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Polkinghorn enjoyed biking on Golden Gate Bridge

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Hooper and Weaver Mortuary for Mary Margaret “Margie” Polkinghorn, who passed away June 24. She was 85.

Born Jan. 23, 1922, in Downieville to Larry and Rowena Shaughnessy, Mrs. Polkinghorn enjoyed swimming in Lake Olympia and riding the Never Come, Never Go – formally known as the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad – as a young girl.

Growing up, Mrs. Polkinghorn split time between her family in Nevada County and San Francisco. Her grandpa, Thomas, would travel from San Francisco to Nevada City in his Model T Ford, retrieve Mrs. Polkinghorn and deliver her back to her parents in San Francisco. Nicknamed “Queeny,” Mrs. Polkinghorn moved to be with family in San Francisco in 1935.



In San Francisco, Mrs. Polkinghorn met her future husband, her brother’s best friend, Thomas Polkinghorn. The couple fell “head over heels” in love and, on May 31, 1941, married and lived with his mother in a Victorian house near Golden Gate Park.

Surrounded by family, Mrs. Polkinghorn found joy in caring for her small nieces, nephews and own children. She enjoyed picnicking in Golden Gate Park and taking rides on the ocean roller coaster “Shoot the Shoots” and biking around the city, especially over the Golden Gate Bridge.




Every summer, Mrs. Polkinghorn and her family visited their Camptonville relatives, the late Bea and Vern Lyons, at the Hotel Francis until it burned down in the late 1950s. Mrs. Polkinghorn kept busy at the 33-room hotel, baking blackberry pies and pasties for guests. Using milk from the hotel’s cow, she made fresh butter, but would not let her daughter, Susan, drink its milk.

In 1955, Mrs. Polkinghorn fell down a set of stairs, dislocated her back and was forced to wear a full body cast. But within a few weeks, she grew increasingly uncomfortable, saying that the cast was becoming too tight.

Her doctor told her to eat less, but the discomfort kept growing. Finally, Mrs. Polkinghorn could take no more and, using a butcher’s knife, removed the cast. It was then she discovered she was pregnant with her son, Dennis.

Mrs. Polkinghorn earned a business certificate and enjoyed her work as a secretary and assistant at the Laguna Honda Hospital. Though a very petite woman, she boasted of once lifting a disabled 300-pound patient from his bed with a crane.

Following their daughter, Susan, in 1977, Mr. and Mrs. Polkinghorn retired to Nevada County. The pair moved into a house directly above their daughter’s home. Both grandchildren and great-grandchildren migrated between the two houses by foot and horseback.

She volunteered at Music in the Mountains and loved her friendships in the Women’s Club. She traveled to Europe, Hawaii and England.

She is survived by daughter and son-in-law Susan and Jim Marks; daughter in-law Cheryl Polkinghorn; grandchildren Tim Howard, Maryann Howard Dix, Melanie and Michael Polkinghorn, Tom Polkinghorn and wife Mellisa, Andrew Marks and wife Alex; great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Mrs. Polkinghorn was preceded in death by her brother, Earl, her husband, Thomas, and sons Steven and Dennis Polkinghorn.

A private interment will take place at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery.


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