SEPTEMBER 29, 2010
D. Marguerite Lanham
Marguerite Lanham, longtime Cave Creek resident died August 3 in Boise, Idaho.
Marguerite’s father was a Kansas flatlander who migrated to Idaho, married the daughter of an affluent orchard-owning dairy farmer and managed the local sawmill. All went well until he discovered the Central Idaho wilderness area. In 1929 he quit his job and became a wildcat logger, relying on his hunting, fishing and logging skills to provide for his growing family. Times turned tough during the Great Depression.
At fourteen, Marguerite left the logging camps to attend high school, graduating in 1939. At seventeen she married Max Lanham of Cascade, Idaho. After World War II and the birth of two children they moved to Boise where Marguerite ran the Sky Room restaurant at Gowen Field and learned to fly, soloing in 1948 while Max built houses for post war families.
Marguerite’s creative skills made her an artist and writer; she built furniture, tanned elk hides, made clothing, kept the books, replaced shakes and shingles on their house, tended a garden, preserved the bounty and watched over her children. She was invited to join an AAUW writing group after winning first place in a short story contest sponsored by the Idaho governor’s wife. She blossomed in the company of these bright, articulate women.
After Max died in 1978 she wintered in Arizona and in 1984 moved to Cave Creek to be a second mom to grand daughter Amy Svitak. Marguerite became an ardent desert preservationist, active in the Cave Creek Improvement Association, desert awareness committee and the Desert Foothills Land Trust. She shared a love of horses with Amy, riding Rugby and Rainbow in the beautiful Sonoran desert. Son Judd built his mother a studio where she continued her artwork; her rock art paintings were sold in a Scottsdale gallery for many years. Pursuing an interest in Mayan culture, Marguerite at 79 traveled to Guatemala to explore Mayan ruins with granddaughter Britney. At 84 she enjoyed a last desert hike to the cave of Cave Creek.
Marguerite was a friend to children and animals. She was a woman of character who shaped her world with an iron will. She practiced “live and let live,” never said an unkind word about anyone and never, ever complained.
Preceded in death by all but one sibling, she is survived by her son Judd Max Lanham (Sandra Lyon) of Boise and daughter Susan Svitak, Cave Creek, AZ; three grand children and three great grandchildren. At her request Marguerite has been cremated and interred beside husband Max in the Star, Idaho cemetery. She would be pleased to be remembered on hikes to the Cave or the Elephant; or thought of during the Spring Wildflower Walks or on visits to the Jewel of the Creek (along with Geoffrey Platts, of course). Although she returned to Idaho in 2008, she kept the Sonoran Desert in her heart, as do we all.