hicks and Robin Parke, both of Baltimore; great-nephews and a great-niece; and seven great-great-nephews and a great-great-niece.