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Margaret Beckett Vance
Our beloved mother, Margaret Beckett Vance, 87, of Sylacauga, Alabama, lost her battle with Alzheimer’s on Monday, January 22, 2024 in Mansfield, Texas. Known for her infectious smile, quick wit, and lively laugh, she loved to play bridge, travel and most of all, spend time with her family and friends. A voracious reader, Margaret believed in the power of education to change a life. She aspired to do whatever she could to raise up the people around her, to help them to make the best of themselves and their lives. Some of her happiest days were watching her children and grandchildren earn a college degree. Two services will be held in celebration of Margaret Vance. The first service will be held on Saturday, February 10th at 11AM at the Arlington Women’s Club located at 1515 W Abram St, Arlington, TX 76013. Attendees will be invited to share their favorite memories of Margaret at the service. The second service will be held on Saturday, February 17th at 11AM at The First Baptist Church of Sylacauga located at 10 South Broadway, Sylacauga, AL 35150. Attendees will once again be invited to share their favorite memories of Margaret at the service. She was born Margaret Ann Beckett, the oldest of four children, to T. Eldridge Beckett and his wife Tommye P. in the small town of Sylacauga, Alabama. Bright and vivacious, Margaret attended Sylacauga High School where she served as her freshman class treasurer and participated in the FHA, Thespian, and Glee Clubs. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she studied Education at Auburn University. She married the love of her life, William “Bill” Vance, Jr., whom she met while she was in college and he was in the army at Fort Benning, GA. They married in the winter of 1956 and made the first of many moves to Chicago, Ill. where she supported his dreams to work in television news. Throughout the years, as they moved from town to town, Margaret created warm and inviting homes while joining church and community activities. Highlights include serving as president of the League of Women Voters in New Jersey, being part of the Arlington Women’s Club in Texas, and working with various women’s shelters in Ohio. Together with Bill, she raised two children, shared a love of playing bridge and discussing history, and remained happily married for 48 years until Bill’s passing in January 2005 (Arlington, TX). Soon afterward, Margaret returned to the red clay of Alabama to be near her siblings. She spent more than 10 years living in Huntsville, AL; going to the symphony with friends and family, and, of course, playing bridge, before returning to the Dallas/Fort Worth area in 2017. Professionally, Margaret worked many jobs to help put her children through college: a teacher, a job placement counselor, and a trainer for the state of Ohio to name a few. But the job she most loved was as a fundraiser for the American Red Cross. She had volunteered for the Red Cross at Sylacauga High School only, years later, to become its Director of Development for the state of Louisiana. She earned much recognition plus a job offer to go to the nation’s capital, Washington DC. Instead, she chose to return to Texas to work in the Fort Worth chapter so she could be near her grandchildren, Ryan and Kristin, while they were growing up. She officially retired from the American Red Cross in the early 2000s. Margaret was preceded in death by her husband, William L. Vance; her parents, T. Eldridge Beckett and Tommye; brother, Thomas E. Beckett, Jr; sister Martha V. Beckett and brothers-in-law, J. Winston Abernathy and Howard Thorson. She is survived by her children, Thomas Vance (Sandra) and Suellen Vance; grandchildren, Ryan Vance and Kristin Barnes (Kameron); great grandchildren, Kinsley and Kayden Barnes; sister, Mary Tom Abernathy; sisters-in-law, Donna Beckett Campbell and Gloria Thorson; nieces, Shelley Halter (Bill), Annamarie Lasseter, and Nancy Thorson; nephews, James Abernathy, Trey Beckett (Jennifer), Howard Thorson (Kathy), David Thorson (Cheryl); along with many cousins and close friends from across the miles. The family would like to thank everyone for their kindness during this time. We’ve received so many messages of support and love for which we are grateful. We would also like to thank the many caregivers that watched over Margaret these past few years. We are eternally grateful. Lastly, we ask that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the American Red Cross or the Alzheimer’s Association.
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  1. I played bridge with Margaret in Huntsville for many years. She overheard another bridge player, Dolores Vance, who was discussing a recent hand at a nearby shop, she introduced herself, and they discovered their husbands had a distant relationship. It was a true Southern conversation, and both Vances did become partners. Margaret was funny and held astute opinions. I am so sad this terrible disease took her.

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