A School’s Namesake

She was my sister, Deirdre’s God-mother and our neighbor across the street when we were growing up. She was also a teacher for nearly 34-years and the member of a Del Norte County pioneer family.

By 1964 she had retired from teaching elementary school and when the flood raced through the town of Klamath that same year, the school, Klamath Union was renamed in her honor. Today Margaret Keating School holds classes for students from kindergarten to sixth grade.

For years, her picture hung in the hallway between the office entrance and the nurse’s station at the school. It’s since been taken down and never replaced – which is ironic as she was a strong proponent for educating local Native American children in both the way of the “Anglo,” as she put it, and in “their own long and colorful” history.

Born Margaret Elizabeth Morrison in 1895, she and her brother, Hadley grew up in Del Norte County, on the outskirts of Crescent City. By 1916, Margaret was a 21-year-old teacher, living in Crescent City and is even listed as a Democrat in the “Index to The Great Register of Del Norte County, California.”

She married William Keating and moved to Klamath, but was left a widow by his death in 1947, and never remarried. Afterwards, she devoted her time to her Catholic faith and to collecting Indian artifacts and finding homes for them in museums like “The End of the Trail,” at the Trees of Mystery.

She eventually moved from the home on the corner of Redwood and Azalea Drives’ in the mid-to-late 1970 s, to Eureka in order to be closer to her family. I saw her one last time in July of 1979, shortly before shipping out for F. E. Warren AFB, in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

It’s in Eureka where she passed away April 17th, 1985 and is interred at St. Bernard’s Catholic Cemetery. All that’s remains of her memory are a few pictures, an obituary from the Times-Standard and the school — which for the time being — still retains her name.

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