Margaret Marie (Machala) Atwood

Born: Mon., Jul. 18, 1921
Died: Sat., Dec. 22, 2018


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Margaret Marie Machala was born July 18, 1921 in Houston, TX.  Her parents were John A. Machala and Anna Koci.  The Marchala and Koci families emigrated from Czechoslovakia through Galveston, TX around the turn of the century.  Her Grandfather Koci was a master carpenter and built the first Catholic Church in Wimar, TX.  Her father John Machala was a rice miller, a skilled trade, that kept John employed through the Depression.  Her mother, Anna was a saintly woman who taught herself oil painting and the accordion.  She raised all her six children through the most dire circumstances, save one Patrick, Margaret’s younger brother, who died in his mother’s arms of diphtheria.  

Margaret graduated from Reagan High School in Houston, TX and business school and received training in secretarial skills.  She was also an accomplished seamstress and played the violin.  As a young woman she was hit by a car that dragged her on its bumper for some distance, which left her with some disfigurement from a broken nose.  As an adult she endured surgery that broke her nose once again to straighten it.

She married William Warren Atwood and bore him two children, L. Thomas and Collene Marie.  The young couple moved to California where Warren was a skilled machinist at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, CA.  Margaret soon became pregnant with “Tommy”.  Margaret wanted to have her baby where her mother could support her.  Upon arrival in Houston, Warren’s draft notice was waiting.

Her husband and brother both shipped out the same day, August 24, 1943 for basic training, Warren to serve in the New Guinea and Philippine campaigns, while Gilbert served briefly in the North African campaign, then Sicily, Anzio and the Battle for Rome, where he was wounded and sent back to the Front.  Gilbert ended the war as the sole allied occupier of a small German village where he was named honorary Burgermister.  Warren and Gilbert both came home on the same day, January 16, 1946.  

Collene was born after the war.  Warren and Margaret moved the family to Phoenix in the late 50’s.  Margaret joined the work force and was fully employed until her retirement in 1980 from Honeywell, Inc.  On April 23, 1979 Warren passed away.  She then started a new life in Flagstaff, where her son “Tommy” had a construction business.  She lived a rich full live there where she married Ray Essing, April 5, 1986.  They lived together until his death on Febuary 5, 2005.  Margaret lived the last 2 ½ years at the Peaks, where she passed peacefully on December 22, 2018.  She is survived by her son “Tommy”, her daughter Collene, 5 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren and 4 great great grandchildren.

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