By Ron Hayes
DELRAY BEACH — When she lived on Vista Del Mar, Margaret Rockefeller’s home was affectionately known to friends as “Chez Margo.”
The nickname was a testament to a woman whose life balanced irrepressible wit with a serious devotion to both animals and art.
“She was just always full of surprises,” recalled Marilyn Brown, a friend of nearly 10 years. “She was interesting, and funny, and you never knew when she was going to come out with one of those zingers.”
A longtime resident of Delray Beach, Mrs. Brown died March 5 at Harbor’s Edge, where she and her husband, Godfrey, moved last year. She was 81.
Born August 9, 1927, in Bronxville, N.Y., Mrs. Rockefeller was a graduate of Garrison Forrest High School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She had worked for the Bonwit Teller department store before her marriage in 1956.
Mrs. Rockefeller was a great advocate for both animals and the arts, having worked with the British naturalist Gerald Durrell to help establish the Wildlife Preservation Trust. She was also a longtime patron of the Miami City Ballet, and served many years on its board of directors.
“You could just tell she had a well-lived life, and had really enjoyed that life,” Brown said. “I don’t think she left a lot out.”
In addition to her husband of 52 years, Mrs. Rockefeller is survived by her daughter, Caroline R. Spencer of Willow, Creek, Mont.; and her son, Parker B. Rockefeller of Arnold, Md., as well as her sister, Caroline K. Bloy of Topsham, Maine, and many grandchildren.
A memorial service was held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on March 9.
Donations in Mrs. Rockefeller’s name may be made to the Miami City Ballet, 2100 Liberty Ave., Miami, FL 33139.