Margaret Therisa Cullen, 88, of Statesville, N.C., and formerly of Panama City, Fla., passed away on 21 February 2024, and was finally able to free the wings we all know she had and return to heaven. Marge was the kindest person you could ever have met; she never had a harsh word for anyone (unless you needed it, and then she would deliver it in the best possible way); and almost everyone who met her fell in love with her.

Marge was predeceased by her husband Richard (aka Dick), and their son Robert (Roberta), her brothers James (Janice) and Michael (Louise), and her sister Ann Monaghan and her husband William.

Marge is survived by her sons Richard and Joseph (Christine), her daughters, Helen Nicklas (Mark) and Carmel Gorin (Steven), her grandson, Paul (Amanda), and her granddaughters Brenna Gorin (Andrew Clark), Darby Sellers (Donald) and their daughters Kaylynn, Teagan, Charli, and Magnolia, and Jennifer Hemming (Joshua).

Marge was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1939, to parents who had emigrated there from Donegal, Ireland, to find work. Marge’s summers were spent on the Tinney family farm in Glenvar, County Donegal, and that is where Marge is really from. With no electricity and no plumbing, the time she spent in Ireland was the highlight of her youth, and she spoke of it fondly until the end.

Marge attended Catholic school in Glasgow, and worked, saving her money, until she was able to afford to come to America, as was always her dream. At 17, Marge left Glasgow and sailed to the U.S. on her own, going to Philadelphia, where she had an aunt. Soon after arriving she moved into an apartment with her friend, Margaret Mooney. It was through Margaret Mooney that Marge was set up on a blind date one night with Dick. According to the friend that was on the double date with him, Dick knew the moment that Marge came down the stairs that she would be the woman he married. Marge used to tell us that she laughed when Dick told her this on just their second date, but here we are 65 years later.

Marge and Dick lived in Philadelphia long enough to have their first son, Rich, but they lived a whirlwind life for the next few years of their marriage. Dick’s job took them overseas to live in Scotland near Marge’s family long enough for Rob to be born, and then on to France and Germany. Dick was doing top-secret work back then and had to leave Marge behind for weeks at a time, unable to tell her where he was going or when he would be back. (If you ever think you are having a hard day, imagine being 24 years old and pregnant with your fourth baby in five years (pre disposable diaper days), living in a country where you don’t speak the language, and you don’t know where your husband is, when he is coming back, how to get in-touch with him, or even how to write a check!!!) (Side note, this is when most of the trail stories were being lived). Rob wasn’t the only one they had abroad. Helen was born just over a year after Rob, while they were living in France. They were able to return to the states, back to Philadelphia just three weeks before Joe was born and two years after Joe, Carmel came along and their family was complete. A year later, Marge and Dick decided to move out to the suburbs, choosing to raise their kids in Warminster, (Bucks County), Pa., where they lived for 18 years. Once their youngest was ready to graduate high school, M & D were ready to move to more comfortable climes, and when Dick was offered a position in Panama City Beach, Fla., they jumped at the chance. In late June 1984, they packed up their house and dragged Carmel kicking and screaming to Panama City, Fla. Rich, Rob, and Joe came along willingly, Helen stayed behind.

Marge and Dick lived in Panama City from 1984 to 2019, a time that saw many changes in their lives, ups and downs, as would be expected in 34 years. Marge held several jobs while living in Panama City, but the two most important ones were the years she worked at Pacer Systems from 1993-1994, and those she worked at St. Andrew Bay Center, from where she finally retired. (I would ask Pop for these dates, he would know or be able to find out, but he passed away last June. I haven’t known when anything has happened since!)

Marge was lucky to have her sister, and her children and grandchildren nearby for most of the years in Panama City. But Marge had several friends during this time that were special too: Chuck and Diane Dick were fantastic neighbors and friends from the day moved onto 24th Street. Cindy Spence, Jackie and Frank Keller, and all of the other friends they made when they moved to Lakeridge (Harrison) Drive. where they lived until 2019, when Carmel dragged them kicking and screaming to Statesville, N.C. (Turnabout is fair play.)

In North Carolina, Marge was blessed with great neighbors again. Sandra, Gene and Joe Hill have been a blessing since day one, and her friendship with Sandra Parker was as close a friendship as she ever had and although Marge loved living in Florida, there was not a day she lived in North Carolina that she didn’t remark on how beautiful it is here, and how friendly the people are here.

The family would like to give special thanks to Dr. Samual Hughes, Hospice & Palliative Care of Iredell County, her care takers Chelsea Pfohler, Paige Stanich, and Judy Smith, as well as the staff at the Gordon Hospice House, and Kelli Short and especially Sandra Parker of Helping is Simply Caring.

A Funeral Mass will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, March 8, at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Panama City, Fla., followed by a Celebration of Marge’s Life to be held at Joe Cullen’s house, 2809 Woodmere Drive, Panama City, FL 32405. A Wake for Marge’s life will immediately follow the Celebration of Life for those wishing to eulogize her.

Troutman Funeral Home is serving the family.

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