The last of the Carlin orphans reared at the St. Vincent’s Home in Davenport in the 1930s, Margaret, has passed from this mortal coil to a new eternal address to join Mary Ellen, Vincent, Jimmy, Alice and Raymond.
“Maggie,” who was 93, passed suddenly Thursday (Jan. 14) just days after receiving notice her long-time apartment building near Our Lady of Victory Church was facing renovations and she would have to move. She will join her siblings in the Great Beyond.
There, her brothers and sisters will not have to hide the cute-as-a-button baby sister from would-be adopting parents who came shopping for a family at St. Vincent’s in those days when the country was still reeling from the impacts of the Great Depression.
The Carlin Clan, who had lost their mother to tuberculosis and their father to despair and alcoholism, had been uprooted from their DeWitt farm and transplanted to the orphanage, which in those days resembled a sprawling preserve over 65 acres — a sanctuary to dozens of children “to provide relief and care . . .temporarily or permanently made homeless or friendless.”
The Carlins may have been homeless, but they were never friendless, as they looked after one-another whenever life took another turn. Eventually they all matriculated thanks to the care and guidance from the older children, and that provided by nuns and priests in the Diocese of Davenport. Every one of these Carlins excelled at interests ranging from business to sports to social work and health care.
Out of such humble beginnings, Baby Sister Margaret, who was barely 4’10’ tall, graduated from Mercy Hospital Nurses Training in 1948, and received a BS in Nursing from St. Ambrose College in 1962. She became one of the most revered and trusted surgical nurses at Mercy Hospital, specializing in post-anesthetic care. She also worked 8 years as a school nurse for the Davenport School system; however, her career highlight was there at Mercy , just a stone’s throw from St. Vincent’s.
“Aunt Maggie” never married but she was a beloved second mother to an ever-expanding brood of progeny from her brothers and sisters. She loved and cared for the next generation and defined what an Aunt ought to be for the coming generations: caring, compassionate, giving and generous.
She never, ever had to raise her voice to get a point across to nieces and nephews — except when she would laugh so hard at their antics she might double over. A Notre Dame fan, life-long golfer and lover of card games, she was imbued with conservative political leanings that she never pushed on anyone who believed differently.
She was well-read, fit and aware of every new trend attempting to overtake her legions of family. An espouser of “everything in moderation,” she was incapable of issuing anything but the best and most wise advice.
She passed a year to the day her older sister, Mary Ellen was buried. Her large and loving family was there with her on a bitterly cold and windy January day in 2020 at the internment — realizing that the tiny, Baby Sister was still surrounded by the protection that only deep and abiding love can produce in a family.
Her undaunted and cheerful manner is the gift she leaves behind for all to assume and emulate.
Margaret was preceded in death by mother Mary Agnes (Britt) Carlin, father Charles Carlin and siblings Mary Ellen Ehlert, Vincent Carlin, Alice Damos, James Carlin and Raymond Carlin. She is survived by 12 nieces and nephews (James Ehlert, Suzie Murphy, Robert Ehlert, Vincent Ehlert, Kathleen Parr, Patricia Forrest, Mary Jeffers, Chris Damos, Craig Damos, Peggy Foote, Greg Carlin and Steve Carlin), over 30 great nieces and nephews and many great great nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, January 25, 2020 at 10:30am in the Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home Chapel. Visitation will be held Monday from 10:00-10:30 a.m. prior to the service at the funeral home. The service will be livestreamed and can be viewed by visiting her obituary on this page. The link will become available shortly before the service. Due to the current health crisis, masks must be worn and social distancing respected. Burial will be at Mt Calvary Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held at a later date when Covid19 virus is over.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to the Humility of Mary Center, St. Anthony Care and Share Program or Our Lady of Victory Parish.