February 16, 2019

Margot Painter Bixby

Margot Painter Bixby, passed away surrounded by her family in Hingham, Saturday February 16, 2019. Born in Boston June 17, 1935 to Whitfield and Marjorie Painter of Dedham, Margot lived in 7 different states and attended 13 different schools, finally settling in Weston, MA.  

A graduate of New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL, she attended Smith College where she majored in Education and minored in Art. She met her husband, George Bixby in her freshman year and was married following graduation in 1957. 

Margot moved to Hanover, NH where she taught 4th grade, while her husband attended the Amos Tuck School of business Administration.  In 1959, Margot and her husband settled in Andover, MA where Margot worked with special need students and joined the League of Women Voters, quickly becoming a passionate activist in the civil rights movement. 

Responding to the ideals of the civil rights, Margot became a founder of the local chapter of A Better Chance.  Andover ABC is the oldest public-school program in the United States. Int he 1970’s Margot worked for the national office of ABC, traveling to many of its public school programs to evaluate their performances. 

Passionate about housing, Margot gathered together a group of interested citizens to start a local Habitat for Humanity chapter. It became affiliated in 1984 as Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity covering 22 communities along the Merrimac River.  She was its first president, greatest advocate, most passionate fund raiser and after actively serving on its Board for many years, Director Emeritus. Over 100 homes and a ReStore have been built over the last 35 years.

As a community activist, Margot received the Andover Chamber of Commerce community service award in 1990, the Greater Lawrence Distinguished Citizens Award from the Yankee Clipper Council Boy Scouts of America in 1997, the Rotary “Citizens Award” in 2002, and the Eartha Denglar History Award by the Lawrence History Center in 2006.

Margot suffered three bouts of breast cancer in her 40s and early 50s, the last bout began with an inoperable tumor on her aorta. She entered the Dana Farber Institute where she received high-dosage chemotherapy which miraculously shrunk the tumor, allowing her to enter the STAMP program (Solid Tumor Autologous Marrow Program) spearheaded at Dana Farber to treat breast cancer. 28 days later Margot emerged from the program and after four more months of radiation was proclaimed cancer free and has been ever since. Her doctor at Dana Farber called her “a pioneer who was willing to take the risk.” It was her only chance of survival. IT WORKED! A few months later she participated in the Boston Marathon walk.

Margot and George moved to Hingham, MA in 2015 and have been living at Linden Ponds with their Irish Water Spaniel, Goose.  Margot is survived by her husband George Bixby of 61 years and 4 children and spouses: Jonathan (Nancy) of Portsmouth, RI, Andy (Carolyn) of Hingham MA, Wendy(Peter) of South Dartmouth MA and Barbara (George) of Lewiston ME, 11 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Nancy Criscitiello, formally of Newton Highlands MA and now of Hingham MA, and her brother Whitfield Painter of Concord MA.

A celebration of Margot’s life will be held March 30th  at 11 AM at the Linden Ponds, 203 Linden Ponds Way, Hingham, MA.  A reception will follow the service.  Additionally, a celebration of Margot’s life will be held April 6 at 11 AM at Christ Church Andover, 25 Central Street, Andover MA. A reception will follow the service in the Parish Hall.

In lieu of flowers, donations are welcome to either A Better Chance of Andover, MA or Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity of Lawrence, MA.