Margaret "Marge" Draper, a 40-year Menlo Park resident and a former member of the Menlo Park City School District Board of Trustees, died on Oct. 10 at the age of 74.
Ms. Draper was born in a Chicago community rich with Polish immigrants and culture, and Polish was her first language. Her family moved to Michigan when she was 8 years old, and set up a household with extended family on a farm. It was there that she developed an enduring interest in and love for gardening, bird-watching and identifying plants, according to her family.
After graduating with a degree in education from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Ms. Draper began a 12-year teaching career.
While still in Michigan, she met and married John Draper in 1966, and continued teaching while her husband pursued his education. They eventually moved to North Carolina, where Mr. Draper worked toward his doctoral degree. The Drapers eventually moved to California, first to Monterey then, in 1975, to Menlo Park.
Their son, John, was born in 1981, and Ms. Draper became a force in her son's schools, volunteering with the PTA at the elementary school level, and with the PTA and Site Council at Menlo-Atherton High School.
She also was elected to the Menlo Park City School District board, and served two terms from 1988 to 1996. It was during that period that the board approved creating a single middle school at Hillview, an issue that divided the community, according to her friend and former board colleague Karen Canty.
The Drapers traveled extensively, even after their son was born, including him in trips to Europe, Costa Rica and Mexico, according to the family. During the last 15 years, they traveled to Mexico often, prompting Ms. Draper to study Spanish. Most recently, she was studying Portuguese, her family said.
In addition to her travels and studies, Ms. Draper was a real estate agent working for Seville, Coldwell Banker and Keller Williams -- a career that began in 1997, her family said.
Ms. Draper is survived by her husband and son. A celebration of her life is planned for a later date.