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Margaret C. (Trott) Goerke

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Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 2:05 pm | Updated: 2:06 pm, Wed Jan 15, 2020.

Margaret C. (Trott) Goerke, 80, a longtime resident of Fort Davis, Texas, passed away peacefully at her home on Dec. 16, 2019 after a long illness. 

Margaret was born to Emil and Margaret (Kerr) Trott on April 15, 1939 in Iowa City, Iowa. She was the valedictorian at Iowa City High School in 1957, and attended the University of Iowa where she earned a Bachelors degree with Highest Distinction (1962) and a Masters degree (1965), both in Sociology.  She was awarded Phi Beta Kappa distinction.

After a short stint in teaching, Margaret settled into a life of working summers as a backcountry ranger in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in the Payette National Forest in Idaho. This is the largest contiguous wilderness in the Lower 48. A visit to Margaret required a three-day hike or flight by small aircraft. As a representative of the U.S. Forest Service, she served countless commercial outfitters, outdoor enthusiasts, and summer volunteers from her bases in Cold Meadows, Big Creek, and Chamberlain. She retired after 34 years, having left behind a legacy of tireless service.

Fort Davis, Texas was first her winter home, and then place of retirement for 50 years.  She loved the Fort Davis area for its rugged physical beauty, and most certainly for the warmth of its community and her many friends, especially the children.  She was actively involved in service at the Fort Davis Methodist Church, and a regular volunteer at Fort Davis National Historic Site.  

If you hadn’t met Margaret, you’ll probably have known her as the “bike lady.” She rode her bicycle everywhere, from Hoffman apple orchard to the state park, befriending all she met. All will remember her quick smile, kind voice, and selfless curiosity. She was always interested, and always caring.

Margaret is survived by her son John (Kris Kluseman) Rutherford and two grandchildren, Claire and Aaron, of Iowa City; her sister, Carolyn Macdonald of Kansas City, Missouri; her brother, Emil (Mari) Trott of Sterling, Colorado; and many nieces and nephews.

Her family owes their deepest gratitude to her care coordinator, Connie Cornett, and her multitude of loving caregivers. Margaret has donated her body for research to the School of Medicine at Texas Tech University in El Paso, Texas. 

A memorial service will be held at Fort Davis Methodist Church at 200 South Front Street, Fort Davis at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. A meal will be served after the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Fort Davis Methodist Church, P.O. Box 1439, Fort Davis, TX 79734.

Services have been entrusted to Alpine Memorial Funeral Home. 

Online condolences may be left at

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